Tourism sector resilient during first half of 2018: MMA

Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) has revealed the tourism sector remained resilient during the first half of 2018, despite numerous challenges such as the risk of booking cancellations amid domestic political tension, and weakening growth prospects for some of the major tourist markets.

The strong progression of the sector reflected both the development of the Velana International Airport (VIA) which has enabled the MACL to secure new contracts with airlines, as well as the robust economic growth of key source markets which was further bolstered by the expansion of global air travel which has improved airline networks and flight connectivity to new destinations, according to economic review of MMA.

The number of scheduled flights into the country registered a 9% annual growth during the first quarter, which represented an increase of over 800 flights during the review period. The overall growth in tourist arrivals reached its highest since 2014, recording an annual growth of 10% during the first half of 2018. A total of 726,515 tourists arrived during the period, achieving almost half of the target of 1.5 million tourists for the year 2018.

Meanwhile, tourist bed nights posted a remarkable annual growth of 13% during the period exceeding the pace of tourist arrivals growth primarily due to the pickup in the average duration of tourist stay from 6.3 during quarter one of 2017 to 6.5 days during quarter one of 2018.