Chinese market shows signs of recovery as UK, Italian arrivals plunge in April

Chinese tourist arrivals have shown signs of recovery with a 3.5 percent increase in April 2012 compared to the same period last year, after a massive 34.8 percent decline was recorded in February.

“The Chinese market performed well due to resuming of charter airlines with more frequency and flights from additional cities and strong demand for Maldives. Tour operators’ forecast phenomenal growth in June and July,” observed the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).

Figures released by the MMPRC show 10,523 Chinese arrivals during April, still making it the country’s largest market, but only narrowly eclipsing Germany’s 10,145 arrivals.

That 8.1 percent increase in German visitors places the country above the Maldives’ former mainstay market of the UK, which was badly affected by the 2008 economic recession. UK arrivals plunged 20 percent in April this year to 8,934 visitors, compared to 2011.

In its April report, the MMPRC speculated that the UK market would continue to shrink throughout 2012 on the back of a 14.3 percent drop in arrivals so far this year.

Italy, one of the Maldives’ first and traditionally strongest markets, recorded a huge 27 percent drop in arrivals during April compared to the same period  last year.

The MMPPC said the Italian market was not expected to perform well in 2012, due significantly to the bankruptcy of major tour operators in Italy.

“The strict fiscal policies of Italian government also discouraged long haul outbound tourism,” the MMPRC stated. “The whole of Southern Europe is not performing well due to the economic crisis. The region is going to be the most challenging region in terms of arrivals in 2012.”

The Russian market – a favourite at many resorts due to its proportionate affluence, insulation from the economic crisis in Europe and general disregard of political turmoil – grew 24.1 percent compared to April last year.

The MMPRC’s figures show declining occupancy at resorts across the country this year, as markets in the Maldives reshuffle and the country battles negative international publicity around the controversial change of power in February.

Occupancy was down 3 percent in February, 7.4 percent in March and 6.1 percent in April, compared to the corresponding months last year. Bed nights followed a similar pattern.

George Weinmann, CEO of Mega Maldives Airlines – the Maldives’ national carrier that currently flies long-haul services to major Chinese cities including Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing, said the market had recovered through April-May “and we’re now back up to where were – six flights a month to each destination, 12 to Beijing. But we were supposed to reach there two months ago – our first quarter was pitiful,” he told Minivan News.

Mega Maldives halted flights to Hong Kong in February, which were restored on April 4. Flights to Beijing and Shanghai continued non-stop, Weinmann stated.

Such was the anticipated demand that Mega Maldives had taken on a second aircraft and was looking to deploy a third before the end of the year, said Weinmann, adding that such high potential demand for the destination could see the airline conceivably expand to 10 aircraft.

“We’re aiming to add two a year,” he said, expanding the carrier’s reach to developing markets for the Maldives such as Eastern Europe, Australia, South Africa and South Korea.


8 thoughts on “Chinese market shows signs of recovery as UK, Italian arrivals plunge in April”

  1. The decline in the UK visitors has nothing to do with the economic situation. It has everything to do with the people of the UK being sick and fed up with being ripped off by the Maldivian resorts. Generally you are charging 5 star prices and giving a 3 star or less level of service. This coupled with the political instability and "religious" rantings makes the Maldives a poor choice for long haul holidays from the UK. Make no mistake we are still taking long haul holidays in other parts of the world.

  2. Willman,,you are right regards prices,,for one week in the Maldives,you can get 2weeks in Mexico/Sri-lanka/Greek islands etc.Plenty of sun/sea/sand etc elsewhere for less money..

  3. My wife and I were planning to travel to the Maldives in April for our 10th Anniversary. We started looking for deals on the internet for Maldives in January but page after page came up showing scenes of turmoil and religious sermons against Christians. We ended up traveling to St. Lucia but would love to see the Maldives some day.

  4. You guys can still come. No need to worry. the religious sermons are all politically motivated,no-one really believes in it. 🙂

  5. Sandelman, wait until the Maldives has given up Islam, it will be a wonderful place then.

  6. @Willman
    Thats your agenda, you people are facists at heart.You condemn others of being intolerant etc. but you cant accept anything outside of the wests moral standards, Guess what muslims are different, So are the chinese, So are russians, just accept that, we wont compromise our beliefs and ideas to a whole lot of facists like you

  7. Apply shaheems mew regulations to the Spas, beauty parlours, and barber shops. The restaurants and specially the Bars are beyond Adhaalaths reach. And lets hope that our occupancies improve.

  8. Shaheem has a new plan; a religious militia, a.k.a Mutaween in the style of Saudi Arabia and the former Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is going to be introduced in the Maldives, who will be answerable just to the Mullahs. Dangerous? You bet!

    The pretext for this is the closing down of massage parlours. If there's anything to be learned from human history, it's the simple fact that prostitution has been with humans for as long as the race has been on earth! The solution is educating and curbing the demand for them rather than driving them underground.

    I am also at a loss as to why the Islamic Ministry do not see the problem of youth drug addiction as a high priority. I've never heard a single preacher utter a word about tacking this malaise which represents a far bigger threat to society than anything else, apart from being wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels.

    The truth about the Maldives, as far as foreigners are concerned is that, there is increasing intolerance and hatred towards "infidels". Thousands of years of tolerant, welcoming and peaceful traditional Maldivian values are being trashed by fellas sporting long beards and short trousers, spouting religious fatwas, left right and centre. Most of these fellas have spent long stints in Pakistan or some part of the Middle East.

    If you want a tolerant, peaceful society respectful of humans, whatever their race, colour or religion is, look elsewhere!


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