India has always been a key market for Maldives. Since the reopening of the borders, the arrival statistics has shown gradual and constant growth. As per the statistics of Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Maldives, by the end of 2020 India became the number one source market with 62,905 Indian tourists holidaying in the island country, thus accounting for 11.3 per cent of the total market share.
In 2019, India was at second place, following China. This growth accelerated due to various travel restrictions amid COVID-19 and air travel bubble that was initiated between India and Maldives. This created a positive pathway for additional flights from India giving much required opportunities for travellers to visit Maldives.
After India, Russia secured the second place with 61,388 tourists, followed by the UK with 52,716 tourists accounting 11.1 per cent and 9.5 per cent of the total market share respectively.
Maldives opened its borders on July 15, 2020 with strict safety measures for the travellers. Resorts, and guest-houses have opened their doors for tourists in line with HPA guidelines.
Maldives has become an ideal location for travelling, as it is geographically blessed by its isolated nature, making it one of the safest destinations to travel to right now. Incoming travellers from India to the Maldives were largely influenced by Bollywood celebrities opting for stays at high-end resorts and organically promoting the destination.
According to Thoyyib Mohamed, MD, MMPRC, "Despite the pandemic, Maldives tourism has done well. We expected a good last quarter for tourism, but the results were beyond expectations in December. India has always been our focus market. Over the last few years, Maldives has very rapidly ascended the list of the most preferred holiday destination for Indians. During this unprecedented time, we had to re-strategize our marketing activities in order to accommodate the current trends and in order to gain the maximum out of our market efforts. We have constantly attempted to study the consumers' behaviour accordingly and plan for our efforts for 2021."
Maldives recorded 555,399 arrivals in 2020 and achieved their target of 500,000 arrivals for the year. For 2021, the authorities are targeting 1.5 million arrivals.