China expected to become third largest tourist market for Maldives

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More than five months since Chinese tourists started returning after a nearly three-year hiatus, China is expected to become the third largest tourist market for the Maldives in early August, the tourism ministry predicted.

The Maldives welcomed 87,662 Chinese tourists as of 26 July, representing a market share of 8.3% after overtaking Germany in fourth place.

Russia regained top spot with 123,731 tourists as India slipped to second with 121,046 tourists, followed by the United Kingdom (88,204) and Germany (71,642).

A total of 1,050,661 million holidaymakers visited by 26 July, up 13.4% from the same period last year, putting the Maldives on course to achieving the revised arrivals target of 1.9 million tourists for 2023. 

China was the single largest source market before the pandemic with 284,029 visitors in 2019, representing a 17% market share. The first direct flight from China since early 2020 arrived on 18 January 2023, shortly after the country ended Covid-19 travel restrictions. 

Two Chinese carriers, Capital Airlines and China Eastern, currently operate direct flights to the Velana International Airport with Sichuan Airlines due to commence flights in August.