Maldives enjoys partner spotlight
The Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean and an exotic sun and sand tourism destination, is this year’s partner country of ITB Berlin.Every year the stunning beaches and breathtaking coral reefs of the Maldives fascinate hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world. Tourism is the island nation’s most successful industry, the biggest source of foreign currency and employs thousands of people.Tourism highlights in the country include island hopping, marine wildlife, beaches, outstanding wellness facilities and sunset cruises.Maldives is also marking 2016 as the Visit Maldives Year and ITB Berlin is a great opportunity for trade visitors and the general public to learn all about the tourism developments taking place in the Indian Ocean destination, say officials.The main objective of Visit Maldives Year 2016, a year-long campaign, is to position the Maldives as an exclusive tourist destination by showcasing the islands’ diversified tourism product and therefore reach the goal of significantly increasing global visitor arrivals.'During the one-year marketing partnership we want to attract 1.9 million visitors to the Maldives, which represents an increase of some 8 per cent,' says Mohamed Khaleel, chairman of the Maldives Marketing & PR Cooperation (MMPRC). The aim is to attract these new tourists predominantly from the mid-market segment in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. The introduction of a new, direct link from Frankfurt is expected to give a further boost to tourism. 'Currently, when flying to our country, 90 per cent of our guests have to make a stop-over in the Middle East,' says Hussain Afeef of the Maldives Association of the Tourism Industry. Trade visitors and the general public visiting the Maldives stand can find out about the many products and services of the destination which attracts visitors 365 days a year.Mohamed Adam, deputy managing director of Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation, says: 'This year, we have a number of new and exciting developments taking place in the Maldives including the Visit Maldives Year 2016 campaign.'ITB Berlin offers the ideal platform to present our tourism product to the international market. For example, we have a number of events and activities planned throughout ITB that will showcase the destination’s unique selling points and the measures we are taking to conserve the natural environment, with projects such as the Tourism Adaptation Programme.'The Maldives will kick-start ITB 2016 at the CityCube Berlin on the exhibition grounds, with an opening ceremony on the eve of the trade show, highlighting the country’s cultural and historical wealth with Maldivian Boduberu dances and a fusion of traditional cuisine.The island nation occupies a larger display area of 583 sq m in Hall 5.2, Stand 109 will provide a Maldivian setting to visitors with a perfect backdrop to have their photos taken in Maldivian costumes, admire the art of calligraphy sand and palm leaves art, taste Maldivian delicacies from fried yam and breadfruit to sweet coconut balls or win a trip for two to the Maldives.Visit Maldives will bring a taste of the country’s spa and wellness offering with a ‘Spa Experience’ shoulder and back massage by Sun Siyam Iru Fushi at the Spa Corner of the Maldives stand.