Minister of Tourism Dr. Abdulla Mausoom has stated the government's tourism target will increase by 10% in 2023 with the resumption of tourist arrivals from China to the Maldives. He made these remarks while speaking at the welcoming ceremony of the first Chinese flight to Maldives since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.
China was the top source market for tourist arrivals in the Maldives before the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the Ministry of Tourism, 284,029 tourists arrived in the Maldives from China in 2019. However, tourists from China have not visited the Maldives in the past three years due to the country's travel measures.
China's first flight with 198 tourists arrived following the easing of measures to control the spread of COVID-19. The tourists arrived on Beijing Capital Airlines. The tourists were warmly welcomed by the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) and the tourism ministry.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Mausoom said the resumption of tourist arrivals from the top source market after three years is a great boost to the tourism and the economy of the Maldives. He said that Maldivian products are very popular and friendly with Chinese tourists. He, therefore, said that China will be among the top five markets in the country in 2023.
Additionally, Minister Mausoom said the government was discussing including tourist arrivals from China when formulating the target of tourist arrival for 2023. He, however, noted that the target will change as China starts flights to the Maldives earlier than planned. As such, he said that the government's target of attracting 1.8 million tourists this year will be increased by 10%.
The tourist arrivals target set for 2022 was also reached in December, as the Maldives welcomed 1.6 million visitors two weeks ahead of the end of the year. In addition, the Maldives secured the title of the World’s Leading Destination for the third year in a row in 2022 at World Travel Awards (WTA).