Over 700,000 tourists visit Maldives first half of the year

More than 700,000 tourists visited the Maldives in the first seven months of this year, Tourism Ministry has revealed.

The number of tourists, who visited the Maldives from January to July 2011, increased by 18.3 percent to 520,483 compared to the 439,864 tourists in the same period of last year.

According to the Tourism Ministry, tourist arrivals to the Maldives in July increased by 26.7 percent to 72,516 compared to the same period of last year.

Statists revealed by the ministry show that China dominated the tourism market in the first seven months of the year with 103,734 tourists, which accounts for 19.9 percent of the total arrivals.

UK is the second-most contributor to the Maldives tourism industry with 60,021 tourists (11.7 percent) and Italy follows on the third with 53,493 tourists (10.3 percent).

Tourist arrivals from China increased by 65.6 percent from January-July 2011 while the number of tourists who visited the Maldives from UK and Italy decreased by 6.1 percent and 3.8 percent respectively.

Maldivian resorts operated 24,156 beds in the past seven months while the tourists spent 7.2 days on average. The average occupancy rate of the resorts stayed at 80.1 percent.

Source: Haveeru News Service

Maldives records 56.7% growth in Chinese market

The Maldives received more than 65,000 Chinese tourists in the first five months of this year, a 56.7 percent increase over the same period of 2010, according to the latest figures.

Figures from the Maldivian tourism authorities show that the number of Chinese tourists to the Maldives accounted for 16.6 percent of the total foreign tourists from January to May, ranking top of foreign visitors, followed by Italy with 47,900 tourists, Britain, Germany and France.

The Maldives, a popular tourist destination for Western tourists, has witnessed a rapidly growing number of Chinese tourists in recent years.

China became the Maldives’ largest tourist market in 2010, generating 120,000 tourists.

In an interview with Xinhua in early May, Mariyam Zulfa, Maldives’ minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said the number of Chinese tourists to the Maldives are expected to rise to a new high in 2011.

The Maldives’ tourism authorities said China’s fast growing economy has made more and more people afford to enjoy overseas holidays.

Other major factors in attracting Chinese tourists include unique sand beaches, visa-free access and a variety of water sports.

The country’s tourism department plans to launch non-stop flights between the Maldives and China’s inland cities.

Four Seasons Resorts Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy 2011

Surfing goes five star and beyond from August 29 to September 5, 2011 at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa.

The Maldives is set to host the world’s most exclusive surfing event this August featuring six world champions, a leading five-star surfing resort, a luxurious 39-metre three-deck catamaran, and perfect reef break waves.

Conceived in conjunction with luxury surf pioneers Tropicsurf, Four Seasons Resorts Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy will see the sport’s biggest legends – including four-time world champion Mark Richards of Australia – compete across three disciplines that showcase the evolution of modern surfing. Competitors will contest the Single Fin (1970s), Twin Fin (70s and 80s) and Thruster (80s onwards) divisions for USD 25,000.00 prize money while enjoying the spoils of Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa.

Recent publicity is highlighting what the locals have known for years: that the Maldives is home to some of the world’s most impressive, consistent – and warmest – swells. Seven-time world champion Layne Beachley is looking forward to embracing the challenge in style. “I’ve never been to the Maldives and I can’t think of a better way to go than in five-star style,” says the Sydney surfer. “It will be back to basics in the ocean while living it up on land.”

Also included in the legendary line-up is 1988 world champion Barton Lynch of Australia, with three other surfers yet to be announced.

Never before has a surf competition amassed such a high-profile field in such exclusive surroundings. “It’s the ultimate surf competition showcasing a hand-picked field of iconic champions with the latest surf craft available,” says Event Co-ordinator and General Manager of Tropicsurf Mark Winson. “We’re talking about six of the sport’s most acclaimed surfers taking on old rivals while competing for high stakes in some of the best surf on the planet.”

Guests will rub shoulders with the contest’s participants in Kuda Huraa’s vibrant village-like resort – home to competitors, judges and supporters alike for the duration of the event.

The Resort’s all-inclusive four- or seven-night Champions Trophy package – available from August 29 to September 5, 2011 only – will also get right on top of the action with competition day passes aboard Four Seasons Explorer and three half-day surfing passes with Tropicsurf. The package also includes luxurious full board accommodation (excluding beverages); combined recreational activities including diving sessions, shark safari, dolphin cruise and sunset fishing; a Surfer’s Massage; nightly sundowners on Sunset Beach and a 50 percent discount off round-trip airport transfers via speedboat.

Maldives to waive import duty on environment-friendly vehicles

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The Cabinet has decided to waive import duties on electric and renewable energy powered vehicles to boost the government’s initiative to promote the import and use of environmentally friendly products.

Deliberating on a paper presented by the Ministry of Economic Development on waiving import duties on environmentally friendly products imported to the Maldives, the Cabinet also decided to waive import duties on solar panels and solar panel batteries used in marine vessels.

The Cabinet noted that most of the vehicles and marine vessels used in the Maldives rely on fossil fuel – petrol and diesel – and therefore, it was important to give a duty incentive to encourage the import of eco-friendly vehicles and renewable energy products used in vessels.

