Visit Maldives has launched a radio promotion with Al Khaleejiya for the Middle Eastern region as part of the ongoing Rediscover Maldives campaign.
The two-week campaign is intended to promote Maldives as a unique tourist destination and assure potential travelers from the Middle East the country remains safe amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, particularly considering the geographic dispersion of the islands which ensures social distancing.
Al Khaleejiya is one of the most popular radio channels in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with weekly reach of over 480,000, an exclusive audience of 379,000 as well as a weekend reach of 223,000 listeners. Visit Maldives noted that the campaign would have considerable reach, thereby increasing brand awareness and visibility.
Visit Maldives stated that marketing efforts for the Middle East were increased to boost tourist arrivals following the reopening of several key borders in the region. Thus far, promotion efforts targeted for the region include a joint campaign with DNATA Travel and promotions with Emirates Woman.
The Middle Eastern travel trade market was also one of the target areas under the Rediscover Maldives webinar campaign conducted by the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).
Airlines operating flights between Maldives and the Middle Eastern include Emirate Airlines, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and FlyDubai.
In 2019, a 15.1 percent increase was recorded for Middle Eastern tourists travelling to Maldives, with a record of 60,003 arrivals. Current figures show that UAE accounts for the third highest number of tourist arrivals since Maldives reopened its borders on July 15.
Visit Maldives has recently conducted major marketing activities such as a global campaign with CNN, integrated webinar sessions in China and the recent participation in World Travel Mart (WTM) Virtual 2020.
In 2021, Visit Maldives aims to spearhead the national effort to unite all tourism stakeholders in the attempt to boost arrival figures to pre-COVID rates.
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 the Ministry of Tourism show that only 37,468 tourists arrived in Maldives between July 15 and October 28.
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.