The importance of souvenirs in the travel and tourism industry cannot be denied and argued against. We all know how important it is for us to buy something remarkable, unique and distinct that signifies the places we visit, when we are traveling back to our homes.
But why are souvenirs an important component in the travel industry, and how does it become a crucial aspect in the context of Maldivian tourism?
Simple, the distinct arts and craft heavy products designed or created by local artists, painters and sculptors are what the tourists are taking back to their local countries. Think of it this way, by purchasing souvenirs that signify the Maldivian culture and heritage, the guests are taking a beautiful slice of the island nation's cultures back home.
Moreover, souvenirs hold important and sentimental values for the ones who purchase them since they will reminisce the time they visited a specific destination for their vacation. This sense of yearning will eventually drive them to visit the same location for a second time, and then a third, and then a fourth and then so on.
When it comes to Maldives, we have a seemingly strong ground in souvenir trade – because of the rich and artistic culture we have been blessed with, our local talents are creative in their choices towards making significant souvenir pieces such as wooden carvings resembling the iconic traditional local sea vessel – more commonly known as 'Dhoni'. Or perhaps, beautiful paintings resembling a picturesque Maldivian sunset with a set of palm tree silhouettes overlooking the ocean vista, or even wooden potteries with lacquer carvings.
Our souvenirs are not just limited to the craft pieces designed by our talented crafts men and women but also the traditional garbs that are put on sale through various souvenir outlets are among the most notable products that attract tourist interests.
Maldives has been booming in the tourism industry for nearly 50 years and the country is richly famous across the globe for its beautiful and luxurious tourist destinations that are second to none while these islands come with beautiful white and sandy beaches and turquoise lagoons that are unparalleled elsewhere.
So, it is obvious that the enthralled visitors coming to the island nation on vacation would love any opportunity they get to take a 'piece' of this pristine country back home with them – and what better way than taking home souvenirs that accentuate the qualities of Maldives in one way or another.
Several local islands where guesthouse tourism is booming, offer shopping opportunities in various souvenir shops. Even in the country's capital, there are a few souvenir shopping options available. However, the significance of souvenirs in the Maldivian tourism appear to be waning off as these shops are no longer marketed suggestively.
Perhaps it is time for all the tourism industry stakeholders to identify the importance of souvenirs in the Maldivian tourism industry and promote this aspect once more, and this time by infusing more local talent in the industry and providing them with ample opportunities to sell their work. The guests get to take with them mementos while those involved in creating them receive financial rewards or recognition for their diligent work – a win-win.