Tourism ministry on Sunday revealed that the Chinese tourism market was experiencing a boom when the government imposed a travel ban on Chinese tourists over coronavirus fears.
According to figures from the tourism ministry, China topped the list of countries with the most number of tourist arrivals for January this year, with a total of 31,744 tourists, observing an increase of 23 percent from last year's recorded figure of 25,804 tourists.
In the wake of the novel respiratory coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, now named 'COVID-19', Maldivian authorities on February 3, announced a ban on travellers arriving from China and suspended all flights to and from China as a precautionary measure to combat the spread of the disease.
China maintained the highest number of tourist arrivals in Maldives from a single country in 2019. However, with the rapid progression of the COVID-19 and the ensuing travel restrictions on Chinese tourists, it is expected that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Maldives will decline this year.
However, despite booking cancellations, government authorities remain confident that the effects of the coronavirus will not disrupt the Maldives' tourism industry.
Italy and India followed China on the list of countries with the highest number of tourist arrivals in January 2020, with a figure of 20, 677 tourists and 13, 845 respectively. Italy observed an increase of 23.8 percent from the figure for the previous year.
According to ministry statistics, a total of 173,347 tourists arrivals were recorded for January 2020—a 14.4 percent increase from last year's figures.