DOHA – The Maldives Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB) is hoping to attract more visitors from Qatar and other GCC states. At present, GCC nationals to the picturesque islands account for a negligible portion of the country’s tourist inflow.
A presentation was held yesterday at the Movenpick Tower and Suites for city-based travel agents and tour operators to highlight the Maldives as a tourist destination. Among the advantages pointed out were that the islands are a mere four hours away from the region, the population has a high percentage of Muslims and there are no visa restrictions.
According to the Maldives’ Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahmood Shougee: “Over the past 30 years, tourism has played a vital role in the sustained development of the Maldives economy. Today, we enjoy high hotel occupancy levels and this is set to continue. The low season of June, July and August is relatively short and this coincides with the high season for outbound travel from the GCC.”
He added; “Our short-term strategy is to continue to encourage new business from the Gulf region by placing greater emphasis on the development of strong relationships with the region’s travel trade. We need to give them the tools to effectively sell the destination.”
Incidentally, Qatar Airways offers five flights a week out of Doha to the Maldives capital Male using Airbus A320 aircraft. However, right now the islands attract more resident expatriates living in the Gulf than GCC nationals.
MTPB deputy director responsible for the Middle East, Mohamed Adam, stated: “Our focus now is to ensure that the travel trade in the GCC understands the Maldives product and how to sell it effectively to both expatriates and GCC nationals resident in the Gulf region.”
Source: The Peninsula