Maldives tourist arrivals beat pre-pandemic record

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The Maldives welcomed 688,284 tourists by the end of April, beating the pre-pandemic arrivals record set in 2019. A total of 646,093 tourists visited during the first four months of 2019. 

Some 710,645 tourist arrivals were recorded as of 5 May this year, up 17.5% from the same period last year. 

A total of 145,280 tourists visited during April, up 13.1% from April 2022. 

During the first quarter of 2023, tourist arrivals reached a milestone of half a million, exceeding the total of 482,978 arrivals recorded in the corresponding pre-pandemic period of Q1-2019.

Reflecting the robust growth, MVR3 billion (US$194.5 million) was collected as tourism good and services tax during the first quarter of 2023, up from MVR 2.3 billion in the same period last year. The T-GST receipts accounted for 41.2% of tax revenue. A tax hike from 12% to 16% took effect in January.

Russia remains the top market with 84,757 tourists as of 5 May, representing a market share of 11.9%, followed by India (76,999), the United Kingdom (67,086), Italy (57,102), and Germany (52,186).

With the end of the tourism industry’s traditional high season, the annual growth rate in tourist arrivals slowed from 31% in January to 13.1% in April.

Arrivals in January were also up 13.8% from pre-pandemic levels. Tourist arrivals registered a whopping 31% increase compared to January 2022 as Chinese holidaymakers returned after a hiatus of nearly three years. A total of 33,601 Chinese tourists visited by 5 May. 

There were 170 resorts, 899 guesthouses, 153 safari vessels and 13 hotels in operation as of last week with a combined bed capacity of 60,580.