Xiamen Airlines to launch direct flights to Maldives
Xiamen Airlines is set to initiate direct flights to the Maldives, as part of a joint initiative by the governments of Maldives and China to boost Chinese tourist visits to the Indian Ocean destination, announced President Mohamed Muizzu on Saturday.
President Muizzu, addressing reporters upon his return from his inaugural state visit to China at Velana International Airport, revealed that discussions with Chinese authorities aimed to double pre-pandemic Chinese arrivals in the next two years. The president expressed success in these talks, highlighting the decision by Xiamen Air to commence direct flights to the Maldives this spring.
Apart from direct flights connecting Male and Xiamen, discussions have also explored the possibility of direct flights from other regions of China, according to the president.
“In addition, marketing activities targeting Chinese tourists will intensify. China was the largest tourist market for the Maldives before the pandemic. Efforts have been made to double that number in the next two years,” President Muizzu stated.
On Tuesday, the president urged tourism stakeholders in both Maldives and China to ramp up efforts to restore China’s position as the primary source market for Maldives tourism, a status held before the onset of Covid-19.
China, being the largest source market for Maldives tourism before the pandemic, saw a resumption of tourist arrivals from January 2023 after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. In 2023, the Maldives welcomed 187,118 Chinese tourists, marking a significant recovery in numbers.