Indian tourist arrivals decline by 42 percent

Indian tourists holidaying in the Maldives; arrivals from the country have dwindled significantly in 2024--

The number of tourist arrivals from India has declined by 42 percent in the first four months of this year compared to the first four months of last year.

At the start of this year, India had been the top tourist market to the Maldives. Shortly into the year, India dropped down to sixth place in the top tourist markets to the place and has remained at that rank to date.

According to Tourism Ministry statistics – Maldives recorded a total of 43,991 tourist arrivals from India as of May 4th.  Between January and April of last year, Maldives recorded 73,785 tourist arrivals. This year, the number stands at 42,638.

Maldives have recorded a total of 794,109 tourist arrivals as of May 4th with China as the top tourist market. In this regard, Maldives has recorded 87,168 arrivals from China, followed by Russia and the UK with 80,160 and 76,823 arrivals respectively.

The steep decline in Indian tourists is attributed to the strained relations between India and the Maldives after the new administration assumed office.

Ruling PPM-PNC, during their time as the opposition, had led a campaign titled ‘India Out’, calling for the removal of Indian military personnel based in the Maldives. After the current administration assumed office, three deputy ministers posted derogatory remarks against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media which further strained relations between the two neighbors.

The remarks by the ministers prompted prominent Indian figures including celebrities to urge against visiting the Maldives.

Although the number of Indian tourists has decreased since then, there is also a steep increase in the number of Chinese tourists, making up for the loss. The current administration maintains strong relations with China.

The current administration targets to welcome two million tourists this year.