Male’, Maldives, 21st January 2024 – The Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), also known as Visit Maldives, extended a warm welcome to the first direct flight from Hong Kong to the Maldives since 2020. A special ceremony took place at Velana International Airport today to commemorate this joyous occasion, honoring the arrival of Hong Kong Airlines flight HX791 from Hong Kong International Airport, which brought tourists from the Hong Kong market to the Maldives.
The tourists received a traditional BoduBeru performance, a vibrant cultural display, and were presented with a special gift pack, including flowers. This celebration signifies the return of tourists from Hong Kong Airlines to the Maldives, marking a significant event since the onset of the global pandemic. Dignitaries attending the event included H.E Ambassador Ms. Wang Lixin, the Ambassador from the People’s Republic of China to the Maldives, representatives from The Ministry of Tourism, Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL), Maldives Immigration, Maldives Customs Service, and government-related enterprises and tourism associations in the Maldives.
China has historically been one of the most significant markets for the Maldives tourism industry. The resumption of direct flights from China to the Maldives on January 18, 2023, marked the end of a 3-year hiatus caused by border closures due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Before 2020, the Chinese market consistently led the arrival charts to the Maldives, with over 187,118 tourists from China in the preceding year. Since the reopening of borders, there has been a steady increase in arrival numbers.
Hong Kong remains an important market within this region, and the establishment of direct connectivity from Hong Kong is expected to contribute to the continued growth in the number of arrivals. MMPRC consistently promotes the Maldives as the top destination in the Chinese market through strategic marketing activities. In 2023, MMPRC conducted successful joint online promotions and familiarization trips.
Notably, the Maldives achieved its highest-ever tourist arrivals last year, surpassing 1.8 million tourists. Furthermore, the Maldives secured the prestigious title of ‘World’s Leading Destination’ for the fourth consecutive year at the 2023 World Travel Awards. MMPRC was honored as the ‘World’s Leading Tourist Board’ for the second consecutive year. In addition to these accolades, the Maldives received the newly-introduced Global Tourism Resilience Award for its capacity to recover swiftly and thrive after disruptions. These victories signify a remarkable triumph for the Maldives’ tourism sector, underscoring the destination’s outstanding position in the global tourism landscape and the enduring appeal of the Sunny Side of Life to travelers worldwide.
MMPRC has an array of captivating initiatives planned for the Chinese market in the upcoming year. These include an e-learning campaign, digital promotions on prominent Chinese apps, outdoor marketing endeavors, collaborative promotional campaigns, familiarization trips, social media initiatives, and active engagement in fairs and exhibitions. The recommencement of flights and focused marketing efforts in the Chinese market are anticipated to yield favorable results for the Maldives tourism sector, reinforcing the Maldives as the preferred destination in the perceptions of Chinese travelers.