MATI criticises plunge in tourism marketing budget

The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) has called for the government to reconsider its budget for tourism marketing in 2013, warning that the country faces increasingly tough competition from neighbouring countries.

The Maldives has budgeted MVR15.5 million (US$1 million) for tourism marketing in 2013, MVR 63 million (US$4 million) less than 2012, MATI noted.

“This is the least amount allocated for marketing in the last eight years,” observed the statement, signed by the industry body’s Chairman, tourism pioneer Mohamed Umar Manik.

MATI noted that Mauritius has allocated 10 million euros (US$13 million) for tourism marketing, while the Indian and Sri Lankan industries were rapidly improving, and questioned the Maldivian government’s regard for the industry and the people working in it.

“Unlike neighboring countries the economy of the Maldives is mostly based on tourism,” the statement observed.

President’s Office Spokesperson Masood Imad blamed parliament for “deliberately cutting the budget for political motives”.

“They failed to keep the best interest of the nation and people in mind. The toll of these budget cuts will be felt by the people. The Majlis acted very irresponsibly,” he said.

Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC) head Mohamed Maleeh Jamal said the country’s destination marketing effort “can’t be compromised.”

“In order to showcase the tourism offerings of the Maldives to the world and maintain our competitive edge we need around US$13 million,” he said.

“Destination marketing activity is an investment, it’s not recurrent expenditure as some may think. The return on the investment is in the form of better image, investor confidence, higher occupancy, high yield tourists, longer duration of stay and importantly higher revenue to the government. I hope parliamentarians who slashed destination marketing budget be more responsible in their actions,” Maleeh said.

Tourism promotion efforts last year included a US$250,000 (MVR 3.8 million) advertising deal to promote the country’s tourism industry on the BBC through sponsorship of its weather service, as well as a signing £93,000 per month (US$150,000) contract with public relations group Ruder Finn to try and improve the country’s image following February’s controversial transfer of power.

Despite the increased expenditure, tourism growth slowed to just 0.7 percent in 2012, compared to 15.8 percent in 2010 and 9.1 percent in 2011.

The government’s forecast for economic growth in 2013 is 4.3 percent.


14 thoughts on “MATI criticises plunge in tourism marketing budget”

  1. Its would be nice if MATI also criticizes corruption and argues for better Governance.

    Surprisingly MATI finds a voice when it comes matters of its own self interest, rather than the nation.

  2. No! We need to spend all the money on strengthening the Army and Police. Afterall, we are now back at war, we our own democracy and people.

  3. I live in the UK and watch the BBC all the time. I did not see on advertisement or sponsorship for the Maldives? Are you sure you were on he TV??

  4. people who are supposed to talk about corruption does not talk about it. MATI is the tourism association. Not anti corruption or any other association which is formed to protect democracy. For instance, I did not see a single association formed for democracy voicing out against conior making the public aware of how coni was formed and how Corfu Tyne urges were

  5. Masood and MATI can thanks the coup leaders and their attitude towards FDI, which has given Maldives so much negative publicity the last year, that no amount of spending on marketing will alter the image of Maldives now. Rather than wasting money on trying to paint a rosy picture, why not avoid negative publicity in the first place.

  6. What marketing has tourism and its associated bodies done in the past except officials travelling round the world having a good time, and shopping?

    Until the major tourism players (Universal, Champa, Villa, Sunland, Crown Co, Suntravel) work together and come up with a combined marketing strategy, NOTHING will improve. To make things worse, these companies are the ones engaged in dirty politics, corruption, and bribery.

    In the 1990s Maldivian Travel Agent offices based in Male, marketed the Maldives and sold rooms and the resorts never had any issues. Today, they are all wiped out. Resorts have their own travel offices, and deal directly with international travel companies....poor Maldivian companies had to close and hardly 10 remain. GREED from these resort companies, and lack of SUPPORT from the government and no LAWS to protect the local entrepreneurs.

    The best marketing we have succeeded is advertising Maldives as 'human trafficking country', a factory of pedophile country', an extremist Islamic country that wants sheria law like terrorists in Mali' and a country that doesn't keep it word with investors.

    Chinese market will soon dry up leaving us with nothing. Why should Europeans come to Maldives yet they can get the best diving, food, service, options of travel in Sri Lanka? I just came from North East where the white sand is powder, the corals the reefs and the diving is just superb, alcohol is like free and no religious issues just for US$150 per guest per day.

    In Maldives, you stay on half a square km on an island that it takes you 5 minutes to walk around, offers nothing exciting, staff caged like prisoners and pay over US$500 per person per day!

    What a joke!!!!!!!only Kuredhu (NOT champa) makes money and maybe advertise the Maldives well enough.

  7. Major error on the statement in this artical. The BBC does not allow advertising, it is funded by the licence fee payer therefore is prevented from taking sponsership under the UK communications act.

    If you wish to advertise via TV media in the UK it must be via indenpendant stations.

    I would look closely at where the money spent on this was actually spent. Just like John Smith i have never seen any tourism adverts about the Maldives on UK TV. Plenty for India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, but not for Maldives.

  8. Sunny side of life is outdated and inappropriate. When China put the breaks on, then what??

  9. If marketing and promotion is stopped ? Then I wonder from where the income can come ?

    I doubt fishing is going to bring and service the budget ?

    In 90s, fishing industry contributes more than tourism industry to our GDP but today fishing industry is almost negligible.

    yes, the government should enact laws and regulations to empower local travel agents and resorts operators to support local travel agents . Most of the countries , hotels can not sell direct to foreign operators and they need to buy through local companies.

    This must be done in order to enhance and improve our tourism industry.

    But budget of 1 million is not enough and political parties are getting over 300 million rufiyaa from our money for doing what ?

    These political parties does not bring any income to the country and instead they are wasting the public funds.

  10. We came here because our travel agent said we should go... We NEVER saw an advertisement for the Maldives on the BBC stations.... not one?

  11. I went maldives on my honeymoon because I saw nice advertisement on Condenast Travel Magazine and then i did my recharge on the country.

    I was so impressed on the collateral that i found on Maldives when compared with Seychelles . Those information available made me to choose Maldives.

  12. A slight error in the article: the advertising agreement was signed with BBC World which is broadcast on satellite across the world and carries advertising.

    Viewers in the UK would not see it (they get regular BBC) unless they're watching BBC World on satellite.

    The Maldives sponsored the weather report which is broadcast every hour I think.

  13. expat:

    Yes i watch BBC World, but still never seen any thing relating to the Maldives on the weather.

    If you want to target UK tourists you use the mainstream channels, because BBC World is usually watched by expats living overseas, which is a smaller percentage of what could be achieved. I've lived in 6 middle east and asian countries and could only get BBC World in 2 of those so the money was wasted.


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