Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), on Monday, concluded the “Rediscover Maldives Webinar Series”, with a final session targeted towards markets in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Intended to strengthen Maldives market presence in the global tourism industry and attract more tourists as well as reconnect with the travel trade and media of specific markets across the world, the webinar series was divided into four sessions, held in the format of informative discussions and video clips, that were held across the first two weeks of September 2020.
The webinar's panelists included Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Aishath Samiya and Deputy Minister of Tourism Asad Riza. Participants from MMPRC and PR representatives from respective markets and industry partners joined the discussion concerning the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery strategies to adapt to the situation and efforts to rebuild confidence in the destination as a safe haven for tourists.
"A Dozen Must Do Experiences in the Maldives" was also virtually launched during these webinars. Experiences were showcased by select industry partners; Bandos Maldives, The Nautilus, LUX* Hotels and Resorts, Six Senses Laamu, Gili Lankanfushi, Villa Hotels and Resorts, Secret Paradise, Waldorf Astoria, UI Hotels, Grand Park Kodhipparu, Adaaran and Conrad Maldives.
With over 900 participants, the Rediscover Maldives Webinar Series was described as a successful effort in creating awareness on the changing norms of travelling, while assuring the safety of tourists from all over the world.
According to MMPRC Managing Director Thoyyib Mohammed, the corporation was currently working with representatives from various markets to initiate more marketing schemes in order to assure prospective tourists of Maldives' position as one of the safest holiday destinations amid the prevailing circumstances.
MMPRC has asserted that the geographical distribution of Maldives' islands, combined with the one-island-one-resort concept, guaranteed a unique level of security for holidaymakers.
Amid the currently ‘volatile’ market conditions, MMPRC has joined and conducted several marketing campaigns including the Facebook Live Event "Maldives, The Sun Will Shine Again", the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)'s online event “Dream to Travel Festival”, webinar sessions targeted towards Chinese and Indian markets, an online campaign with Kayak and a global advertising campaign with CNN.
MMPRC plans to continue carrying out marketing campaigns via digital platforms, focusing on the assurance of tourists' safety 'while experiencing the sunny side of life'.
Maldives reopened its borders to international passengers on July 15, nearly four months after the state halted issuing on-arrival visas on March 27.
Despite the lifting of restrictions, Maldives has noted a significant reduction in tourist arrivals compared to pre-COVID figures, with arrivals for July 2020 representing only 1.3 percent of those recorded in 2019.
According to the tourism ministry's latest projections, approximately 100,000 tourists will arrive in Maldives during the remaining months of 2020.
The restrictions on international travel significantly impacted Maldives' heavily tourism reliant economy. In mid-April, the World Bank projected that Maldives would be the worst-hit economy in the South Asian region due to the pandemic.
Overall, Maldives estimates a shortfall of approximately USD 450 million (MVR 6.9 billion) in foreign currency and a state deficit of MVR 13 billion in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the tourism industry.