Maldives expects to see 40% surge in Chinese tourist arrivals in 2024
Maldives expects the number of Chinese visitor arrivals this year to recover to the pre-pandemic level, with an increase of 40% compared with last year, Fathmath Thaufeeq, Managing Director of the Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corp (MMPRC), the national tourism office of the Maldives, has said.
In an exclusive interview with the China’s Global Times on Thursday, Thaufeeq said that the Maldives anticipates a 40% increase in Chinese visitor arrivals this year, aiming to restore figures to pre-pandemic levels. Thaufeeq highlighted the role of new bilateral agreements with China as a driving force behind this optimistic outlook.
Before the pandemic in 2019, China stood as the leading source market for the Maldives’ tourism industry. However, due to a decline in Chinese travellers that year, the country dropped to the third-largest source market. The Maldives recorded a mere 12,764 Chinese tourists in 2022 as borders remained closed. The situation saw a remarkable turnaround in January 2023 when direct flights from China to the Maldives resumed.
The year 2023 witnessed a substantial surge, with over 172,163 Chinese tourists visiting the Maldives. This catapulted the country from 27th place in 2022 to reclaim its position as the third-largest source market.
To further attract Chinese tourists, the Maldives has implemented strategies such as Chinese-language marketing activities on popular social media platforms like Weibo and WeChat. Additionally, the country actively participated in major travel trade shows and events in China, fostering strong relationships with tour operators and travel agents.
Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu’s recent five-day visit to China has already yielded positive results, with new deals signed in various sectors. Thaufeeq highlighted successful discussions regarding additional direct flights to the Maldives from various regions of China, emphasising the significance of China as a strategic partner and market.
“China has long remained one of the most significant sources for the Maldives’ tourism industry, with consistent growth in arrivals before global border closures and after the reopening of Chinese borders. We hope to recover to pre-pandemic arrival figures within this year with a further 40% increase,” she said.
President Muizzu on Tuesday called on tourism stakeholders in Maldives and China to intensify efforts to regain China’s position as the single biggest source market for Maldives tourism.
He made the statement while delivering his remarks at the Invest Maldives Forum at the Fuzhou Strait International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Fuzhou, China.