Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives) has initiated exhibiting the Maldives at the biggest travel trade event held in India, OTM Mumbai, as the partner country, to further strengthen the Maldives’ brand visibility in this market. The fair is being held in Mumbai, India, from the 14th to 16th of March 2022, at the Bombay Exhibition Center.
OTM, also referred to as the gateway to India’s largest travel market, is one of the largest international gatherings of travel trade buyers and professionals in India. This event provides the opportunity for the international travel trade to meet tourism professionals and build long-term business relations from around the world. This year’s OTM event will see over 1,100 exhibitors from 55 countries, with visitor figures estimated to reach over 30,000 during the three days of the event.
The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of MMPRC, Mr Thoyyib Mohamed, participated in a panel discussion held on the sidelines of OTM under the title “The Importance of India-Outbound in the Post Pandemic Market Recovery”. Speaking at this panel discussion, Thoyyib addressed the current position of the market and the ongoing efforts by MMPRC and industry stakeholders to maintain the Maldives as one of the most preferred destinations among Indians. MMPRC was also conferred an award by One Above Agency, one of the leading travel agencies of India, in recognition for the work done by the corporation in the Indian market. The award was titled “FRIEND OF INDIAN OUTBOUND TRAVEL FRATERNITY”.
Additionally, Mr Thoyyib is also scheduled to attend “Maldives Tourism Investment and Connectivity Forum” networking event held by the Ministry of Tourism of Maldives on 15th March.
Under our efforts to enhance the destination presence during OTM, Maldives will be exhibited as the partner country during the three-day fair. As the partner country, Maldives is entitled to visibility on both offline and online components. As such Maldives will be promoted as a preferred holiday destination for Indians by highlighting tourism products and segments and experiences at strategic locations of the venue. Further to this our participation was communicated to over 50,000 agents in the organizers database through official presses and emailers.
The Maldives will be represented by MMPRC at a designated stand at OTM 2022, along with 18 co-exhibitors. The main purpose of participating in this event is to promote the Maldives as a safe haven for travelers and to update the Indian travel trade with the latest information and travel guidelines from the destination. Throughout the event, MMPRC will showcase the geographical advantages of the scattered islands of the Maldives, allowing natural social distancing, and making our nation one of the safest destinations for tourists. Our products, including resorts, hotels, guesthouses/homestays and liveaboards, will also be marketed through this event.
India was the top source market to the Maldives, in the past two years. The market has contributed to the overall recovery of our tourism sector during the past two years. As part of our marketing strategy for the India market, participation in OTM will efficiently promote various segments of tourism to travel trade professionals. This strategy aims to assist the destination to increase future bookings and arrival figures from India.
India was the largest market in 2021 with over 278,740 travelers and a market share of 22.6%. Similarly, India was the largest market in 2020 with an arrival figure of 62,960 and a market share of 11.3%. MMPRC has been participating in fairs and exhibitions and holding several activities for this market in order to maintain destination momentum and further increase arrivals from this market. This includes virtual and in-person activities such as major marketing campaigns with stakeholders, webinars, roadshows and familiarization trips.
The world is currently on the trajectory to adapt to a broader new normal and ease covid measures across all sectors to recover from negative impact caused to economies due to covid restrictions. We are witnessing more countries easing travel measures and opening with a new normal. With regards to the recent development across the world, Maldives has also eased travel restrictions imposed on tourists which enforced presenting of negative PCR tests by all travelers. In this regard, from 4th March 2022, tourists visiting Maldives are no longer required to present a Covid-19 PCR negative result upon arrival if the prescribed doses of vaccine are completed 14 days prior to date of arrival. As of 13th March 2022, the Maldives has also lifted the national public health emergency, imposed in response to the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ease of travel restrictions and measures would make it easier for tourists to visit the Maldives.
MMPRC carried out 260 different marketing activities in 22 global markets last year, including fairs, roadshows, familiarization trips, marketing campaigns, webinars, and interviews. The greatest testament to the success of these activities came late last year, as the Maldives secured the title of ‘World’s Leading Destination’ (among several other accolades) at the 2021 World Travel Awards, globally recognised as the hallmark of industry excellence. This is the second consecutive year that the Maldives had successfully earned this prestigious title, a shining testimony of the trust placed in the ‘magic of Maldivian hospitality’ by travelers from all over the globe.
This year also celebrates an exceptional year to visit the Maldives – the Golden Jubilee celebration of tourism in the Maldives kicked off earlier last year with plans to conduct new and exciting activities throughout the year. MMPRC has planned over 60 in-person events for the year 2022, including 11 fairs, roadshows and events scheduled for just the first quarter.