Maldives tourist arrivals cross pre-pandemic highs; on track to reach annual target

The Maldives has hit an all-time high in tourist arrivals, signalling a stride towards achieving its annual tourism goal.

In 2019, the Maldives welcomed 1,702,831 visitors, marking the highest tally for any year. However, as of December 12 this year, the nation has already surpassed this figure with a record 1,752,706 arrivals. This surge, the highest in the country’s history, has exceeded expectations with 19 days still left in the year.

With a target of 1.8 million tourists for this year, the Maldives requires approximately 47,000 more visitors to meet its goal. The average daily influx of 5,700 tourists indicates strong momentum, leading both government officials and industry experts to express confidence in meeting this year’s target.

A glance at tourist arrivals over the past five years highlights the Maldives’ growth trajectory:

  • 2019: 1,702,831 tourists
  • 2020: 555,494 tourists
  • 2021: 1.2 million tourists
  • 2022: 1.5 million tourists
  • 2023: 1,752,706 tourists (as of December 12)

Russia leads as the primary source market for Maldivian tourism, trailed by India in second place and China in third.

Presently, the Maldives boasts 1,135 tourism facilities comprising resorts, guest houses, hotels, and safaris, with a total bed capacity of 61,207.

Despite record tourist arrivals this year, hotels and resorts in Maldives posted the weakest performance in the Asia Pacific region, with Gross Operating Profit Per Available Room (GOPPAR) at -11.8% in the past 12 months, according to the most recent Asia Pacific Hotels Monitor put out by hospitality advisory firm Whitebridge. With GOPPAR of +1,420%, Tokyo emerged as the star performer in APAC, while the Maldives posted the weakest performance with GOPPAR at -11.8%, the study, released in late November, said.

The Maldives saw the biggest off-season losses. Peaking at more than $300 GOPPAR, almost tripling Singapore’s achievement, the destination’s high operating costs resulted in losses in September 2022 and June 2023.

The findings are in line with the latest data released by the Maldives’ central bank.

A recent report by the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) revealed that the occupancy rate of the tourism industry declined to 53% in October 2023, from 58% in October 2022. The operational bed capacity of the tourism industry observed an increase of 3,545 beds when compared with October 2022.

The MMA attributed the decline in occupancy rate to the increase in bed capacity, which outpaced the growth in tourist arrivals. The report also noted that the average stay of tourists observed a decline to 7.6 days in October 2023, from 8.1 days in October 2022.

Overall, for the period January to October 2023, total tourist arrivals increased by 13% in annual terms, while bednights rose by 7%. During the period, the average stay observed a decline to 7.6 days, from 8.1 days in the corresponding period of 2022.

Hotelier News Desk
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