The price is right for returning guests


THE Maldives Tourism Promotion Board will have 31 exhibiting partners with them on the stand at ATM, according to Mohamed Adam, deputy director, Maldives Tourism Promotion Board.

Included are 11 resorts or hotel companies such as Huvafen Fushi Maldives, One&Only Reethi Rah, Universal Resorts, AAA Resorts & Hotels, The Beach House Collection, Sun Hotels & Resorts, Adaaran Resorts, Bandos Island Resort & Spa, Shangri-La Villingili Resort & Spa and The Regent Maldives.
Adam said that the small Indian Ocean country received a total of 6,450 visitors from the Middle East region in 2007, of which the majority came from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait with 1,940 and 1,004 respectively.
“We are expecting a 4.2 per cent growth for 2008 and our projection is to receive 6,844 tourists from the Middle East this year,” said Adam.
The major source markets from the Middle East are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. The major markets to Maldives include United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and France.
Since 2006 more than 50 islands have been lease for development as tourist resorts and city hotels according to Adam. Many of those leased islands have initiated construction work and are expected to be in operation by late 2008 and early 2009. The opening of these resorts would bring in over 7,500 beds to the Maldives.
Generally perceived as an expensive and upscale destination, Adam said, “The Maldives have the highest percentage of return tourists and this is an indication that irrespective of how much they have to spend, they are fully satisfied with the holiday they have in Maldives.
As the “Maldives Experience” is worth what they pay, tourists are content with the pricing in Maldives. Particularly when they realise each resort island has to be self sustained, and the operational cost (electricity, water, etc) are very high.”
He believed that Jazeera Airways’s launch was very good news for the region, and that the board will need to work closely with the resorts to offer last minute accommodation to the GCC market, as this is traditionally a late booking market.