Despite the setbacks faced during the year, the momentum in Maldives tourism has continued as the Maldives thrived to revive and recover tourism during the ongoing severe times of the global pandemic in 2021. The country was able to provide tourists with natural isolation and safety among the covid 19 pandemic due to its unique geographical structure making the process of isolating more convenient. When looking at vaccination status, 60% percent of the general population is vaccinated in the Maldives as well as 95% of workers in the tourism industry have been vaccinated. The Ministry is making arrangements for all industry workers to get the booster dose earlier this year.
The accommodation facilities have increased significantly since the previous year. With the introduction of homestay tourism, bed capacity numbers are expected to exceed even more. As of 31st December 2021, there are 53,160 operational beds. This includes 167 resorts, 805 guesthouses, 157 safari vessels, and 11 hotels. By the end of 2021, there are 39,604 operational bed occupancy from 167 different resorts/marinas. Resorts in Maldives cover over 72% of total bed occupancy.
In the past two years, Maldives has consecutively surpassed the targeted number of tourist arrivals for the year. The Maldives achieved 1.3 million tourist visitor milestone on 27th December 2021 just a day after recording the greatest number of tourist arrivals recorded in the same day with 7098 visitors. In the year 2020, the country targeted 500,00 arrivals and achieved 555,000, thus the target was revised upwards. By the end of December, 1,321,932 tourist arrivals were recorded. In January 2021, arrival numbers stood at 92,103 and it increased to 96,882 by February 2021 with a daily average of 3535 tourists. Though this was a decline of 35.3% compared with that of 2020, tourists are seen spending their holidays for a longer duration, extending the average duration of stay in the Maldives from 7.2 days in 2020 to 8.7 days in 2021.
India has continued to remain the top source market, with a total of 22.1 % market capacity. Following India in the second position, the Russian market remains in the same position as it did last year with a 16.8% market share. On the third position is Germany, stepping up to the third position with a 7.2% market share. Compared to 2020., two new countries, Saudi Arabia and Spain made their way into the top ten list at the 6th and 7th place respectively. The most drastic change was noticed in the Chinese market. China was the leading market in 2019 and stepped down to the 6th position in 2020 and as of 2021, China does not remain among the top ten source markets.
During the ceremony held at Kurumba Maldives Resort to launch the official one-year countdown to the 50th anniversary of the Maldives Tourism Industry, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih declared 3rd October as National Tourism Day. The National Tourism Day attributes to the opening of the Maldives’ first resort, Kurumba Village, at Vihamanaafushi island near Male’ on 3rd October 1972.
To celebrate the New Year 2022, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment organized a music show titled “Maruhabaavees” at Hulhumale featuring singer Ankit Tiwari and several other local musicians. Maruhabaavees was concluded with a grand display of fireworks by the Maldives national Defense force. This was the first new year’s celebration since the Covid-19 pandemic. Several other events were held in resorts and in local islands to celebrate the new year and kickstart the Golden Jubilee celebrations of tourism in the Maldives. On the 1st of January 2022, the first homestay tourists were welcomed to Dhiggaru Island with a welcoming event, attended by the Minister of Tourism, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom.
Maldives secured the title of the World’s Leading Destination and other accolades at World Travel Awards 2021 for the second year in a row. The distinguished award is of great value to the destination, especially as it was achieved during such a challenging time. We welcome 2022, the Golden Year of tourism in the Maldives with a 2 million target goal, and with the hopes of securing the World’s Leading Travel Destination Title once again. We hope the industry achieves greater accomplishments as we proceed.
Team IMTM conveys the warmest congratulations to all the consistent and courageous frontline workers, the government, ministries, MMPRC, other stakeholders, NGO’s and associations for all their efforts in achieving these milestones.