Maldives welcomes millionth tourist in record time

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The Maldives welcomed the one millionth tourist of the year on Sunday morning (16 July).

British tourist Anton Pavlov arrived on a British Airways flight with his partner and child. In a welcome ceremony featuring cultural performances, he was greeted by Tourism Minister Dr Abdulla Mausoom and Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) Managing Director Thoyyib Mohamed.

Special gift packs with a collection of locally-sourced products were handed to Anton on behalf of the tourism ministry and MMPRC as well as the immigration department, airport company and tourism industry.

The family planned to spend their holiday at the Vakkaru Maldives resort.

Speaking to reporters at the airport, Mausoom noted that the arrival of the millionth tourist coincided with the third anniversary of reopening borders during the Covid-19 pandemic in July 2020.

As the tourism industry has recovered to pre-pandemic levels faster than expected, the government’s arrivals target for 2023 has been revised upwards from 1.8 million to 1.9 million tourists, the minister said.

A total of 984,635 holidaymakers visited by 12 July, up 13.6% from the same period last year. India remains the top market with 115,837 tourists, followed by Russia (115,334), the United Kingdom (83,942), China (74,348) and Germany (68,484). With the exception of China, all the other top markets have exceeded pre-pandemic arrival figures.

The one millionth tourist of 2022 was welcomed on 12 August.

“Our marketing efforts in the first two quarters of this year have played a pivotal role to drive exposure and maintain destination presence across various key markets with a 360 degree marketing approach,” said the MMPRC on the occasion of the millionth tourist.

“A key event driving arrival numbers this year was the resumption of direct flights between the Maldives and China, one of our top performing markets since January 2023. After a three-year hiatus, China resumed direct flights to Maldives on 18th January 2023 which positively impacted the arrival numbers. The Chinese market consistently topped the arrival charts prior to the Covid-19 pandemic period, and is already firmly in the top 4th source market spot for the Maldives in 2023, with a staggering 1,659.5% growth in comparison to the same period last year.”