Visit Maldives has successfully concluded a series of webinar sessions in China between May 20 and October 16.
The series, consisting of 10 sessions, was intended to promote Maldives as a tourist destination among Chinese travelers and provide information to China travel trade partners.
More than 2370 travel agents from across China participated in the webinar series.
It's first five sessions consisted of extensive presentations on Maldives' tourism industry, with information regarding properties and airlines delivered in the Chinese Language. During the remainder of the sessions, partners from the Maldivian tourism industry introduced their properties to the travel agents. Overall, the webinars also focused on conveying safety guidelines currently in place while traveling to Maldives amid the pandemic.
Following each session, travel agents were given the opportunity to pose questions during an interactive question and answer session.
According to Visit Maldives, feedback collected from participants was mainly positive, with many Chinese tourists expressing interest in travelling to Maldives.
These webinar sessions were a key component of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) strategy to train travel trade in key tourist markets across the globe. Activities geared toward the Chinese market included digital campaigns on Weibo and WeChat, media interviews, outdoor campaigns in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, outdoor advertising at Beijing Capital Airport, the launching of a HTML Fishing Game on WeChat and participation in the Luxury Resort 2020 roadshow by Runtour.
Additionally, MMPRC is currently planning to conduct an online roadshow in China and launch a travel trade portal on WeChat, as well as carry out social media promotions and joint travel trade campaigns.
China remains the largest source market for Maldives' tourism industry, with a total of 284,372 Chinese tourist arrivals recorded in 2019. In January 2020, 31,744 holidaymakers from China visited Maldives, representing a 23 percent increase compared to the same period in 2019. It is projected that tourist arrivals from China will increase exponentially after the country reopens borders for international outbound travel.
Visit Maldives is also carrying out several marketing activities worldwide to ensure the continued popularity of Maldives as a tourist destination. These include global campaigns with SkyScanner and CNN, DNATA campaign in Middle East, outdoor campaigns in UK and South Korea, FVW German, campaigns with Travel Weekly in UK, campaign with WeddingSutra in India, campaign with OTA in France and an online campaign with Travelata, Sletat and Squiz in Russia.
Furthermore, MMPRC hosted the Rediscover Maldives Webinar Series, which consisted of four sessions that were targeted towards providing updated information about the destination to travel trade and media across the globe.
Maldives reopened its borders to international passengers on July 15, after nearly four months since the state halted issuing on-arrival visas on March 27. Guesthouses were permitted to resume operations and kick start local tourism on October 15.
Despite the lifting of restrictions, Maldives has noted a significant reduction in tourist arrivals compared to pre-COVID figures. While a total of 382,760 tourists were recorded before borders were closed in March, the latest figures by Maldives Immigration show that only 27,217 tourists arrived in Maldives in the three months following the lifting of travel restrictions.
However, the Minister of Tourism earlier expressed hopes for the industry's recovery, estimating that 100,000 tourists would visit Maldives before the end of 2020. The tourism ministry expects a total of 500,000 arrivals for the year.