The Maldives set another record in February, with 87,106 tourists – the highest number recorded in a month – arriving at the island nation, breaking the former record of 79,495 tourists who arrived in January.
The record set last month was an increase of 9.6 percent from the number that arrived in the country in January.
Figures disclosed by the Department of Immigration reveal that the highest number of tourist arrivals – 77,063 tourists – in last year was also recorded in February.
The statistics also reveal that the tourist arrivals within the first two months of this year observed a 15.3 percent increase to 166,601 from the number of tourists that arrived in the country within the period of last year.
Figures show that China dominated the Maldives market with 18,842 tourists, which is a 38.5 percent increase to the number that came to the Maldives in the February of last year. China has an 18.5 percent in the Maldives tourist market, with Europe following in second with 64 percent.
Maldivian resorts operated 20,638 beds in 91 resorts last month while the average occupancy stayed at 94.3 percent.
Maldives Tourism Promotion Board together with tourism industry held a series of road shows in Prague, Warsaw and Budapest on 20th , 22nd and 24th July 2009.
The road shows are the first step to introduce Maldives in these markets to utilize its potentiality, capture sufficient share of outbound market and to reduce country’s leverage on other markets.
The road shows has been organised to maximize publicity and yield greater business opportunities through B2B meeting with the 2 travel agents, 2 resort chains and 210 representative tour operators from respective cities.
Last year Maldives welcomed a total of 683,012 visitors of which 19100 visitors are from East European countries with a market share of 2.8%.
The Maldives will see the opening of the first international-class hotel for its capital city, Malé. The 117-room Holiday Inn Malé will open on 1 September 2009. At 15 storeys, Holiday Inn Malé is the city’s newest and tallest hotel in the Maldives and in a 750-kilometre radius, commanding an unrivalled view of the harbour and beyond.
Just a short, five-minute speedboat ride from the international airport, the hotel will offer world-class meetings and conference facilities, food and beverage outlets, extensive recreation and leading-edge communication facilities. Located on the corner of Ameer Ahmed Magu, Holiday Inn Malé lies near the harbourfront, shops and markets and within a short walking distance to the various historical places of interest like the Old Friday Mosque, Sultan Park and The Presidential Palace. The hotel provides the perfect gateway to holidaymakers heading out to outlying resort islands.
Sporting the new livery, quality facilities and service of the global Holiday Inn brand family, Holiday Inn Malé boasts of 117 stylish rooms which include 17 Superior Rooms, 77 Deluxe Rooms, 13 Deluxe Ocean view Rooms, 9 Premiere Rooms and a Presidential Suite. All rooms feature either a king bed or two twin beds and offer amenities such as broadband Internet, LCD TVs, minibar, complimentary tea/coffee making facilities and in-room safes. As for dining and entertainment, there is a Lobby Café, an all day dining restaurant, a rooftop restaurant offering European/Japanese fusion cuisine and a 24 hour in-room dining.
The hotel also has a rooftop swimming pool, a well equipped fitness centre and the first branded Spa in Malé, Coconut Spa. Other full range of activities include scuba diving and snorkeling, big game fishing, island excursions and picnics, Malé city tour, photo flights, resort day visits, submarine trips and others.
For corporate meetings, there are four versatile meeting rooms including the Grand Ballroom offering 255 square metres of space, all equipped with the latest technology. They provide the ideal space for a range of function requirements: from seminars, board meetings and exhibitions, to wedding banquets and private celebrations catering for up to 180 persons, banquet style, or 240 for a reception.
“Holiday Inn Malé will offer leisure and corporate guests alike a perfect place to relax in comfort or conduct business with ease,” said Jolyon Bulley, vice president operations, South East and South West Asia, IHG Asia Australasia. “As the first IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) hotel in the Maldives, this represents an important milestone for IHG. It presents not only a strategic opportunity for the group to contribute to the thriving tourism industry in Maldives, but also play a significant role within the Malé community.”
The Maldives has taken the first steps towards establishing a protected area for whale sharks. The government-backed initiative is being supported by biologists, diving professionals and representatives of the local community.
For years, the Maldives has been renowned for its whale shark encounters, which, while not as seasonal as those of the Seychelles, occur throughout the atolls during most of the year. Several locations – notably the exposed outer reef of South Ari Atoll – have emerged as whale-shark hotspots and attract boatloads of snorkelers on a daily basis.
Spearheading the move to organize and regulate these encounters is a group of local biologists who have formed the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP). Since 2006, this group has been investigating the populations and behavior of whale sharks in the Maldives through photo-identification, prey surveys and by taking part in an international genetic analysis and tagging project.
So far, a database of 100 individual sharks has been compiled and is being used to track the movements of these sharks around the atolls. The group is also investigating stories of other whale shark hotspots across the archipelago: it is thought that the sharks journey around the Maldives in order to find seasonal eddies that concentrate their favorite food – zooplankton – into relatively small areas. The long-term plan is to establish protected areas in which snorkeling and boat activity will be controlled, and the sharks will have a refuge from open-ocean fisheries.
A meeting was held at the end of 2008 to consider ways of protecting the sharks and ensuring that all boats conform to a code of conduct.
The Maldives has been ranked as the Best Country Brand for Beach and Best Country Brand for Rest and Relaxation for the year 2008. Maldives also ranked 2nd in the Best Country Brand for Natural Beauty and 3rd in the Best Country Brand for Resort and Lodging Options. The Country Brand Index was officially released during London’s World Travel Market in November 2008.
Country Brand Index is a comprehensive study of approximately 2,700 international business and leisure travellers from nine countries. It is conducted by FutureBrand, a global brand consultancy company and Weber Shandwick which is a public relations firm.
The main marketing slogan for the destination Maldives is “Maldives”¦the Sunny Side of Life”. The wellness and relaxation aspect is promoted under the theme of “Maldives”¦the Spiritual Side of Life”. Maldives was ranked number one in these two areas. Maldives emerged as the number one in both Beach and Rest and Relaxation categories after successfully competing with countries like Tahiti, Bahamas and Australia.