Maldivian leader projects economic growth may hit 21-28%

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih gestures as he speaks at a press conference on May 25, 2021. (Photo/President's Office)

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said on Tuesday that he expects the Maldivian economy to grow by 21-28 percent if they achieve one million tourist arrivals this year.

At a press conference on Tuesday night, President Solih was questioned regarding the Maldivian economic outlook.

He said that he expects to see economic recovery this year.

IMF and World Bank have stated they expect an economic growth of 17-18 percent this year. The current projection is a 21-28 percent growth if one million tourists visit Maldives,” he said.

Tourists pose for a selfie at Velana International Airport on March 1, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Tourism Ministry is targeting 1.5 million tourist arrivals this year. Statistics show 444,085 tourist arrivals by May 24.

While Maldives recorded 3,500 average daily arrivals between February and April, the numbers dropped to 2,000 this May. Maldives, which recorded over 100,000 tourist arrivals in March alone, has been recording daily arrival numbers as low as 1,300 this May.

Tourists at Velana International Airport on March 29, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The drop in arrivals has been attributed to the onset of the offseason, travel restrictions imposed by some of the countries due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Maldives. Maldives itself has suspended the issuance of tourist visas to tourists from India – the top source market for tourist arrivals to the island nation.

President Solih said on Tuesday that he expects tourist arrivals to pick up around July, once domestic COVID-19 situation improves with the new restrictions. He said that if that’s the case, Maldives will not face any budgetary constraints this year.