Tourist arrivals in June declined by 2.2 percent in June compared to the same period in 2014, but registered a marginal growth of 1.3 percent in the first half of 2015 compared to last year.
A total of 81,506 tourists visited the Maldives in June, compared to 83,347 visitors in June 2014, according to statistics from the tourism ministry.
Total arrivals during 2015 meanwhile reached 605,105 from January to June. A total of 601,513 tourists visited the Maldives during the first half of 2014.
The total occupancy rate also declined by 5 percent on average during the first half of the year whilst the average duration of stay also fell by 0.3 percent.
The number of registered tourist establishments stood at 547 at the end of June, including 111 resorts, 19 hotels, 246 guesthouses, and 171 safari vessels. The total bed capacity stood at 32,291.
After reaching a milestone of one million visitors in 2013, followed by 1.2 million visitors the following year, the government’s target for 2015 is 1.4 million tourist arrivals.
However, the performance of the tourism industry in the first half of 2015 was mixed. Tourist arrivals declined by 7.8 percent, 2.9 percent, and 2.2 percent in January, April and June, respectively, but registered increases of 8.8 percent, 6.5 percent, and 4.5 percent in February, March and May.
In a phenomenon that caught many industry experts by surprise, the number of Chinese tourists visiting the Maldives tripled from about 100,000 in 2010 to more than 300,000 last year.
In 2014, Chinese tourists accounted for nearly one-third of arrivals with a 30 percent market shareand currently represents the single biggest source market for tourists to the Maldives.
A total of 363,626 Chinese tourists visited the Maldives in 2014, up by 9.6 percent from the previous year.
Tourist arrivals from China grew 6.6 percent in June and 4 percent during the first half of 2015 compared to the corresponding periods last year.
A total of 178,114 tourists visited the Maldives as of the end of June, representing a 29.2 percent market share.
The second largest source market in the first half of 2015 was Germany with an 8.8 percent market share, followed by the United Kingdom (7.7 percent), Italy (5.9 percent), France (4.3 percent), India (4.2 percent), and Russia (3.6 percent).
Arrivals from Russia plummeted 40.8 percent from January to June, falling from 37,350 visitors in the first half of 2014 to 22,128 visitors this year.
Arrivals from India meanwhile grew by 14.2 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year and reached 25,338 visitors.
In its quarterly economic bulletin for the first quarter of 2015, the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) noted that bednights had declined by three percent in Q1-2015 when compared with Q1-2014 “owing to the fall in average stay of tourists from 6.3 days in Q1-2014 to 6.0 in the review quarter.”
Total receipts from tourism also decreased by four percent in the first quarter while the occupancy rate of the industry to 79 percent from 84 percent in the first quarter of 2014.
“Looking at the arrival trends from major source markets, arrivals from key European markets increased moderately during the quarter, although this was partly offset by a significant decline in arrivals from Russia,” the central bank observed.
Meanwhile, in early June, President Abdulla Yameen launched the Visit Maldives Year 2016 campaign in a bid to increase tourist arrivals to 1.5 million in 2016.
The government plans to hold an underwater festival, an international surfing event, a tree-planting programme and photography exhibitions in the Maldives and global locations as part of the campaign.