China has entered the top 10 source market list of the Maldives for the first time since 2020.
The first tourists to fly directly from China arrived in the Maldives on 18 January via Beijing Capital Airlines. This was the first group of Chinese tourists to arrive after a three-year hiatus. China grounded its international outbound aviation operations in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic and reopened earlier in 2023.
According to the Ministry of Tourism's statistics, a total of 2,354 tourists arrived from China within four days after the first direct flight arrived, which is 1.9 percent of the total tourist arrivals to the Maldives so far this year. The tourist market has already entered the top ten source market list and is currently ranked ninth, replacing Australia.
China had announced earlier that three of its airlines would resume direct flight operations to the Maldives, which included Beijing Capital, China Eastern, and Hong Kong Airlines.
Meanwhile, the Maldives Minister of Tourism, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, estimated a 10 percent increase in annual tourist arrivals once the Chinese market reopens; based on this, the government hopes to achieve its 1.8 million visitor target this year.
Before the pandemic, China was consistently among the top markets for the Maldives. The Ministry of Tourism reported a total of 284,029 annual arrivals from China in 2019, which was 16.7 percent of the total arrivals that year.
Russia is currently dominating with a total of 16,974 arrivals so far this year, which is 14.7 percent of the total arrivals. Italy is ranked second with 11,764 arrivals, which is 10.2 percent of the arrivals, while India is ranked third with 11,163 arrivals and is gaining momentum fast.
According to the ministry’s statistics Maldives welcomed 115,177 total tourists as of January 21.