President credits winning WTA 2020 top award to hard work of entire Maldivian tourism industry

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Saturday, credited Maldives’ win as the World’s Leading Destination at the World Travel Awards 2020 to the hard work of the entire Maldivian tourism industry in making the island nation safe and welcoming to tourists despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maldives win as World’s Leading Destination, the first time the island nation has won the top award, was announced during the WTA 2020 grand finale on Friday evening.

Maldives won the award after competing with 22 top tourist destinations, including Dubai, Malaysia, Spain, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.

President Solih conveyed his pleasure at the achievement in a tweet on Saturday morning.

“Very happy that Maldives won the World’s Leading Destination at this year’s #WorldTravelAwards. Despite COVID-19, the award is the result of the hard work of the entire tourism industry to make Maldives safe and welcoming to visitors,” he said.

President Solih offered heartfelt congratulations to the entire Maldivian tourism industry on the success.

Introduced in 1993, the WTA is the most prestigious honors program in the global travel and tourism industry recognized globally as the ultimate hallmark of industry excellence.

It serves to acknowledge, reward, and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry, and is popularly known as the Oscars of the tourism industry.

Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom hailed the success as a strong endorsement of Maldives’ popularity among international tourists.

“Maldives winning World's Leading Destination award is a strong endorsement of the popularity of Maldives amongst international tourists. This superb win reflects the strong determination and sound policies of HEP Solih and his administration, strive and strides of travel and tourism industry partners and employees; targeted #VisitMaldives promotion by industry partners and MMPRC and of course the warm smile of Maldivians. Congratulations!” he said.

Maldives was also nominated for a staggering 40 categories at the grand finale, with 8 nominations in destinations category, 53 nominations for 30 categories in hotels and resorts and 3 nominations for 3 world categories competing against world-class destinations, with several tourist establishments winning in these categories. These awards are:

  • World's Leading New Resort 2020: Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa
  • World's Leading Luxury Island Resort 2020: The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
  • World's Leading Luxury Island Villas 2020: Baros Maldives
  • World's Leading Honeymoon Resort 2020: JA Manafaru
  • World's Leading Water Villa Resort 2020: Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa
  • World's Leading Seaplane Operator 2020: Trans Maldivian Airway
  • World's Leading Airport Resort 2020: Hulhule’ Island Hotel

Maldives also won 4 awards in the Indian Ocean category at WTA; Indian Ocean’s Leading Beach Destination 2020, Indian Ocean’s Leading Cruise Destination 2020, Indian Ocean’s Leading Destination 2020 and Indian Ocean’s Leading Dive Destination 2020.

It marks the 13th time for Maldives to win the famed Indian Ocean’s Leading Destination award.

WTA reported a record number of visitor traffic and engagement from public voters this year.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced Maldives to close its borders for nearly four months between March 27 and July 15, resulting in a devastating impact on the tourism industry and the economy as a whole.

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) states efforts to promote Maldives emphasize on the unique geographical formation of Maldivian islands, and the key unique selling point of one-island-one-resort concept, characteristics that make Maldives a relatively safe destination and a safe haven for tourists.

Visit Maldives has carried out over 412 different types of marketing activities in 22 global markets. 314 activities were carried out during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as part of the crisis recovery plan; some of which include fairs – both online and offline, webinars, FAM trips, online roadshows, outdoor campaigns, digital media campaigns and more.

“Despite the challenges over the course of the year, this accomplishment is a remarkable testament of the love of tourists from around the world, as well as the massive effort and continuous contribution made by each and every one of the stakeholders, in order to revive and restore the industry in Maldives,” said MMPRC in a statement.