Tourist arrivals to Maldives plummet in May

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

Maldives recorded a sharp drop in tourist arrivals in May, compared to the tourist arrivals the previous four months.

Statistics released by Tourism Ministry show 64,616 tourists visited Maldives in May, with average daily arrivals at 2,086.

The figure is significantly low compared to the 92,103 arrivals in January, 96,882 arrivals in February, 109,585 arrivals in March, and 91,200 arrivals in April.

Total annual arrivals by the end of May stands at 454,383.

Daily arrivals during the first four months of the year were upwards of 3,000. However, statistics show daily arrivals dropped as low as 1,200 in May.

The drop in arrivals is attributed to the decision to suspend tourist visas to travelers from India – which is experiencing an alarming rise in COVID-19 infections. India had been the top source for tourist arrivals to Maldives prior to the travel restrictions.

Other contributing factors to the low numbers include the onset of the tourism offseason, advisories issued by countries such as the UK and US warning against travel to Maldives due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, and the closure of borders in some countries.

The top source market for tourist arrivals to Maldives this year is Russia, followed by India, Germany, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan.

Maldives initially targeted one million tourist arrivals this year, and later upped the target to 1.5 million after it rolled out its COVID-19 vaccination campaign.