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Sunday, February 19, 2012
Maldives Tourism Expects to Grow
The political crisis unfolding in the Maldives has
not impacted the local tourism industry thus far, according to tourism
The country’s president Mohamed Nasheed has stepped down in
the face of what his supporters termed a coup d'état by opposition elements.
Vice President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, sworn in as his replacement shortly
after, has since pledged that tourists would not be at risk from the political
Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik
The Maldives Association of Travel Agents & Tour
Operators said in a statement: “The geographical isolation of resorts and
inhabited islands leaves tourists away from daily activities of local
population centers. We would like to assure that the holidays of tourists in Maldives would
not be affected in the current scenario.”
Kai Jellinghaus, destination manager for Germany-based REWE
Destination Service AG, said all flights into the Maldives were operating as per
normal, and that he had not received any cancellations for bookings.
“The situation (in the capital Male) is stabilising,” he
said, adding that the UK has
issued a travel advisory, while Germany
has asked its nationals to be cautious when visiting Male.
Michelle Flake, contracting & marketing manager of
Scaevola Travel, an inbound operator, revealed she had fielded a few calls from
clients concerned about the situation, but that “they (had) not cancelled as I
explained that this won’t affect the resorts”.
The political crisis is an unwelcome disruption for the Maldives, which
was hoping to welcome its inaugural millionth international arrival in a single
calendar year this September.
According to Simon Hawkins, managing director of the
state-owned Maldives Marketing & PR Corporation, arrivals to the Maldives are expected
to grow by 18-20 per cent this year over the 931,333 received in 2011.
the top source market in 2011 with 198,655 visitors, a 67-per cent jump over
the year before, while Europe – despite a fall in arrivals from the UK and Italy last year – was now showing
hints of a recovery.
European markets accounted for 57.7 per cent of inbound
traffic in 2011, down from 63.8 per cent the year before. Last year, there were
104,508 visitors from the UK
(8.5 per cent drop from 2010), 90,517 from Germany
(+ 17.4 per cent), 83,088 from Italy
(- 7.3 per cent) and 63,936 from Russia (+ 30.2 per cent). The
average length of stay was 7.0 days, down from 7.4 days in 2010.