Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation sports tourism

Maldives to focus on culture and sports tourism for 2020

The Maldives' new tourism strategy for 2020 will include a stronger focus on promoting the rich culture of the country and niche markets such as culture and sports tourism.

This announcement was made by Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) in a press conference at World Travel Market 2019.

The Maldives is a destination traditionally known for its high-end resort accommodation popular with honeymooners, however, next year will see a stronger focus by MMPRC on promoting the diverse range of activities available to tourists such as beach volleyball, badminton and surfing.

With the growing demand for experiential travel by holidaymakers, the body's marketing activities will also aim to promote the rich local culture of the inhabited islands that surround the destination’s resort islands. This will be achieved by developing a strategy centred around cultural tourism to help showcase Maldivian life to visitors through local cuisine, cultural performances, traditional handicrafts and heritage sites.

The marketing strategy will be implemented through activities such as trade roadshows, media familiarisation trips, plus joint marketing campaigns with airlines and trade partners.

Thoyyib Mohamed, managing director of MMPRC, spoke about the country's current offering for visitors, which includes over 145 resorts, 521 guesthouses and 12 hotels. This year there has been an influx of new resorts opening, including many new family-friendly, adult-only and high-end properties. In October, the country also welcomed increased airlift for UK travellers with the launch of a new five-times-weekly flight from London Heathrow to Malé, via Bahrain, with Gulf Air.

Speaking about the new tourism strategy, Thoyyib said: “The Maldives is well-known for its luxury and honeymoon product however during the last five years, the destination has also seen a growth in the number of families who visit, plus an increased interest in diving and our local island culture. We have welcomed 19 new properties during last year and this increase in hotel product is a testament to the huge growth in the market and is a positive move for the economy.”

He added: “The UK is an extremely important market for us and has seen the strongest progress for year-round growth. We welcomed a total of 114,602 UK visitors in 2018 which saw a 10.2% increase compared to visitor arrivals in 2017, and this year alone seen over 1.2 million tourists visit from all markets already.”

In terms of visitor arrivals in 2019, the island nation remains one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations, with a total of 90,965 UK holidaymakers arriving from January – September. This represents a 9.2% year-on-year increase in UK arrivals. The UK holds the fifth market ranking on tourist arrivals by nationality, firmly holding 7.3% of the total market share and steadily increasing year-on-year.

The country has projected that the destination will welcome 1.5 million international tourists in 2019.

For more information, visit www.visitmaldives.com


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