The Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives) held a vibrant ceremony today to mark the happy occasion of the first direct flight from China to the Maldives since 2020. The ceremony was held at Velana International Airport on 18th January 2023, with the arrival of flight JD455 from Beijing Daxing International Airport carrying Chinese tourists to the Maldives. This is the first time visitors from China have been able to fly directly to the Maldives following the border closure due to the global pandemic.
The arriving tourists were greeted with traditional BoduBeru, and a special gift pack along with flowers in celebration of welcoming the first visitors from China to the Maldives in the past 3 years. The event was joined by a high-level delegation, including Ministers, Ambassadors and other high-level executives from the Government of the Maldives and China.
The Chinese market consistently topped the arrival charts to the Maldives prior to 2020, when the nation closed for approximately three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, China was the top source market with 284,029 arrivals (16.7%). This number fell greatly in 2020, to 6th place with 34,245 arrivals (6.2%), and fell even further over the next two years.
Speaking on this momentous occasion, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of MMPRC, Mr Thoyyib Mohamed, stated that today marks a bright beginning in a new chapter in welcoming outbound tourists from China.
“We are extremely pleased to be welcoming flights from China to the Maldives again. China had been our key source market for some years prior to the onset of the pandemic, and we are looking forward to Chinese travellers topping our arrival charts again.”
Even during the most difficult times at the height of the global pandemic, MMPRC continued to conduct destination marketing activities for the China market. MMPRC conducted a total of 14 activities targeting the China market in 2020. In 2021, 08 activities targeting the Chinese market were conducted, with a total reach of 10.2 million in 2021. Furthermore, 05 activities were conducted in 2022, with a reach of 14.7 million in the Chinese market, to keep the destination on top of Chinese travellers minds when borders reopen.
In 2022, MMPRC conducted a total number of 176 marketing activities with a total reach of over 8,799,249,501. This included over 90 marketing campaigns, attending 42 fairs, hosting 06 roadshows, 10 virtual events, 18 familiarisation trips, and 10 other events executed worldwide. The national tourist arrivals target set by H.E President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih for the year 2022 was also reached in December 2022, as the Maldives welcomed our 1.6 millionth visitor for the year two weeks ahead of the end of the year. In addition to this, the Maldives secured the title of the ‘World’s Leading Destination’ for the third year in a row in 2022 at World Travel Awards. MMPRC was also awarded the prestigious title of ‘World’s Leading Tourist Board’ for the first time in our nation’s history.
MMPRC has several exciting activities planned for this market for 2023, including an e-learning campaign; digital campaigns with top chinese apps such as Metiuan and Ele.me; outdoor marketing campaigns; joint promotional campaigns; familiarisation trips; social media campaigns; and physical participation in fairs and exhibitions in this market for the first time since 2019.