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Maldives hits new low in Chinese tourism market

Shahudha Mohamed
27 February 2019, MVT 12:58
Tourists in the capital city of Male'. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/ MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
27 February 2019, MVT 12:58

China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) revealed on Tuesday that only 61,000 tourists visited Maldives in the last quarter of 2018, making it the lowest arrival results in the last five years.

A press release by COTRI disclosed that Chinese tourists travelling to Maldives on holiday showed a continuous and steady annual decrease of 13 percent in the last quarter of 2018.

According to the press release, the most glaring reason for the loss of Chinese tourists was that Maldives offers only one product, which is beach resort holidays. COTRI further revealed that Maldives' new government policy is perceived as being less “China friendly”, and it is very likely that China will use its Soft Power approach to tourism against Maldives, which will cost Maldives even more Chinese guests.

“Chinese are still travelling abroad in growing numbers, but the lower end of the market has become a little bit more cautious choosing rather destinations close by, including Hong Kong and Macau”, Director of COTRI Dr Wolfgang Georg Arlt stated. He further noted that simplified visa regulations, increased number of direct air connections and new road and rail links between these countries support the new travel pattern.

Noting that the upper end of the market is looking for more authentic experiences in new destinations, Dr Wolfgang Goeg Arlt said that, “Long-distance destinations will have to increase their efforts to attract Chinese visitors”.

Additionally, statistical information revealed by COTRI Analytics shows that in the last quarter of 2018, Maldives was among the destinations with the highest increase of male Chinese arrivals, and one of the highest decreases in arrivals from smaller Chinese cities.

While the number of border crossings from China increased in the last quarter of 2018 by seven percent, this growth only benefitted the destinations of “Greater China”, while Chinese visitors to other parts of the world decreased compared to the year before.

China Outbound Tourism Research Institute is a leading independent research organization in the field of Chinese outbound tourism.

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