Over 200 tourists visited Male’ City on Friday, on the Japanese cruise ship – Nippon Maru.
The cruise ship’s arrival was celebrated in a ceremony at the No. 1 Jetty, attended by Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom.
Mausoom told Sun that Japan is a key source market for tourist arrivals to Maldives. He said that Maldives recorded 40,000 tourist arrivals from Japan in 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic – making for 3 percent of the market share.
He said that tourist arrivals from Japan in 2022 stands at over 8,000.
“We are delighted with the arrival of Japanese tourists today,” he said.
Mausoom said Maldives welcomes cruise tourism, making the visit by Nippon Maru all the more special.
Mausoom said that Japanese people enjoying retirement were avid travelers with plenty of spending money. He said that attracting such a market segment would boost the Maldivian tourism sector.
“The exposure from will this will serve as added encouragement to Japanese travelers who fly to Maldives,” he said.
Mausoom said he expects the tourism sector to make great advancements the upcoming year – fueled by arrivals from Japan and China.
“We hope to see tourist arrivals from China in Q1 2023,” he said.
Mausoom said tourism authorities were engaged in multiple efforts to attract tourists from Japan. He acknowledged the cooperation authorities receive from the Japanese ambassador.
Cruise ships are a great source of income for the Maldivian economy. However, the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with an unexpected raise in pilotage fee, had resulted in a halt in cruise ships to Maldives in 2020. The fee was eventually reduced in December 2021.
Maldives previously saw an average of 60 cruise ships each year, carrying approximately 60,000 tourists.