With additional reporting by Daniel Bosley
The Maldives Visitor Survey 2014 has revealed that 98 percent of tourists would recommend the Maldives as a holiday destination to others.
The survey was conducted by the Ministry of Tourism and other industry stakeholders from March 18 to April 5, the results of which were released yesterday (April 14) at the Nasandhura Palace Hotel.
Results of the survey showed that a significant percent (31%) of tourists to the Maldives are repeat visitors. The majority of the tourists visit the Maldives with either a partner (55%) or with family (28%).
A separate survey earlier in the year, conducted by online reservations group Agoda, revealed the Maldives to be regarded as the ideal honeymoon destination by those surveyed.
Of the significant nationalities represented in this month’s survey, more Japanese and Indian visitors were on their honeymoon than any other group, with the rest citing rest and relaxation as their main reason for visiting.
The prominent role the internet plays in the industry – as the media for source of information and travel booking – was further revealed in the recent survey, as 25 percent of the respondents said they learnt about the Maldives via the internet and 53 percent said they booked their holiday online.
The Maldives’ natural environment which includes underwater, beach and the weather were the main (52%) motivators for visits to the Maldives.
More Japanese and Chinese visitors cited the country’s reputation as the reason for their visit than any other national group, while Russian and Indian respondents were the most interested in the privacy provided.
85 percent of those surveyed stayed in one of the country’s 105 single island resorts, which still dwarf the size of the safari boat (numbering 160) and the, quickly growing, guest house sectors (79).
The visitor survey was conducted at the departure terminal of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport from 18th February to 5th March 2014. Questionnaires were prepared in 7 languages, with a sample size of 1,800.
45 percent of respondents reported travelling by speedboat to their resort, with 80 percent reaching their destination within an hour – figures which highlight the concentration of resorts in the central atolls, a situation the government has been urged to amend in favour of development in the out atolls.
Continued growth in the tourism industry was revealed by authorities in February, with tourist arrivals growing by 17 percent between 2012 and 2013 – surpassing one million visitors for the first time.
Statistics from the Tourism Ministry show that 331,719 Chinese tourists visited the Maldives last year, which was a 44.5 percent increase from the previous year.
Chinese tourists accounted for 29.5 percent of all tourist arrivals in 2013, with the industry’s contribution to national GDP estimated to be as high as 80 percent.
The current government hopes to expand bed capacity in order to achieve the current Tourism Masterplan’s projection of 1.75 million arrivals by 2021.