Maldives “too expensive” say tourists

With most of the tourists ranking Maldives as an expensive holiday destination in a 2011 survey, the industry is reminded of the longstanding need to explore means to change that perception, as it faces new challenges in sustaining the growing China market while European arrivals drop.

The “Maldives Visitor Survey 2011” compiled by the private consulting firm Commerce, Development and Environment (CDE) in collaboration with Tourism Ministry, depicts the tourist’s perspective on industry related products and services, reason for visiting and expenditure.

Nearly 3000 tourists who arrived in Maldives in April 2011 were given questionnaires, which were collected for analysis before their departure.

Too expensive

According to the report released today, 46 percent of the tourists believed accommodation is too expensive despite the high rankings for services at the place of stay.

Soft drinks, alcohol were also rated expensive by 42 percent, while food, water and souvenirs received a similar ranking from 41 percent of tourists polled.

Transport by sea and air, including sports activities, meanwhile made it to the top three on the “value for money” category.

The report indicates that 53 percent of the tourists spent a minimum of US$1000 during their stay in Maldives, while the expenditure trends show an increase.

However, speaking at the launching ceremony, tourism tycoon “Champa” Hussain Afeef demanded more accurate figures on expenditure, with comparisons to rival small island tourism destinations.

He also contended that the Maldives is “not an expensive country”, and that this was a mere “perception”.

“We have very top end hotels to come to” he said, which offers high quality products targeted to the tourists arriving from the traditional European market.

He insisted that resorts still offer beds at US$250 rate and prices have not increased since the commencement of Tourism Goods and Services Tax (TGST).

Tourism Minister Mariyam Zulfa agreed with Afeef.

“The current perception is coming about from the availability of current high end products,” adding that the prices cannot be lowered.

The government was moving towards boosting mid-market tourism, Zulfa observed. “This will provide more value for money, comfortable accommodation affordable to more people who want to visit Maldives,” she said.

Adapting to the Chinese market

The need to adapting to the Chinese market, which is dominating 15 percent of arrivals and plugging the gaps left by a decline in traditional European market, was highlighted by the survey team and the government.

Special Envoy Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, who launched the survey report today, reiterated that China is the dominating market and “products need to be changed to adapt to China market”.

“Otherwise we will not be able to sustain the market,” he said.

However, some resort operators inclined towards relying on the traditional European market.

“We need to find a strategy to maintain our traditional original market,” Sun Travel and Tours Chairman and MP Ahmed Siyam said, raising concerns over the long term dependence on Chinese market.

“We noticed arrivals from Taiwan increased in 2002. But after five years it dropped. And now we don’t see a single Taiwanese tourist here,” he claimed. “We must ask why Chinese are coming to Maldives. They don’t like the sun. They don’t like the beach or the diving.”

Negative publicity

The survey team observed that the Maldives is chosen as a destination mostly based on material published on internet, or from word of mouth. Therefore, it is critical to safeguard the reputation as a holiday destination, report recommends.

Shiyam meanwhile pointed out that the industry is threatened by increasing “negative publicity”, which has reportedly mounted due to the mass religious protest on December 23, 2011, and the short-lived nationwide spa ban imposed following protesters’ calls to close down the spas and massage parlors claiming that they doubled as brothels.

Shiyam claimed that the spa was one of the most enjoyed activities and their closure would create serious concerns. “We need to isolate tourism from politics to ensure sustainable tourism growth,” he asserted.

According to the report, snorkelling was enjoyed by 41 percent of tourists while diving and spa treatments received the same ranking from 17 percent tourists.

It also stated that one in four visitors return to the Maldives.

The main attractions include the Maldives natural environment, sun and peacefulness. Over half of the tourists rated the Maldives natural environment, quality of products, security and hospitality better than other similar destinations such as Seychelles, Mauritius, Thailand, Indonesia and Fiji.

However, the tourists were looking for improvement in cafes, restaurants, visits to capital Male and shopping, and fewer transfer delays.


31 thoughts on “Maldives “too expensive” say tourists”

  1. You ask a tourist if Maldives is too expensive and they'll say "yes," but if you ask them if they'll come again - they will still say "YES!"

    Maldives is an exclusive tourist destination. Even if we start catering to mid-level tourism, that image will be maintained, and it is not a bad thing!