The Cabinet decided that import duties on these vehicles and products would be waived in accordance with on documentation issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declaring their eco-friendliness.

In addition, the Cabinet deliberated on the matter of introducing a feed in tariff system to encourage adoption of renewable energy in order to attain carbon neutrality goal, secure energy security and reduce dependency on imported oil.

After discussing the matter, the Cabinet, to encourage private investments in renewable energy, decided that the regional utilities companies would purchase electricity produced by renewable energy companies to the grid at the rate Rf3.50 per unit of electricity.

The Cabinet decided to subsidize 50 laari from each unit of electricity, produced using renewable energy, purchased by utilities companies.

Further, the Cabinet decided to waive import duties on raw materials and equipment imported for agriculture, fishing and poultry industries to increase local productivity and develop industries with potential of import substitution.

Cabinet also recommended seeking a 15000 sq ft land in Hulhumale to establish a detoxification centre, a halfway house and other drug rehabilitation infrastructure to be built with international donor assistance.

Source :: Haveeru

Maldives to take legal action over continued New Seven Wonders bid

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) has issued a warning statement given the fact that the New Seven Wonders is still counting Maldives as a contender, after the country’s Cabinet announced it was pulling out of the competition.

The corporation issued the statement following a statement by the New Seven Wonders that Maldives will continue to be a contender despite the government’s decision and an article published on the Minivan News website.

The corporation said it tried to contact New Seven Wonders via email and phone, but to no avail.

MMPRC, which stressed that the government is the sole authority that can do anything under the country’s name, said it approved the Maldives entrance to the competition as it was authorised with the government’s seal and signature.

The statement read, “If the country’s name is used in the competition without the government’s approval, there is no option left but to take legal action.”

In a statement, New Seven Wonders earlier said the organisation has accepted the resignation of the Maldives Ministry of Tourism as the Official Supporting Committee for the Maldives. However, proposals have been made for an alternative Official Supporting Committee for the Maldives, the organisation added.

Meanwhile, Maldives Association for Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) earlier revealed its plan to work jointly with other associations, including the Maldives Association for Construction Industries (MACI), Liveaboard Association of the Maldives and Maldives Association of Yacht Operators (MAYA), to ensure that the Maldives remains in the competition.

MMPRC said the Maldivian government is the only party authorised to take decisions regarding the Maldives participation in the contest, according to the agreement.

The corporation, which raised dubious questions in the statement, noted that following the government’s request to reduce the amount of pay required to stay in the competition, New Seven Wonders asked a third party for funds to sustain the country in the competition.

MMPRC also raised doubts about the authenticity of the voting system.

Source: Haveeru News

Etihad to commence services to the Maldives

Etihad Airways announced today that it will commence operations to Malé, the capital city of the Republic of Maldives, on November 1, subject to government approval.

Etihad will operate a daily return service from its home base in Abu Dhabi to Malé International Airport, operating Airbus A320 aircraft on the route, configured with two cabins and offering 1,904 seats each week.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “Malé is the gateway to the premium leisure destination, the Maldive Islands, and given the strong increase in visitation numbers we are seeing in the market, the time is right to launch services to this popular holiday destination.”

Mr Hogan said the commencement of the services in November was perfectly timed to coincide with the start of the busy Northern winter period.

“We expect the services will appeal to UAE leisure travellers, as well as customers from our major European markets, particularly with the strong connectivity options on offer and following the additional frequencies that will come online on a number of our key European routes this summer,” he said.

“Etihad’s schedule, which offers an attractive afternoon arrival and evening departure, has been carefully designed to offer customers maximum leisure time at their destination. In fact, European travellers can take advantage of our overnight flights in both directions, offering them a full extra day in the Maldives.”

The Maldives is made up of close to 1,200 islands grouped into natural atolls; including 200 inhabited islands and 97 resort islands, with a population of close to 300,000 people*. The region features deep blue seas, sandy beaches and turquoise reefs, and with its tropical climate and warm temperatures year round, is a renowned honeymoon and leisure destination.

Etihad Holidays has special packages on offer for the most spectacular of the islands. Offering a wide range of experiences for all budgets, Etihad Holidays has developed tailored packages for honeymooners or families, sun worshippers or divers. The packages include flights, hotel accommodation and island transfers. For further information, call 800 2324 or visit an Etihad shop for more details.

Etihad Guest Members who book early and fly during the first 30 days of operation will be rewarded with twice as many Etihad Guest Miles. For further information, go to etihad.com. Terms and conditions apply.

Malé will become the 67th destination on Etihad’s global network.

Source: arabianaerospace.aero

Maldives Islands launched in Eastern Europe

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.

maldives islands

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%.

Maldives Showcased at the 13th Annual Unique Choice Road Show

Maldives Tourism Promotion Board participated for the first time at the 13th annual Unique Choice Road Show held in 6 cities of GCC countries namely Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Dammam/Al-Khober, Riyadh, Jeddah from 30th May till 3rd June 2009.

