The Maldives has today welcomed the 1 millionth tourist for the year 2023. The 1 millionth tourist arrival figure was achieved on August 12th last year, making this year’s achievement a full month ahead, and on course for H.E President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s national arrival target of 1.8 million tourists by the end of 2023.
The 1 millionth tourist for this year was Mr Anton Pavlov, a British national who arrived on British Airways flight BA061 this morning with his family. The family was escorted to the event area with a cultural performance, and were welcomed by Senior Officials from the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), Maldives Marketing & PR Corporation (MMPRC), Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL), and Maldives Immigration upon arrival. This year’s 1 millionth tourist, Anton, received special gift packs from MoT, MMPRC, MACL, Maldives Immigration, and from the tourism industry to commemorate the momentous occasion. MMPRC’s gift pack was a collection of locally-sourced products essential for a holiday in the Maldives.
Our marketing efforts in the first 2 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. 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 3 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.
Among the other groundbreaking marketing events conducted by MMPRC this year, the Visit Maldives Storytellers’ Conference 2023 (from 30th May 2023 to 02nd June 2023) is anticipated to increase the arrivals further in the coming months. This outstanding event, executed during the low season to help boost arrivals, resulted in simultaneous coverage of several different regions of the Maldives which made a prominent presence globally, receiving over 89,517,434 reach on the Visit Maldives social media platforms alone. With the extensive coverage received for different regions of the Maldives during the sideline activities of this event, we forecast arrivals to increase further and for bookings to be more dispersed throughout the Maldives.
MMPRC has strategized our marketing activities to attract more visitors to the destination in order to reach the President’s annual arrivals target of 1.8 million tourists this year. We are resolute in promoting Maldives through various destination marketing activities such as collaborating with global stakeholders such as airlines, TO’s, and TA’s to boost arrival figures. Accordingly, most of our top source markets have already surpassed pre-pandemic arrivals. The top 5 markets for Maldives thus far this year are Russia, India, UK, China and Germany. India had consistently remained at the top arrivals spot, especially post-covid. India, having exceeded pre-pandemic arrival numbers in 2021, is currently ranked at the #2 arrivals spot, with 117,131 visitors from India to the Maldives, with Russia on number 1, with 117,198 visitors by 15th July 2023. Additionally, 84,763 travellers from the UK, 77,202, travellers from China and 69,074 travellers from Germany have visited the Maldives this year. The UK and German markets had both exceeded pre-pandemic arrival figures by 2022. This year marks the first time that the China market, one of our traditionally strongest markets, has reached the top 5 since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2022, MMPRC conducted 178 marketing activities. This included over 90 marketing campaigns, attending 44 fairs, hosting 06 roadshows, 10 virtual events, 18 familiarisation trips, and 10 other events executed worldwide. We have conducted diverse activities for different key markets based on their preferred segments and the latest travel trends, with 113 different marketing activities this year so far, with a combined reach of 4,168,605,812 in the first 6 months of 2023.