Maldives named World’s Leading Destination at WTA 2020

Photo: Open source

Male’, Maldives – Maldives has received the World’s Leading Destination award at the Grand Final of the World Travel Awards 2020, which was announced at a virtual event held on Saturday.

A first for the island nation, the award is the most distinguished award category of World Travel Awards, and Maldives won after competing with countries including Dubai, Malaysia, Spain, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka.

In a tweet celebrating the big win for the country, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih commended the work of the tourism industry and congratulated everyone involved.

Tourism Minister Dr. Abdullah Mausoom also highlighted the work of travel and tourism partners, employees of HPA, Ministry of Health, Immigration, MACL, as well as the local councils and the media for the role played in brining the prestigious award home.

World Travel Awards established in 1993, is the most prestigious honours program in the global travel and tourism industry recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of industry excellence. It serves to acknowledge, reward, and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry.

Maldives was also nominated for 40 categories at the Grand Final with 8 nominations in destinations category, 53 nominations for 30 categories in Hotels and Resorts and 3 nominations for 3 world categories competing against world class destinations, with several tourist establishments winning in these categories. These awards are:

  • World’s Leading New Resort 2020: Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa
  • World’s Leading Luxury Island Resort 2020: The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
  • World’s Leading Luxury Island Villas 2020: Baros Maldives
  • World’s Leading Honeymoon Resort 2020: JA Manafaru
  • World’s Leading Water Villa Resort 2020: Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa
  • World’s Leading Seaplane Operator 2020: Trans Maldivian Airway
  • World’s Leading Airport Resort 2020: Hulhule Island Hotel

The tourism industry of the Maldives suffered immensely as the Covid-19 pandemic took over the world, effectively shutting movement in and out of countries down for months. However, Maldives was quick to react, and reopen in just three months, and has since been named as a safe destination for tourists to travel.

According to the latest statistics, 62,501 tourists arrived in Maldives since 15th of July. These include the 1,752 tourists who arrived in July, the 7,628 tourists who arrived in August, along with the 9,538 arrivals in September, and the 21,515 arrivals in October, as well as the 22,119 arrivals during this month so far, adding this year’s total to 445,348 arrivals in total.

During the five months since opening borders, the most number of tourist arrivals have been from Russia, with 12,961 tourists, while UAE, America, UK, Spain, German, France, Brazil, Ukraine and Egypt have also contributed majortly to the country’s industry.

Currently fifteen airlines are operating to Maldives and an additional ten airlines have planned to start their operations before the end of this year.

Tourism Ministry has also established a tourism help desk at Velana International Airport’s arrival terminal. The purpose of this help desk is to provide information and assistance to the tourists who visit Maldives during this time. 

Ministry highlighted that through this counter, all information on Health Protection Agency (HPA) and Tourism Ministry’s rules and regulations set amid the Covid-19 would be available. In addition to this the counter would also facilitate in assisting tourists to solve any issues which might arise between them and resorts, guest houses and safaris. 

Ministry also stated that as the airport was the first entry point to the country which is heavily dependent on tourism, and that by having a help desk at the arrival terminal would allow tourists to solve any issues which might arise and give them a warm welcome to the country. According to the ministry, the help desk would also increase the safety of the tourists more than now.

The Desk will be open for flight operational hours and travelers and operators who need assistance may call +960 9423131 to get their assistance.

After the borders have opened, Tourism Ministry has been proactively doing various activities and taking measures to promote tourism in the country including promotional events and high safety standards in the tourism sector to prevent spreading of Covid-19 virus in the resorts and other tourist facilities. 

Maldives also got certified as a “Safe Travel” destination which is safe for tourists to travel to in September. This stamp is provided to countries which are the safest with regards to Covid-19.

Only a negative PCR test not exceeding 96 hours is necessary to enter Maldives, and travelers of every nationality are offered a free tourist visa of 30 days on arrival. Split stays among exclusive tourist resorts, guesthouses on local islands and safaris.