Unique Choice group is identified as one of the top wholesale tour operator in the Middle East region. These workshops are marked as one of the important events each year due to its success targeting tour operators/ travel agents in the GCC region. The main objectives of Maldives participation in the road show was to increase market share from the Middle East countries by providing the travel trade with the most updated tourism information on the Maldives and secure commitments for the future promotions of the Maldives among their clients. Furthermore, to ensure that as many travel agents and tour operators as possible have the tools they need to be able to effectively promote Maldives island resorts.

The workshops started in Abu Dhabi on the 30th May, with a networking session followed by a lunch at the Crowne Plaza in Abu Dhabi. More than 50 travel agents and tour operators were invited to the work shop, while majority of the visitor showed a keen interest in visiting the Maldives booth to collect information. Emphasis was placed on the warm welcome that GCC nationals and resident expatriates will receive when visiting the islands and the easy accessibility to the country in terms of flight connections and visa procedures.

The Maldives is currently the ultimate getaway for those who are attracted by private islands, stunning beaches and crystal clear waters. The Maldives provides the perfect backdrop for a relaxing, rejuvenating holiday, which is a welcome contrast to the frantic pace of life in the Arabian Gulf.

The workshop session was concluded by a raffle draw held among the visitors by giving away several free vacation prizes from the participating hotels/resorts. Among other participants include destination such as Malaysia, Singapore, Oman and a collection of resorts/hotels from these destinations.

Similar format was adopted for the event in Dubai on the same day, where more than 75 travel agents and tour operators were invited to the JW Marriot Hotel in Dubai which was concluded by a dinner.

Last year Maldives welcomed a total of 683,012 visitors while a total of 9,141 tourists represented the Middle East region. By end of May 2009 Maldives received 3,082 tourists from the region showing a growth of 2.5 per cent compared to the same period of 2008.

SriLankan Airlines Pro Sponsors ASP WQS in the Maldives

Widely regarded as the most striking event on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS), the ASP WQS 6-Star PRIME SriLankan Airlines Pro in the Maldives has again drawn a brilliant field of 128 international surfers from 20 nations around the surfing world.

asp wqs surfing

Current ASP World Tour surfer and 2007 SriLankan Airlines Pro Champion Heitor Alves (Brazil) heads the field as the event’s No. 1 seed with a long list of magnificent surfers in the lineup that includes Phil Macdonald (Australia), Sunny Garcia (Hawaii/2000 ASP World Champion), Aritz Aranburu (Basque), Pat Gudauskas (USA), Masotoshi Ohno (Japan), Travis Logie (South Africa) and current No. 1-rated ASP WQS surfer Adam Melling (Australia).

This year’s event also welcomes esteemed international surf brand Ocean and Earth as a supporting sponsor.

“We have seen the amazing perfection that the Maldives event has delivered to surfing world over the past five years through the web, images and vision and Ocean and Earth are excited to be involved,” Paul Munten, Ocean and Earth International Chief Executive Officer, said. “I understand it’s the warmest waters of any ASP tour event in the world and with most surfing nations either just out of winter season or heading into winter it has to be the perfect place to be.”

Perfection off the reeling Pasta Point reef, set on the glorious Chaaya Island – Dhonveli, is what this event has become famous for.

The event runs from the luxurious Sunset Beach Deck Bar and Restaurant, a location that delivers highest quality surfing at close range to the judges, spectators and media making for one of competitive surfing’s truly unique quality experiences.

Sunny Garcia, one of ASP’s most experienced and venerated competitive surfers ever, summed up his first experience in the Maldives last year saying, “This place is amazing with fantastic waves, crystal clear warm waters in a setting that is so perfect for a high level event – I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get here and I’ll certainly be back.”

A Quarterfinalist last year, Sunny is back in the field for 2009, and in such quality waves will be a certain contender.

As an ASP WQS 6-Star PRIME-rated location, the SriLankan Airlines Pro offers maximum points and prize money and the event is vital to the chances of all competitors surfing not only to win this event but also to qualify for the elite 2010 ASP World Tour.

It’s the perfect mid-year venue to the ASP WQS season and whoever wins this year’s 2009 SriLankan Airlines Pro will be ideally set up for the year’s tour.

ASP Australasia as the event managers will ensure a quality live web along with Television News Feeds, class complimentary Digital Images for newspapers and websites, Web highlight packages and a dedicated 30 minute international television program.

Maldives showcased at World Travel Mart 2008

The Maldives Tourism Promotion Board and representatives from Maldives tourism industry participated in the World Travel Mart 2008 from 10 to 13th November 2008 at ExCel London. This is the biggest travel trade event held in the United Kingdom.

World Travel Mart 2008

A total of 70 tourism related companies from Maldives participated in the fair of which 33 companies represented resorts and hotels in the Maldives. Also travel agencies selling resorts, hotels and liveaboards participated in this fair. The three day long fair attracted over 50,000 visitors. Visitors include press, media and travel trade. This year’s fair attracted 5500 exhibitors representing over 200 countries and regions.

This year, Maldives stand at WTM was re-designed to portray the dynamism of the tourism product developments in the destination Maldives.

UK is the major generating market for Maldives with 17.8% of the market share. Maldives welcomed 89,952 visitors from UK by the end of September 2008.