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Maldives welcomes first tourist of 2021

2 January 2021 - The Edition

Maldives welcomed its first tourist for 2021 at Velana International Airport (VIA) on Friday.

Officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), Maldives Immigration and Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) greeted German national Jochen Paul Karch following his arrival via Qatar Airways.

Controller General of Immigration Mohamed Ahmed Hussain granted the tourist Maldives Border Miles loyalty card, marking the commencement of the program.

The Maldives Border Miles loyalty program enables registered visitors to earn points by travelling to Maldives from January 1, 2021 onwards. Following registration, points are allocated to tourists under a criteria which includes the duration of their stay, frequency of travel, visits to celebrate special occasions and visits on Maldivian celebrations. These points subsequently entitle tourists to benefits and rewards with each border crossing.

Additionally, Managing Director of Visit Maldives Thoyyib Mohamed gifted the first tourist of 2021 a holiday voucher for a seven-night stay at a double room on full board basis at Sun Island Resort and Spa. The Ministry of Tourism and MACL also presented him with special gifts.

"We are extremely pleased to greet the first visitor of 2021. After a hectic year, we are thrilled to have entered this stage where we are welcoming the first of many visitors. We want to ensure everyone that we will work hard to promote and market the destination and reach our targets for the year. Thank you everyone and we wish you a very Happy New Year!" stated Visit Maldives Managing Director Thoyyib Mohamed.

Despite the challenges faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Visit Maldives highlighted its sustained effort to promote Maldives as a safe tourist destination, alongside the government and industry stakeholders.

Having bagged multiple international awards through the year, including the prestigious World's Leading Destination award at the World Travel Awards 2020, the island nation is ending the year with 4,982 operational beds in 254 guesthouses and 39 islands across 12 atolls.

Maldives reopened its borders to international passengers in July after nearly four months since the state halted issuing on-arrival visas on March 27. Guesthouses were permitted to resume operations and kick start local tourism on October 15.

On December 12, Maldives recorded the arrival of the 100,000th tourist following the removal of travel restrictions. Five days after the milestone was reached, the government welcomed the 500,000th tourist for the year 2020.

Overall, more than 550,000 tourists had visitied Maldives by the end of 2020.

Although Maldives has noted a significant reduction in tourist arrivals compared to pre-COVID figures, there has been a gradual increase with the establishment of travel bubbles between Maldives and other countries, as well as greater connectivity in terms of flight operations.

Visit Maldives assured that promotion efforts would continue in 2021, with several marketing activities lined up in order to increase tourist arrivals to pre-pandemic levels.

Furthermore, Visit Maldives revealed plans to reorient the perception of Maldives solely as a luxury and honeymoon destination and capitalise on the international recognition received during 2020. Particular emphasis will be placed on developing and promoting local tourism as well as the culture and heritage of Maldives.

The government aims to attract a total of 1.2 million tourists to Maldives in 2021, compared to the country's record of 1.7 million in 2019. Minister of Tourism Abdulla Mausoom had expressed his belief that the upcoming year would be a triumphant one for the island nation's tourism sector.

Source: The Edition


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