Maldives tourism revenue drops by $200m in 8 months
Despite an increase in overall tourist arrivals to the Maldives, the tourism sector has generated $200 million less in income in the first eight months of this year compared to the same period in 2022, according to data released by the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), the central bank.
The data reveals that Maldives received $2.5 billion (MVR 39 billion) from GST, green tax, airport development fees, tourism tax, and duty-free transactions from tourists in the first eight months of 2023. This figure is $200 million (MVR 3 billion) lower than the revenue for the same period in 2022, representing a 5% decrease.
In the first eight months of 2022, the country was able to generate $2.7 billion (MVR 42 billion) from tourist income. Notably, while one million tourists visited the Maldives during the same period last year, 1.2 million tourists arrived this year.
Industry experts attribute the revenue decline to the substantial drop in room prices in resorts and guesthouses, despite the increase in GST to 16% compared to the previous year. Additionally, the duration of stay and the occupancy rate of tourists have decreased this year. The country’s occupancy rate dropped below 50% for four months, while in the previous year, it was below 50% for only three months. Tourists spent an average of 7.6 days in the Maldives until September this year, compared to an average of 8.1 days during the same period last year.
The highest revenue from tourists was recorded in February this year, totalling $460 million (MVR 7 billion), which is $78 million (MVR 1.2 billion) less than the same month last year when Maldives received $537 million (MVR 8.3 billion) from tourists.
At the end of last year, the Maldives earned $3 billion (MVR 46 billion) from tourists. This year, flight movement has increased by 5% compared to the previous year, with the number of scheduled flights rising to 1,200.