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World Travel Market 2016: Maldives welcomes uptick in UK visitors

World Travel Market 2016: Maldives welcomes uptick in UK visitors

The Maldives welcomed an increase in visitor arrivals from the UK, with 2016 figures revealing an 11 per cent increase in UK tourists during the first eight months of 2016, equating to 76,083 UK tourists visiting the Maldives compared to 68,519 in 2015.

Visitor numbers are expected to show a further increase and to support this fast expanding tourist industry, Visit Maldives has announced a number of new tourism developments taking place during 2017.

Gan International Airport is located on the island of Gan in Addu Atoll in the Maldives and was originally built by the British as a staging post for its Royal Air Force during the 1950s before being handed over to the Maldivian government in 1976.

The airport infrastructure has recently undergone an ambitious $50 million redevelopment project including expansion work to the runway so it now reaches 3,400 metres in length and 60 metres in width enabling the airport to handle long-haul operations and direct connectivity to the regional resort network through a seaplane base.

The airport is scheduled to open for full scale international operations on 15th November 2016.

As a result of an agreement with Addu International Airport Company, seaplane transfers will now be available with Trans Maldivian Airways from Gan International Airport to nine resorts within the greater Southern region.

The new seaplane operations will further enhance the holiday experience of travellers to the southern regions of the Maldives transferring guests to and from contracted resorts on scheduled flights from Gan, as well as provide full-day and half-day excursions to uninhabited islands or sandbanks.

At the same time, Maldives TV, the first ever global channel of the Maldives, has launched providing viewers with an insight into the destination’s culture and history, as well as to learn about why the destination is one of the top holiday hotspots.

Maldives TV will broadcast elite travel and tourism programmes featuring news, entertainment, cooking, underwater and water sports as well as latest holiday packages suitable for luxury, family and budget travellers.

Moosa Zameer, minister of tourism for the Maldives, said: “We are extremely pleased to see an increase in visitor figures from the UK, especially as this is a very exciting time for the Maldives as we further enhance our world-class tourism infrastructure with new developments.

“We will also be expanding our accommodation offering with ten new resorts opening in late 2016/17 and we look forward to hopefully welcoming even more UK holidaymakers next year.”