Mausoom: Tourist stay time is not short

Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom.

Tourism Minister, Dr Abdullah Mausoom has said that the Maldives Association for Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) is wrong in saying that tourism revenue has declined due to a decline in the duration of the stay of tourists visiting Maldives.

According to the latest report by Matato, the country has suffered a loss of about USD 160 million due to the decline in tourist stay. The increase in tourist numbers will see an increase in some taxes such as GST, but the decrease in length of stay will have an adverse impact on tourism, Matato said.

In an exclusive interview with Sun, Minister Mausoom said regarding this that the revenue from tourism is not declining.

"It doesn't go down. Even if Matato says that, it's misleading," he said.

Mausoom said that in 2019, a large number of Chinese tourists arrived in Maldives but no tourists arrived from China last year. However, the fifth market in 2019, Russia, had the highest number of tourists last year.

"Russians are very long-term stayers. They will stay for nine days or a maximum of 14 days. So bed nights will increase a lot,” he said.

"So if an organization says something by comparing to 2022, it's not right. You have to count 2016, 17, 18,19 as well. That's how the trend of tourism in Maldives came.”

Mausoom said that while 2022 was an exceptional year but revenue will be lower than in other years. However, revenue will not decline compared to 2019, he said.

The China market, which was at the forefront before the outbreak, has once again moved forward. The largest number of tourists came from China last month, according to Maldives Immigration.

Last month, a total of 159,141 tourists arrived in Maldives, out of which 17,406 tourists came from China. Statistics show that an average of 5,135 tourists arrived daily.

The Russian market is in second place. 17,032 tourists from Russia visited Maldives last month.