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Tourists arrivals up 17 percent in February

Some 168,583 tourists visited during the month.



Tourist arrivals increased 16.8 percent in February compared to the same period in 2018, reaching 168,583 visitors during the month.

Despite a downward trend since 2015, China remained the largest source market with 57,089 holidaymakers representing a market share of 17.8 percent, according to statistics released by the tourism ministry last week.

Reflecting steady growth in recent years, Indian tourists accounted for the third largest market share with 7.6 percent. The 24,217 arrivals from the neighbouring country represented a whopping 66.8 percent increase from the previous year.

Tourists from the traditional European markets accounted for 55 percent of arrivals.

Some 137 resorts, 151 safari vessels, 12 hotels, and 526 guesthouses on local islands were in operation during February with a total of 45,642 beds.

The occupancy rate was 76 percent with an average stay of 6.2 days.

Total arrivals by the end of February reached 320,135 tourists, an increase of 11.7 percent compared to the first two months of 2018.

However, revenue from the tourism sector goods and services tax during the January-February period declined to US$68 million from US$72 million last year.

T-GST accounts for more than 30 percent of tax revenue.

There were a record 1.4 million tourist arrivals in 2018. The new government is aiming for 1.5 million visitors this year, a target that was missed in previous years.

The annual tourism promotion budget has been increased threefold as pledged by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

The expansion of the country’s main international airport along with the opening of several new resorts is also expected to boost visitor numbers.

Some 20 new resorts are due to open this year, including the multi-resort Crossroads at the reclaimed Emboodhoo lagoon near the capital with several hotels, resorts and a yacht marina.

Earlier this month, Vice President Faisal Naseem led a Maldives delegation at the ITB Berlin fair in Germany, the world’s largest travel exhibition.

The delegation consisted of 270 representatives from 105 companies. The vice president along with Tourism Minister Ali Waheed briefed the press and conducted business meetings, according to the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation.

The Maldives was “showcased at a two-storey 405sqm stand representing the culture and beauty of the destination,” the MMPRC said in a statement.

Activities at the stand included cultural Eid festivities, dance items, and music by Equatic Vibe as well as a live food stand, lacquer work and other handicraft work. A ‘Maldivian Night’ was held at the Grand Hyatt Berlin on March 6.

With 117,532 arrivals, Germany was the second largest source market last year.