Indian tourist market vital, efforts afoot to sustain numbers: MMPRC

MMPRC Managing Director Fathimath Thaufeeq; in an interview with 'Sun' Fathimath highlighted the Maldives tourism board has launched campaigns to attract Indian travelers to the Maldives -- Sun Photo

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) Managing Director Fathimath Thaufeeq has revealed the tourism board has launched efforts to regain the Indian traveler market's momentum to the Maldives.

Speaking about this, the MMPRC MD said the tourism launched efforts to attract the Indian market as soon as they noticed the significant decline in arrival numbers in 2024.

India maintained its top market rank since 2021 until 2023, but the market has since slipped to the sixth position this year.

Due to the high volume of travelers arriving from the market, India is among the most important tourist source markets to the Maldives, and it is also one the most diverse markets; with travelers ranging from affluent to budget tourists arriving in the Maldives.

Meanwhile, industry experts project significant setbacks for the Maldives if Indian arrivals continue to decline on the long-run.

In a special interview to 'Sun' this week, the MMPRC MD said the tourism board has launched special destination promotion activities targeting the Indian traveler market ahead of the tourism low-season.

"We are trying everything to maintain the numbers [from the Indian market]," Fathimath said.

"We will put extra effort to run promotions since the numbers are dwindling. There are a few promotions we have already launched, and we are running a campaign ahead of the tourism low season as well."

She further revealed ongoing and planned promotions in partnership with various airlines to promote the Maldives tourism brand in the Indian market.

Fathimath further highlighted ongoing tourism promotion campaigns and initiatives targeting other prominent markets as well, and added she is confident the Maldives will achieve the 2 million annual arrival target set by the government.

"We have already achieved over 25% of the annual target, so we are hopeful to achieve more than 2 million arrivals for the year," she commented.

Since President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu ascended to presidency, the relationship between India and the Maldives had been tense, mostly owing to the 'India Out' campaign run by the PPM/PNC coalition when they were in the opposition.

The situation escalated after three top Maldivian government officials made derogatory remarks against the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on X, which led to Indian netizens and celebrities launching an anti-Maldives campaign.

The tourist arrivals from India took a viisble hit afterwards and it slipped in ranks, and was earlier reported the market observed a near 30% decline so far in 2024.

Indian tourist arrivals last year stood at an annual total 209,198.

The total tourist arrivals to the Maldives so far in 2024 has reached 762,125 out of which Indian arrivals has reached 42,167. China leads the top market ranking with 81,914 year-to-date arrivals.