MATATO expresses concern over drop in tourists’ length of stay

Maldives Association for Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) holds press conference.

Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) has expressed concern that despite the increase in tourist arrivals, the average length of stay has dropped, resulting in a huge loss of revenue.

In its monthly report released on Monday, MATATO said that according to data released by the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), the tourist earnings for the initial eight months of this year amounted to USD 2.6 billion (MVR 40 billion).

“While this is still a substantial figure, it represents a concerning USD 160 million (MVR 2.5 billion) drop when compared to the same period last year, marking a five percent decrease,” said the association.

Meanwhile, the average length of stay declined to 7.6 days, down from 8.1 days during the same period in 2022, suggesting that tourists were inclined towards shorter trips.

“This reduction in the average length of stay could potentially have a negative impact on the revenue per available room (RevPAR), a vital indicator of the tourism sector's performance,” said the association.

There are 62,822 operational tourist beds in Maldives as of November 1. But the occupancy rate is at 51 percent.

The Maldives welcomed 1.5 million tourists by the end of October.

MATATO said that while the increase in visitor numbers will be reflected in GST and other taxes, the decline in the length of stay could have a significant negative impact on tourist revenue.

It is crucial that resorts and guesthouses reduce room rates to improve the length of stay, said MATATO.

MATATO said the situation underscores the challenges faced by the Maldives tourism sector in achieving growth amid changing market dynamics, competitive pricing, and evolving traveler preferences.

“Efforts to restore and bolster revenue are likely to remain a focal point for the nation's tourism industry in the foreseeable future,” said the association.