Over 220,000 tourist arrivals recorded till date in 2021

An airport representative helping tourists at Velana International Airport | Photo: Nishan Ali

Malé, Maldives – The Maldives, with in just three months, has welcomed more than 220,000 tourists to the country during the year 2021.

According to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism of Maldives, a total of 220,840 visitors have arrived in the Maldives as of March 10, during 2021, with India topping the market having have contributed 52,192 arrivals so far.

While India leads, Russia comes in second with 47,680 arrivals, as countries such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Germany, Romania, France, Czech Republic, Switzerland and United Kingdom follow on the top ten arrivals list.

Being heavily reliant on the tourism industry with majority of its income coming from the sector either directly or indirectly, the Maldivian economy crashed hard and fast when the pandemic hit, suspending flights and closing off countries. However, Maldives has come a long way since then and has made a very successful recovery of the sector, adapting to a new normal way of life and tourism. 

While Maldives has welcomed 220,840 tourists in just 2021 alone, with numbers expected to increase on the daily as Covid-19 safety measures and vaccination continues to makes traveling safer again. Til date, more than 30 percent of the tourism front line workers have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccines, in the Maldives.

The figures comes after the government has revised tourism arrival projections from one million to 1.5 million in 2021 due to the island nation’s early Covid-19 vaccination programme. Tourism industry leaders and experts have also said that the industry will bounce back within this year.

One of the founders of the Maldivian tourism industry, Hussain Afeef (Champa Afeef) had said that Maldives tourism industry is expected to bounce back to pre-Covid-19 levels by the end of this year. 

Speaking at a press conference held by Tourism Ministry on March 10, 2021, Afeef told that he expects the tourism industry to bounce back as soon as the European borders are opened.  Afeef added that majority of the tourists coming to Maldives now was from Eastern Europe and that once more European countries open up their borders, the Maldivian tourism sector would flourish. 

He also told that once vaccination increases around the world that more countries would ease up on the restrictions on traveling and that this would hopefully help boost the Maldivian tourism in November and December which is considered as the peak season amid winter and new year holidays in western countries.

With tourist arrival numbers expected to increase as Covid-19 safety measures and vaccination continues to makes traveling safer again. Till date, 11,322 of the tourism front line workers have received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, in the Maldives.

Maldives will also be celebrating 2022, the 50th anniversary for Maldives tourism industry will be celebrated widely as the golden year of tourism, for which preparations have already begun.

As the demand increases, Maldives is also working on increasing the capacity available for tourists. Currently, there are a total of 45,233 beds available from 148 resorts, 385 hotels and guest houses, as well as 140 safari vessels. Currently, there are only few restrictions for visitors entering the country, with just the requirement to produce a negative PCR test administered 96 hours prior to departure.