Visit Maldives hosts a joint webinar with Expedia for the Travel Agent Affiliate Program (TAAP) targeting the United States (US) market. The B2B (business-to-business) webinar provides the latest destination updates, information on products and experiences, and promotes Maldives as a ‘safe haven’ for the travelers. The ultimate objective is to deliver the latest destination information to the travel trade and to maintain the momentum of arrivals from the US market and achieve pre-pandemic arrival figures.
TAAP (Travel Agent Affiliate Program) is a program launched by Expedia through which agents in the United States can access Expedia’s global inventory and earn commissions on hotels, dynamic packages and activities.
The 45-minute webinar session educates the agents on Maldives as a popular and safe tourist destination to ensure that the agents can promote the correct strategy and messaging for their clients. Over 390 agents registered for this event.
The presentation will focus on individual products and experiences of Maldives with a focus on the unique geography of the destination and the safety provided by the natural socially-distanced scattered islands and the one-island-one-resort concept. The presentation will also showcase experiences unique to the destination such as underwater spas and restaurants.
In addition, information regarding the COVID-19 situation in Maldives, entry requirements as well as the latest travel guidelines will be presented during the webinar. It will be highlighted that Maldives achieved ‘Safe Travel Stamp’ in 2020 from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and Velana International Airport health accreditation as a recognition of the stringent measures in place.
Details on local initiatives such as the Maldives Border Miles program was briefly discussed in the webinar as well as the latest ‘I’m Vaccinated’ campaign initiated by the Ministry of Tourism and Visit Maldives. Further details will be shared on the vaccination drive in Maldives such as the objective to make Maldives the destination with the first fully vaccinated tourism industry, vaccinated figures, and future plans.
The webinar was concluded with a Q&A session where participants voiced various queries. These included questions regarding the ‘I’m Vaccinated’ campaign, PCR testing, entry requirements for vaccinated tourists, and vaccination status of resort staff. This initiative serves to increase the destination knowledge of attendees which, along with the increased connectivity, will drive more tourists from the market to Maldives.
As of 12 May 2021, the United States is ranked as the 6th top source market in the Maldives with an arrival figure of 13,446 and a market share of 3.6%. While there is a decrease due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, the market holds great potential for the Maldives and plays an instrumental role in achieving pre-pandemic arrival figures.
As the United States is one of the target markets for Maldives, Visit Maldives is constantly conducting marketing activities for this market. Activities planned for the United States market include destination training and webinars, group media familiarization trips, roadshows, media events, visibility campaigns and joint campaigns with stakeholders.