The Maldives has broken its record for tourist arrivals, welcoming over 1.8 million visitors in 2023.
To mark the occasion, the 1.8 millionth arrival, Stefan Mathijs Hermans, a Dutch first-time visitor coming in on flight EK652 from Dubai, UAE for a holiday with his wife and two children, was greeted by a ceremony attended by a host of industry officials and representatives. In photographs of the event, he is seen wearing a pale blue and gold sash while standing on a red carpet, alongside his rather bemused-looking family.
At last year’s World Tourism Awards, The Maldives was awarded the prestigious title of World’s Leading Destination for the fourth year in a row, and received a Global Tourism Resilience Award for capacity-building towards a swift post-Covid recovery. MMPRC won the World’s Leading Tourist Board Award for the second year in a row.
The latest 1.8 billion figure and milestone will be seen as a further vindication of the high-visibility strategy pursued by the South Asian archipelago state this year. The Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives) ran 349 campaigns, including with the BBC, CNN and Qatar Airways. It claims to have reached over 6 billion eyeballs globally.
Known for their golden white sands, sapphire seas and luxurious beach resorts on stilts, it might be argued that marketing the 1000 islands that make up the 26 atolls of The Maldives must be the easiest job in the world.
However, with recent campaigns focusing largely on sustainable tourism experiences and an emphasis on authenticity, wellness, the history and culture of surfing and gastronomy, the strategists behind the drive certainly helped the Maldives pull in over a million visitors in just the first seven months of the year, an important step towards the latest milestone. It also probably helped that The Maldives was one of the earliest destinations to re-open after the pandemic, thanks to their “resort quarantine” approach and so has had a longer recovery time.
Breath-taking natural beauty
“We are immensely proud of this achievement and remain committed to reaching the targets set for our tourism industry for next year as well,” said CEO & MD of MMPRC, Fathmath Thaufeeq, who added, “Every visitor who arrives in the Maldives has their breath taken away by the natural beauty of our nation, the warm hospitality of our people, and the unmatched variety of places to stay and things to do. We are here to make sure that everyone everywhere in the world knows that their perfect holiday is waiting for them in the Sunny Side of Life.”