Photo credits | Villa Nautica Resort

Male’, Maldives, 14th January 2024 – The Maldivian government is optimistic about a substantial rebound in Chinese tourist numbers, targeting a 40% increase compared to the previous year. Fathmath Thaufeeq, Managing Director of the Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corp (MMPRC), shared this optimistic outlook in an exclusive interview with the Global Times on Thursday.

Before the 2019 pandemic, China stood as the leading source market for the Maldives’ tourism industry. However, the pandemic-induced decline in Chinese visitors saw it slip to the third-largest source. To counter this setback, the Maldives has adopted diverse strategies, including focused marketing efforts on popular Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo and WeChat.

In 2022, closed borders resulted in a mere 12,764 Chinese tourists visiting the Maldives. However, with the resumption of direct flights from China in January 2023, the numbers experienced a remarkable upswing. The Maldives welcomed over 172,163 Chinese tourists in 2023, leaping from 27th place in 2022 to become the third-largest source.

To fortify ties and entice more visitors, the Maldives actively engaged in major travel trade shows and events in China. President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s recent visit to China marked a positive beginning for bilateral relations in the year. The visit included the signing of new deals spanning various sectors, signaling a promising trajectory.

Successful discussions during President Muizzu’s visit also centered around the potential for additional direct flights from different regions of China. This highlights the pivotal role that China plays as a key partner and market for the Maldives’ tourism industry.

As the Maldives charts its course for tourism recovery, these strategic initiatives and collaborative efforts with China position the island nation on the path to reclaiming its status as a top destination for Chinese travelers.

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