Breaking Travel News: How would you describe the mood in Maldives tourism as we approach the key summer season?
Abdulla Mausoom: Maldives welcomed 2023 with more optimism for jubilance, continuing from the celebrations of Tourism Golden Year 2022, the Golden Jubilee of tourism. Having witnessed a growth of over 20 per cent in tourist arrivals and its economic benefits, the Maldives expects to have a better than average season from the month of May until September. With strong product diversity and loyal global market segments to Maldives, the traditional ‘low-season’ ought to be considered a mid-season.
BTN: This is the thirtieth anniversary of Arabian Travel Market – how will the Maldives delegation be contributing to the celebrations?
AM: Arabian Travel Market has gained popularity year-on-year. Maldives recognises the importance of matching and capturing other market segments for the rich product diversity that the Maldives tourism portfolio has to offer. ATM is the right market - especially for business- to-business networking. We wish to congratulate team ATM for their innovative approaches to make ATM a platform for success.
BTN: How has tourism in the Maldives developed over the past three decades – and how has it changed during your time as minister?
AM: The Maldives has become, from an almost unknown archipelago, the leading destination in the world during its 50-years of tourism development. The first two decades were rather slow going compared to the revolutionary transformations during the last three decades.
First, Maldives had snorkellers and divers, soon to be followed by the ideal tropical vacationers.
With its one-island one- resort concept of development, giving unmatchable privacy, the 1990s showed the Maldives become the honeymoon destination of the world, followed by the wellness tourism euphoria of early 2000s. The last decade show the next natural market segment - families.
The last three years were challenging due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. The prime focus was on reviving Maldives tourism, under the leadership of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, president of the Maldives, in very close cooperation with tourism industry stakeholders, related authorities and agencies and the general public.
The sound policies and strategies were well received, and the Maldives has been branded as one of the few countries who managed a rapid recovery. The government’s sound foreign policy and international relations, engagement of Maldives’ missions abroad and the strong partnership with international organizations, especially UNWTO, PATA and WTTC played a very important role in the remarkable recovery of Maldives’ tourism.
The government acknowledges the importance of international tourism brands to a destination’s success. Hence creating and improving on an investor friendly environment for both local and international investors is given a strong emphasis, as can be seen from the positive changes brought to tourism legislations in the last two years.
BTN: Maldives took the title of World’s Leading Destination at the World Travel Awards in 2022 – how important are accolades such as these to the success of the destination?
AM: World Travel Awards has been accepted by the travel and tourism community as the equivalent, if not more, of the Film Industry’s Oscar. Winning the title of ‘World’s Leading Destination’ at the World Travel Awards in 2022, for the third year consecutively is indeed a great achievement we treasure. That is a clear indication of the quality of
the Maldives’ tourism product - especially the hospitality, and the love and passion the tourists have for holidaying in the Maldives.
BTN: What developments can expect this year to ensure you defend the title in 2023?
AM: When one reaches the top, defending the position is a challenge. But given the determination and enthusiasm of travel and tourism industry stakeholders for continuous improvement in related infrastructure, superstructure, facilities and services, with ever increasing tourist base, Maldives is expected to be among the hot picks as the World’s Leading Destination 2023 too.
BTN: Finally, community tourism has been front- of-mind in Maldivian tourism this year – what can you tell us about that?
AM: President Solih’s tourism policy aims to take tourism and benefits to the people through Community-based tourism with small hotels
and guesthouses in the local islands. Community based inclusive tourism, accessibility – especially to those who are differently abled, empowerment of youth and women, and linkage of tourism to island economies are the new focus areas of Maldives tourism development policy.
Maldives’ tourism, like many other destinations are intertwined to nature, environment and the natural resources. Community based tourism will help protect and preserve eco systems by integrating them into tourism products; revive culture and heritage, and give the opportunity for many Maldivians to earn a decent income whilst living with their families.
This also creates a very strong product for the new tourists, especially the youth, digital- nomads, and pensioneers who are more environmentally and community conscious and stay for longer durations.
More Information Find out more about the Maldives at www.visitmaldives.com or head over to Visit Maldives here at Arabian Travel Market on stand AS6110.
Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation won an incredible 6 awards at the World Travel Awards 2022 event:
World’s Leading Destination 2022
World’s Leading Tourist Board 2022
Indian Ocean’s Leading Beach Destination 2022
Indian Ocean’s Leading Destination 2022
Indian Ocean’s Leading Dive Destination 2022
Indian Ocean’s Leading Tourist Board 2022