Award-Winning Maldives Islands Smashes 2017 Tourism Targets

The Destination plans ambitious expansion to create 18,000 new jobs

Premium tourism destination, The Maldives hit records heights in December 2017, welcoming 143,041 tourists – up nearly 20% year-on-year. This stellar performance capped an impressive year for the island archipelago, which easily surpassed its 2017 tourism targets.

With almost 1.4 million arrivals to the Maldives in 2017 – an increase of 8% on 2016 – the former ITB Berlin partner country is back at the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show to consolidate its growing market share. Europe continues to provide the Maldives with its core business, contributing a 46.5% share of the total market (up 12.4%). All sub-regions within Europe recorded positive growth in 2017 with Central/ Eastern Europe and Southern Europe leading the charge with a sharp 23.9% increase and 21.2% increase respectively.

Asia and the Pacific followed with a 44.4% share, South East Asia proving to be the strongest sub region. Overall, Asia and the Pacific ended the year with a healthy increase of 3.2% compared to 2016. By comparison, t h e Americas provide the Maldives with a relatively small proportion of its business (4.5%). However the good news is that this is growing fast – up 22.8% year on year. This made up for a small decline in Middle Eastern visitors to the Maldives during 2017. In terms of individual markets, China was the top with 22.1% of total visits, followed by Germany and the UK. Russia was the best performer among the top ten markets with a solid 33% increase for the year 2017 compared with 2016. The Maldives also won a host of prestigious travel industry awards in 2017, confirming it as one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the world. Recent awards include the coveted Condé Nast Traveller “Best Islands for places to stay award”, as well as Best in Travel’s “Best Holiday Destination,” where it came second in Asia.

The archipelago was also awarded three World Travel Awards and scooped the Reader’s Choice Dive and Travel Awards first prize for best “Dreaming Area”. Commenting on the multiple awards, Moosa Zameer, Maldives Minister of Tourism, said: “These awards are a symbol of admiration and acceptance of the Maldives by the visitors, and a great achievement for the joint efforts and hard work done by the government and the tourism industry of the Maldives. We will strive to further improve and expand our destination, while maintaining our brand positioning.”

Looking ahead, there are plans for another 23 resorts to open their doors in 2018-19. These include the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Maldives, and the Italian-designed Baglioni Resort Maldives. These projects are in line with President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s goal to develop 50 new resorts within his five-year term, generating 18,000 new job opportunities.

Hall 5.2a / Stand 107