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Maldives… the sun will shine again

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The Maldives is a nation of islands in the Indian Ocean, that spans across the equator. The country is comprised of 1192 islands that stretch along a length of 871 kilometers. While the country covers an area of approximately 90,000 square kilometers, only 298 square kilometers of that is dry land. The islands are grouped into a double chain of 26 atolls.

TBME speaks to Mr. Thoyyib Mohamed – Managing Director of MMPRC to get an insight of these 1192 islands and strategic plans to open up to tourism now the the worst is behind us.

Keeping in mind the slogan, “Maldives, the sun will shine again” how do you feel the last few months have been?
TM: It is a tough time for the industry with the closing down of most tourist establishments due to the lockdown restrictions imposed. But I am proud to say that we are coming back stronger than ever to welcome back tourists again.

Describe briefly the FB Live campaign?
TM: The campaign is meant to convey hope and show the world that we are on the road to recovery as the borders are being planned to open soon. We have received a number of well-wishes from influencers, KOLs and celebrities from all over the world alongside our tourism stakeholders.

How has 2019 been for Maldives from the Middle East ?
TM: We were seeing great numbers from the Middle East with 60,003 tourist arrivals in 2019. This was a 15.1% increase when compared to 2018. We had expectations that the arrivals will continue to rise this year with our participation in ATM 2019 and other campaigns with Al Mosafer and Etihad during the last quarter of 2019. In January 2020, Saudi Arabia was actually among our top 10 markets before the borders were closed. Participation in Bride Dubai 2020, taxi and mall branding in Dubai along with a special edition on Maldives in Vogue Arabia were among the successful marketing activities this year.

How has COVID 19 affected Maldives?
TM: It has led to the temporary closure of many businesses aside from the tourism industry and restriction of inter-island travel due to the measures imposed. But I believe that this has greatly helped to alleviate the spread.

What does the future have in store for tourism
TM: We are planning to reopen our borders for visitors in July 2020 and we are expecting to have tourism commence soon afterwards.

What are basic sanitizing processes being maintained in the country?
TM: Safety and hygiene measures are being carried out according to WHO guidelines and the local Health Protection Agency in all establishments throughout the entire country.

What opportunities do you foresee for tourism in your region?
TM: Our unique geography and the one-island-one-resort concept is amongst our biggest advantages in combating this pandemic.

How competitive will the pricing for tourists be?
TM: There will not be any additional fees for tourists after the borders reopen.

What industries verticals / sectors broadly will you be targeting?
TM: We will be targeting the specific segments of our main source markets and have been working on increasing our digital presence to reach a wider audience during this period.

In an overview and as the campaign speaks, the sun will shine again. As per IATA, most travelers will commence their travel plans post the crisis, market to defy all odds and make tourism their priority in the days to come.