Maldives 2019: A Brief Tourism Review
2019 has been astonishing for Maldivian tourism sector in many ways, with new resort openings, new arrival records and many more achievements. We witnessed top luxury hospitality brands setting foot in Maldivian islands, while already established brands opening new properties and boosting the already vast number of holiday venues in the island nation.
The year started with the opening LUX* North Male Atoll, an ultra-luxury penthouse paradise by the LUX* hotels group. This new resort features spacious two-storey penthouses all in white, featuring over roof decks- the penthouses, a new concept to the Maldives, far-fetched from the traditional Maldivian thatched roof villas and bungalows. LUX* North Male Atoll is the second resort opened in the Maldives by the brand. Other top brands to land in the Maldives this year includes, Riu Hotels, and Hardrock Hotels.
Maldives also witnessed a number of other luxury resorts, guest houses and liveaboards across the island nation.
List of resorts opened in 2019:
- LUX* North Male (North Male Atoll)
- The Nautilus Maldives (Baa Atoll)
- Faarufushi Maldives (Raa Atoll)
- Innahura Maldives (Lhaviyani Atoll)
- You & Me by Cocoon Maldives (Raa Atoll)
- Raffles Maldives Meradhoo (Gaafu Alifu Atoll)
- Hard Rock Hotel Maldives (North Male Atoll).
- InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau (Raa Atoll).
- The Residence Maldives at Dhigurah (Gaafu Alifu Atoll).
- Hotel Riu Atoll (Dhaalu Atoll).
- Hotel Riu Palace (Dhaalu Atoll).
- Waldorf Astoria Maldives (South Male Atoll).
- Rahaa Resorts (Laamu Atoll).
- JW Marriott Maldives (Shaviyani Atoll)
- Emerald Maldives (Raa Atoll).
- Baglioni Resort Maldives (Dhaalu Atoll).
- SAii Lagoon Maldives (North Male Atoll).
- VARU by Atmosphere (North Male Atoll).
- Pullman Maldives Maamutaa (Gaafu Alifu Atoll).
More than 1.5 Million Tourist Arrivals
At the end of 2018, Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation and Ministry of Tourist set a target of welcoming 1.5 million tourists throughout 2019. In late November the Maldives crashed the record of achieving the goal and hence the most tourist arrivals in a calendar year in the tourism history of the country.
Marina Kazakova from Russia was the 1.5 millionth tourist to arrive to the Maldives in this year and was welcomed by Tourism minister Ali Waheed and Thoyyib Mohamed, the Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).
Month-wise the Maldives achieved astonishing increases in arrival statistics compared to the same periods last year. Each month till October, Maldives witnessed 6% or more increase in number of tourist arrivals- in April a record 36.3% was achieved. An overall 16% increase was seen through this period compared to 2018.
Traditional European and Asian markets performed strongly in 2019, meanwhile new developing markets such as the American market showed great improvement. China was leading the ranking with the highest number of tourists and an 1.8% increase compared to 2018. India holds the second place with a 9.4% share of the total number of tourists. Traditional European markets hold the 3rd, 4th and 5th places as Germany, Italy and the UK respectively- each of the markets witnessed great increase in number of arrivals compared to 2018.
One of the most promising markets is the US market, 43,091 American tourists visited the Maldives throughout 2019 until the end of October. This was an astonishing 28.6% increase compared to the same period last year. According to the official statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism the United States shares 3.1% of the total number of tourists.
The Tourism Ministry and MMPRC in November said that they are targeting to welcome at least 02 Million tourists through next year.
2019 has been yet another successful year for the Maldives, with the country’s top resorts and the destination itself been nominated and winning a number of regional and global awards.
World Travel Awards 2019
Maldives was nominated to six different categories at the 26th Annual World Travel Awards and won a total of 7 awards. During the gala event held at Muscat, Oman the Maldives was crowned as the ‘World’s Leading Beach Destination 2019’.
