Maldives welcomes 2023's one millionth visitor

Anton Pavlo (L) with his family at the VIA on July 16, 2023. (Photo/Tourism Ministry)

Maldives celebrates the arrival of its one millionth visitor, with a target set to reach two million before the end of this year.

The individual who holds the distinction of being the one millionth tourist to visit Maldives this year expressed his aspiration to become the two millionth tourist next year, emphasizing his enthusiasm for the destination.

Hailing from Moscow, Russia, Anton Pavlo, along with his partner Anastasia Klinsky and their daughter, arrived in Maldives on a British Airways flight earlier today. This marks their first visit to Maldives, an experience that exceeded their expectations. Anton eagerly expressed his desire to return next year as the two millionth visitor.

During their stay, Anton and his partner will enjoy a two-week vacation at the luxurious B. Vakaru Maldives Resort.

Following the achievement of the one millionth tourist milestone, President Ibrahim Mohamed Saleh stated yesterday that the government has set a new target of welcoming 1.9 million tourists to Maldives by the end of this year.

Speaking at a ceremony held at Velana International Airport to commemorate the arrival of the one millionth tourist, Thoyyib Mohamed, the Managing Director of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), expressed satisfaction with the destination's progress thus far this year. He acknowledged that the target of one million tourists was reached in July, which is earlier than the previous year's accomplishment in August. 

Thoyyib highlighted the challenges faced in China and South Korea, attributing the decline in tourist numbers partly to those factors. He mentioned the anticipation of an increase in Chinese tourists after the border reopening, but the absence of scheduled flights to some countries, including China, hindered the projected influx. Additionally, South Korea suspended direct flights to Maldives for several days. Thoyyib affirmed the MMPRC's commitment to achieving success through effective strategies, sound policies, and innovative ideas.

Reflecting on the achievement, Thoyyib remarked that he believes achievement is due to the hard work of all involved. He said Maldives was the first country to open up post covid, praising the President's bold decision, noting that the country’s achievement in this regard was still being looked at as an example internationally. 

In 2019, Maldives received 1.7 million tourists. After the border closure due to the pandemic, the country reopened on July 15, 2020, with 1,752 tourists arriving during that month. The number rose to 7,628 in August and 9,538 in September. In 2020, a total of 555,494 tourists visited Maldives, and in 2021, despite the challenges, the number reached 1.3 million compared to 1.6 million the previous year.