Maldives courts Indian outbound travel market

ROADSHOWThe Maldives plans to aggressively promote and market the country as a destination for Indian tourists, reports Indian media following a four-city roadshow organised by the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).

The roadshows took place from February 23 to 27 in Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, and New Delhi with the objective of penetrating the Indian outbound travel market and increasing arrivals from the neighbouring country.

“India is an important source market for Maldives. However, we are not receiving enough tourists from this market, though there is huge potential for growth,” Deputy Tourism Minister Hussain Lirar was quoted as saying at the road show.

“Last year, Maldives received 45,587 Indian tourists, which is a 19.9% growth over the previous year. The objective of the roadshow was to interact with the Indian travel trade, and study the Indian market and understand its requirements.”

Lirar noted that India was currently the seventh top source market for the Maldives, behind China, Russia, UK, Germany, Italy and France, respectively.

“The marketing budget for the Indian market has increased over the years. Maldives is a destination for all segments of travellers. We are looking at advertising in multiplexes and other mediums,” Lirar said.

In presentations at each of the roadshows, MMPRC Marketing Officer Reena Abdul Wahid explained the ‘One Island – One Resort’ concept of the Maldivian tourism industry and what local resorts and hotels offer for visitors.

She also reportedly noted that the government’s integrated resort development project, Thumburi, was currently underway.

The project involves leasing plots of land on the 17-hectare Thumburi island as well as the linked 19-hectare Hulhiyandhoo island to develop guesthouses, a diving school, water sports facilities, restaurants and shopping centres.

According to the MMPRC, the guesthouse island project is designed to “responsibly diversify the tourism product of the Maldives,” and envisions the development of a 2,100-bed resort operated by multiple local small and medium-sized enterprises.

Eleven enterprises representing the Maldivian tourism sector meanwhile participated in the roadshows along with the MMPRC, including Trans-Maldivian Airways Pvt Ltd, Bandos Island Resort and Spa, Atoll Discovery Pvt Ltd, Reollo Travel, Let’s Go Maldives, Sun Siyam Resorts, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, Adaaran Resorts, Canopus Akuasun Maldives Pvt Ltd, Bathala Island Resort.

MMPRC noted last month that the roadshows were held in collaboration with Air India as the official partner.

“The roadshow offers a platform for the Maldives to establish direct contact with the Indian travel trade,” the MMPRC said in a statement.

“It is also an opportunity for the Indian travel trade to receive the latest updates of Maldives as well as directly meet the representatives from some of the Maldives’ most popular hotels and resorts and travel agents who are participating at the road show together with MMPRC.”

MMPRC added that the response from India was “overwhelming,” indicating a high level of interest in Maldives a tourist destination for Indian travellers.

“With limitations in capacity, 75-100 travel trade are expected to participate in each city. The attendees include tour wholesalers, travel agents and media from India,” the statement noted.

In January this year, 3,922 Indian tourists visited the Maldives, representing a 14.5% growth rate compared to the corresponding period last year and a market share of 4.1%.

“This year more focus will be to strengthen the relationships and jointly working with the airlines. Hosting of the roadshow will help boost arrivals from India,” MMPRC stated.

Hotelier Maldives is published by Perspective Pvt Ltd, (PPL), a company based in the Maldives. PPL has interests in tourism and hospitality related publishing, travel and leisure related services and products.