Maldives resort revenue slumps despite tourist arrival numbers

Revenue from Maldivian resorts fell by $529 million (MVR 8 billion) last year, according to a report by the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI). Total resort revenue for 2023 reached $3.9 billion (MVR 60 billion), down from $4.4 billion (MVR 68 billion) in 2022.

This decline in resort revenue contributed to a $406 million (MVR 6.3 billion) drop in overall tourism industry revenue. Total tourism revenue in 2023 was $5 billion, compared to $5.4 billion in 2022.

The MATI report also revealed a decrease in tourist occupancy rates. While the Maldives still attracted 1.7 million visitors last year, the report suggests a shift in tourist preference towards guesthouses over traditional resorts.

Resorts Remain Tax Powerhouse

Despite the decline in revenue, resorts remain a significant source of tax income for the Maldivian government. Resorts accounted for 85% of the Tourism Goods and Services Tax (TGST) collected in 2023, generating $481 million for the state. Additionally, resorts contributed $61 million in green tax revenue.

Shifting Tourist Preferences and Policy Changes

The World Bank attributes the decline in resort revenue to this shift in tourist preferences. The World Bank also predicts a decrease in Maldivian tourism productivity.

Industry experts have urged the government to address this issue by introducing new policies that focus on supporting resorts. They believe these policies, alongside regulations for guesthouses, are crucial to maintaining the Maldives’ status as a premier tourist destination.

Looking Ahead: New Airport Terminal and Growth Target

The Maldivian government remains optimistic about the future of tourism. Their target for 2024 is to attract two million tourists. The upcoming opening of a new terminal at Velana International Airport by the end of the year is expected to contribute to this goal. The World Bank predicts this new terminal will boost both tourism revenue and productivity in 2025.