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for 2011. This can be attributed to the destination becoming more affordable as the number of all-inclusive options offered by hotels has increased. The highest demand has been for the three- and four-star properties. The Maldives has always been 'aspirational', especially for couples. The unique islands, only reached by boat or seaplane, give all properties an air of exclusivity.”

CAROLYN LODGE managing director, Carolyn Lodge Travel, Surrey “I love the beautiful clear

water and the clear air in the Maldives. Travel is so much easier for my clients since British Airways started its direct service. I find it quite easy to sell; there’s a huge amount of choice. The barrier to selling is probably price as in the main it is quite an expensive destination.”

Tourism Talk

SIMON HAWKINS managing director Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation

“The number of tourists who visited the Maldives from January to July 2011 increased by 18.3 per cent to 520,483 compared to the first six months of 2010, with arrivals in July increasing by 26.7 per cent to 72,516. "Over 60,021 (11.7 per cent) of these

were from the UK, making it the second- biggest contributing nation to the Maldives tourism industry. "This year has seen the Maldives undergo a comprehensive destination re-brand to enhance the global image and broaden its appeal to a wider audience and emerging niche markets. "The new logo, slogan, advertising strategy and worldwide campaign will unite the country’s natural, cultural and historical attributes and showcase it as a lot more than simply a sea and sand holiday destination. "With the new airlift from Etihad opening up the destination to more passengers from the UK, and a number of new resorts set to open in the remainder of 2011 and 2012, we are confident that next year will once again see an increase in visitor numbers from the UK.”

MALDIVES  Top Selling Tips...

• Don't just think couples and honeymooners... “More and more luxury resorts cater extremely well for children of all ages. Just bear in mind that most resorts do not allow younger children in their over- water room categories"

• Twin longer stays... “Many clients are concerned that spending two weeks on one island may be a little too long. Suggest a stay at two or more contrasting resorts in The Maldives, or even a short stop in the Middle East either before or after”

• Seaplanes – not just a transfer... “Sometimes resorts further from Male Airport can be discounted by clients because they don't want to get on another flight. In my opinion, these clients are missing out on the best introduction to The Maldives, as viewing the atolls and warm waters from the air is an experience in itself” Mike Taylor, product and marketing manager ITC Classics

Clockwise from top left: Coming ashore, at Velassaru; aeriel view of Huvafen Fushi; England cricketer Ian Bell enjoys Maldives luxury.

50 November 2011 •


commercial director Sunset Faraway Holidays “The Maldives was our

fastest-growing destination in the first quarter of 2011 and continues to be a top choice for couples, families and honeymooners seeking romance and retreat. We have seen a growing demand for all-round value, particularly in meal plan options and the activities and facilities resorts offer. "The last-minute booking market is

proving to be the major trend this year for long haul travel, as people are more receptive to all the great deals available such as free night deals, meal plan upgrades or room upgrades.”

ALEX LOIZOU product manager, The Private Travel Company “The Maldives has been

selling very well, with bookings up year on year. Everything we sell is very top end but we’re seeing a demand for all- inclusives. It’s a very competitive market, so there are deals to be had. We have a lot of late bookings but for peak holiday periods in 2012 we are seeing a strong forward market.”

KRISTIE MCGOVERN product manager for the Indian Ocean Gold Medal Travel

“The Maldives has performed extremely well for us with bookings up significantly

Where To Book It CARRIER – 0161 492 1358 An offer at Niyama sees clients staying for seven nights but paying for only five. Priced from £2,375pp for departures in April 2012, it includes flights, half-board accommodation in a beach studio and an early booking discount.

EMIRATES TOURS – 020 7590 1450 Offers Diva from £1,579 pp, with a saving of up to £579 per couple. The price includes return Emirates Economy Class flights from London Gatwick, seven nights in a Beach Pavilion, with return seaplane transfers. Valid for travel November 1 to December 9.

TRAVEL 2 – 0800 0224 182 A week at the four-star Adaaran Select Meedhupparu Resort is from £1,019pp, including flights with Qatar Airways and a standard beach villa on an all-inclusive basis. Travel between May 1 and 31, 2012. Seaplane transfers from £277pp.

Who Flies There BRITISH AIRWAYS – 0906 706 00 10 (direct) EMIRATES – 0844 800 2777 (via Dubai) ETIHAD AIRWAYS – 020 3450 7300 (via Abu Dhabi) QATAR AIRWAYS – 0870 389 8090 (via Doha) SRI LANKAN AIRLINES – 020 8538 2001 (direct or via Colombo).

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