The Maldives is embarking on major campaign to increase its tourist arrivals in 2016.
The new Visit Maldives Year 2016 has been launched with a mission to drive 1.5 million international visitors to the archipelago for the first time.
And throughout the year, the Maldivian Ministry of Tourism will be celebrating the arrival of every 500,000th visitor, hopefully culminating in the 1.5 millionth arrival in December 2016.
A full-year total of 1.5m arrivals would mark a major achievement; in 2014 the Maldives welcomed just over 1.2m visitors, and no more than 1.3m are expected for the 2015 full-year (the Maldives welcomed 1.11m visitors in the first 11 months of last year). Therefore a figure of 1.5m would mean the Maldives has to attract around 15-20% more visitors in 2016.
To kick off the year, the Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) welcomed the first visitor of the year on 1 January. UK national Kate Holmes was greeted at the airport by MMPRC’s acting managing director, Haris Mohamed, and awarded with a free stay at the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort.
In future months, Visit Maldives Year will include a series of international and national events, competitions and awareness-raising programmes.
The Maldives largest source market in 2015 was China, which accounted for 343,359 of the 1.11m visitors in the January-November period. Germany (95,492) was a distant second, followed by the UK (83,244), Italy (54,336), India (44,705) and Russia (38,526).