The 07 awards won by the Maldives included;
- World Leading Airport Resort: Hulhule Island Hotel (HIH)
- World Leading Honeymoon Resort: JA Manafaru
- Leading Island Villa: W Maldives
- Leading Luxury Island Resort: St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
- Leading Island Hotel, Restaurant: Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Conrad Maldives Rangali Resort
- World Leading Water Villa Resort: Sun Aqua Vilureef
- World’s Most Romantic Resort: Baros Maldives
World Spa Awards 2019
Maldives won Indian Ocean’s Best Spa Destination at the 05th Annual Spa Awards 2019, at the Gala Ceremony held at the Armani Hotel Dubai, situated at Burj Khalifa on 21st October. The sister event of World Travel Awards, World Spa awards recognizes the top and the best spa destinations across the world and plays a key role in the new era of spa tourism. Maldives has been winning the title ever since the very first year of the Awards.
South Asian Travel Awards 2019
Maldives dominated the South Asian Travel Awards (SATA) 2019, by winning the most number of awards at the gala event. Held on 20th September at Galle Hotel, Sri Lanka the event witnessed the regions hospitality stakeholders under one roof.
Maldives won a total of 32 Awards in numerous categories including Leading Honeymoon and Beach Destination.
Crossroads Maldives – The First Integrated Tourist Destination In The Maldives
The megaproject CROSSROADS Maldives began in 2017 with high hopes of paving the Maldivian hospitality industry towards a new path. Developed and navigated by Thailand’s leading real estate developer, Singha Estate Public Company Limited, the mega project holds a mind-blowing value of approximately USD 131 Million. The destination will feature a vast total of 376 rooms, opening doors for over 1,000 jobs for the local islanders.
Built on one of the largest lagoons in the Maldives, Emboodhoo Lagoon- the property is just a 15-minute speedboat ride away from the Velana International Airport. The transfer from the airport to the one of a kind property is provided by Jalboot Maldives. As of now the Crossroads Maldives features two tourist properties, SAii Lagoon Maldives and Hardrock Hotel Maldives along with the Marina at Crossroads.
With Crossroads revolutionising the tourism landscape of the Maldives with a well-crafted selection of diverse experiences, the island nation will no longer be defined merely as a honeymoon destination for the newlyweds. Whether you are five, fifteen, forty or sixty-four, Crossroads is setting your and your families’ comforts and enjoyment as its top priority.
With the Maldives targeting for 2 Million Tourists in 2020, the Crossroads Maldives plays a vital role by providing travelers a destination with a mix of cultures, traditions and many more.
Manta Air Begins Operations
Local Airlines Manta Air started their operations earlier this year with promising a new era of aviation in the Maldives. Later in November, Manta Air added seaplanes into their fleet and expanded their operations. A purpose-built seaplane terminal at the Maldives’ main Velana International Airport was inaugurated.
In addition to the seaplane service, Manta Air utilises three brand new ATR 72-600 aircraft to operate domestic flights to Dhaalu Airport, located on the island of Kudahuvadhoo in Dhaalu atoll, and Dharavandhoo Airport, located on the island of Dharavandhoo in Baa atoll, from the Maldives’ main Velana International Airport. Manta Air’s venture into seaplane operations comes, as a new seaplane base at the main Velana International Airport nears completion.
Manta Air offers a wide range of fare categories depending on the date of booking, with very attractive super saver and saver fares for those seeking low priced tickets.
World Free Diving Record
Maldives celebrated the Tourism Day 2019 by breaking the previously set for the most people freediving simultaneously. The President of the Maldives and 520 others attempted and succeeded at breaking the record during a special event held off the lagoon of Baros Maldives. The participants stayed underwater for a period of 30 seconds.
Named as ‘Neyvaa’ the event was officially recognized by the Guinness and the certificate was handed over to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih during the Event.
With all the hotels across the country being busy with the festive celebrations and welcoming the new decade, Maldives looks back to a decade of immense development in tourism industry. A number of awards, mega projects, and new properties the Maldives are going strong into the new decade for a whole new era of Maldivian Hospitality!