The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives), Mr Thoyyib Mohamed, has joined the high-level panel discussion at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Destination Marketing Forum 2022 (PDMF). The forum gathers the top minds in destination travel for insightful discussions on key issues in marketing and managing tourism growth to lesser-known destinations. This action-packed, annual event features two non-stop days of learning, discovery, and networking.
Beginning on August 4th in Songkhla, Thailand, the event invited high-level executives in global destination travel, including; H.E. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand; and Ms Supawan Teerarat, the Senior Vice President of MICE Capability and Innovation, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB). The forum further included prominent speakers such as; Ms Nicola Eliot, the Vice President of BBC StoryWorks; Ms Montakarn Suvanatap Kittipaisalsilp, Programme Officer for Culture, UNESCO Thailand; and Ms Naomi Mano, President of the Japan MICE Association and President and CEO of Luxurique Inc. The high-level delegates joined the forum for inspiring and insightful discussions on marketing and managing tourism growth to lesser-known destinations under the theme “Building Back Sustainably through Cultural Heritage and Community-based Tourism”.
CEO & MD Thoyyib attended the forum by invitation from PATA, as one of the expert speakers for the “Destination Marketing in the age of COVID-19” panel. In addition to CEO & MD Thoyyib, the expert panel consisted of; Ms Noredah Othman, CEO of Sabah Tourism and Mr Dinh Ngoc Duc, the Director General of Tourism Marketing Department of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).
Speaking at the session, Thoyyib recalled how MMPRC handled the Covid-19 crisis amidst the pandemic, and the many successes and accolades achieved during the time including; being stamped with the ‘Safe Travels’ label on September 18, 2020, by the World Travel Tourism Council; the fully digital campaign “Maldives; The Sun Will Shine Again” watched live by over 850,000 people across the world; and the highly-successful ‘I’m Vaccinated’ Covid-19 vaccination drive conducted together with the Ministry of Tourism.
“During the past year, our focus has been on working together to tackle the challenges faced by Covid-19. And our tourism sector has been extremely successful.” He said, “ We dropped to half a million tourists in 2020 but this figure jumped to over 1.3 million in 2021. We are nearing the 1 millionth tourist mark in 2022 already, and I am proud to announce that the Maldives is now closing in on pre-pandemic arrival figures.”
In 2019, prior to the onset of the pandemic, the Maldives saw 990,791 visitors as of 31st July. While this number dipped significantly over the next two years, we are seeing a resurgence this year, with arrivals standing at 942,444 as of 30th July 2022.
In concluding his remarks at the discussion, Thoyyib asserted that the future of the Maldives tourism industry is bright, and full of promise and potential. He said that he considers this the perfect time to roll up our sleeves and continue to make the changes we need for the future, to maintain the Maldives’ position ahead of the curve, as we have done before.
The global Covid-19 pandemic had a long lasting impact across all dimensions of the travel and tourism industry. Destination marketing organisations had to rethink and readjust marketing strategies to adapt to constantly evolving situations. MMPRC was at the forefront of marketing the Maldives as a tourist destination during the pandemic. Since then, the Maldives has secured the title of the ‘World’s Leading Destination’ by World Travel Awards in two consecutive years and has established itself as one of the most desired and popular destinations in the world.