Liveaboard Association of Maldives (LAM) expressed worry late Tuesday over lack of preparations to promote the Maldives on the global market in the coming year while the government rushed to soothe concerns.
LAM’s statement was heralded by Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO)’s heavy criticism of the government on Monday over the insufficient budget and promotional activities planned for 2017. Seconding MATATO’s concerns over Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC)’s delay in opening applications for international tourism fairs scheduled over the next three months, LAM highlighted that key upcoming promotional events include the world’s largest dive and boat show to be held in Germany in January.
Amidst the increasing concerns raised by the tourism sector, Minister of Tourism Moosa Zameer asserted on Tuesday that the government is geared up to improve and better tourism promotion of the Maldives next year. According to the minister, the state will focus on four markets in particular with the currently receding Chinese market, the abruptly skyrocketing Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries, European markets such as France and neighbouring India.
Minister Zameer announced that the government has appointed consultants in these markets and commenced proceedings to promote the archipelago. He added that the Maldives will promote at total 14 trade fairs and exhibitions next year including four major fairs across the European continent.
Tourism in the Maldives had been in a slump mostly throughout this year, progressing at only 1.8 percent during the first half of 2016 according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as opposed to its average rate of 6 percent.
The Maldives government had also revised its estimate of 1.5 million tourists visiting the archipelago by the end of this year to 1.4 million, mainly due to the staggering recession of the Chinese market.
However, the Tourism Ministry and MMPRC had earlier declared that several activities have been planned to up the Maldives’ tourism sector and tourist arrivals next year. The promotional activities include taking part in a number of trade fairs, hosting an international tourism fair in the Maldives, and amending the nation’s tourism promotion policy to a data and researched based one.