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Healthcare remains top purpose of travel

But the proportion of Maldivians travelling for medical treatment is declining.



The proportion of Maldivians travelling abroad for medical treatment has steadily declined since 2015, according to an annual survey by the central bank on outbound travel patterns.

Healthcare remained the top purpose of overseas travel last year with 42 percent during the off-peak season in July and 41 percent during peak season in December, the 2018 survey found.

The figure was down from 58 percent in 2015.

During the peak season in 2018, 41 percent of people travelled for vacation, up from 29 percent in the off-peak season.

The proportion of outbound tourists was 27 percent in 2015.

India was the most popular destination both during peak (34 percent) and off-peak season (32 percent), followed closely by Sri Lanka with 29 percent during peak season and 31 percent during off-peak season. Thailand (13 percent), Malaysia (11 percent) and Singapore (one percent) made up the top five.

On average, Maldivians spent 10 days on holiday during the off-peak season and 12 days during the peak season. Holidaymakers spent US$1,065 per person during off-peak season and US$890 per person during peak season.

A trip for medical purposes on average lasted two weeks during peak season and 11 days during off-peak season. Without the cost of airfare, average expenses per person was US$878 during peak season and US$1,003 during off-peak season.

The average cost was up from US$683 per person in 2015.

Thousands of Maldivians are forced to travel overseas every year due to the unavailability of some forms of treatment in the country.

The annual survey was conducted at the Velana International Airport’s arrival hall and data was gathered from more than 6,000 respondents.