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Maldives


PERFECT TIMING


From just a


thousand to one million visitors in 40 years is impressive by any standards


but that’s the reality of the Maldives’ wholesale embrace of tourism, says Alan Orbell


E


ncourage your clients to time their arrival for a Maldives holiday on November 3 this year


and they could be in for a very pleasant surprise indeed. The Maldives Marketing and Promotion Corporation (Visit Maldives) is so confident of the one millionth visitor arriving on that date that some big celebrations are planned. That landmark statistic comes on the


back of several more which saw 2011 some 20% up on 2010, a record-breaking year and the country’s best ever according to Simon Hawkins, former Managing Director of the Maldives Marketing and Promotion Corporation. “Our resorts were full 74% of the time


in 2011 which puts us at number one in the world. “We had 931,000 visitors in 2011 with


Brits in second place making up 11% of the total – relatively flat. China has now become the number one supplier of visitors with around 200,000 people and India is also growing. In fact the whole of Europe was relatively flat but although our Europe figures were down three to four per cent Europeans do stay longer. “This year has started well with


Warm turquoise waters and soft white sands typify the Maldives. It has huge appeal for honeymooners, seen here at LUX Maldives


16 March 2012 • www.sellinglonghaul.com


January a record-breaking month for the country and the freezing patch in Europe will probably give us a spike in numbers.” Hawkins’ optimism follows some less


than welcome publicity for the Maldives in the first few months of this year. First the spas were to be closed, but of course they weren’t, and then there was talk of banning alcohol and pork – the Maldives is, after all, a muslim nation, but the likelihood of that happening is close to zero. And then came the resignation of the


Maldives’ first democratically-elected president following a coup, which wasn’t really a coup, and now there are to be new elections. However, any unrest was


From The Front Line BETH ALCORN,


Product & Marketing Manager, Emirates Tours UK


“The Maldives continues to be a top choice with our clients, luring couples and honeymooners seeking a romantic and secluded setting. So far this year, LUX* Maldives has


been selling extremely well for us following its recent rebrand from Naiade and the introduction of more competitive rates. Another popular resort for us is Soneva Gili, selling well due to its strong special offers.” “We also expect last year’s trend for all-inclusives to continue."


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