    As for adapting to the Chinese market, yes we do. But part of that adaptation is to make accommodation even more expensive to offset the reduction in alcohol consumption and other services which is associated with the Chinese market.

  2. Minivannews is a huge contributor to the negative publicity..the heading of this article itself is the type of negative publicity that Minivannews churns out on a daily basis.

  3. At least we German-language tourists have an illness, the Maldives fever: Once Maldives, always Maldives! But since it always gives less 3-star resorts and more 5-, 6- or 7-star resorts, we can not more afford us the love of the Maldives!
    The love of the beautiful Maldives islands and the underwater-world is like an addiction as the smoking. We know that it is unhealthy (for our vacation-budget), but we cannot stop with it. Until then we must stop with it, because otherwise we would have to starve the remainig 50 weeks of the year 🙁

    The Maldives have cheap resort's like Asdu, or affordable like Reethi Beach, but this are much too few affordable islands because the bulk of the 4-stars resorts and all 5-stars or higher islands are too expensive, and some of those are so expensive that a normal-earner could be in vacation at most 1 day in the year or even only 1 day every 2-3 years!

  4. Expensive is good when it is pertinent to luxury markets.

    Basic human cognitive-dissonance usually precludes them from admitting they've made a poor choice when they purchase items and services beyond what they would normally consider outside the realm of what their personal budgets can afford.

    The formal name for this phenomenon is "post purchase rationalization" -

    (See Wiki for an ill detailed summary: -

    The benefit of which is that they'll focus on the positive aspects of what they've purchased in order to self justify the ostenatious price they've paid for it, and will reccomend those aspects to their friends and relatives who ask them about their vacation; which in itself is good advertising.

    Taking that into consideration, lowering the price would be folly; as the consumer demand curve for this market isn't similar to what it would be for a "normal good". It would merely serve to break the illusion that these resorts are "elite" destinations that are at the very highest spectrum of what the industry has to offer; after all, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone that enjoys five dollar caviar.

    (Note that I am treating this market as distinct from mid level tourism.)

    In any case, most tourists are brain-dead infidels that come here to fornicate, drink wine and pray to Oogah-boogah or whatever before they leave; and will be too stupid to realize they've been duped.

    They'll either come back or recommend others to come by our way. Don't worry about it.

  5. Champa thinks he knows better than the tourists? Arrogant bugger! What is the point in having survey if you diss the people being surveyed. It is both REAL and a PERCEPTION that the Maldives is expensive. Get real Champa (and Zulfa for that matter)!

  6. Agreed Hameed.

    The government clearly has a coordinated policy of shifting focus from our traditional source markets in Europe to the mid-market entirely.

    While diversification is not a bad thing we do not need to threaten a long-established product to facilitate conditions for new entrants.

    I do understand that it is a bit of a conundrum that the government wishes to develop mid-market options on population centers such as Laamu Atoll. If they wish to do so they should really put some better thought into it. You cannot change certain things overnight.

  7. Maldives is a very expensive tourist destination for what you get. The resorts offer no cultural experiences in terms of art, music, entertainment. The food is pretentious - usually mid-to law range in quality and presentation; the wine is cheap stock. There are limited opportunities for sightseeing, other than looking at the sea and sky, so that after a few days one is bored stiff. Visits to the "native" islands is strictly limited and the shopping there is mainly for chinese made tourist trash. In Male, the cafes are overpriced and the city itself is unsafe, especially now that the religious nuts and riff-raff have taken over. You can expect to see a continued decline in European (judaeo-christian) tourism and a greater presence of asian tourists in the months to come

  8. This is Paradise on Earth. This is the home of Gog & Magog. This is Hell's killa'ah. This is where the sunny side of Life ends. This is Maldives. And the world knows it NOW.

    This is also the most heavily fortified piece of dirt in the galaxy. and we WILL annihilate all that fester evil in it's humus. Sand or no sand. Be ready heathens.

  9. For those who live out of the Maldives, the country is what embodies a paradise. For those like me who live here, this is hell on earth! Draconian dictatorship at it's best. Say a word about the government and you can bet your bottom dollar that you will be taken to prison!

  10. The Maldives no longer gives value for money as a holiday destination. The prices have gone up and the level of service goes down all the time. I speak from experience having holidayed in the Maldives over twelve times (my last visit was 2 months ago). I will never be returning. I cannot tolerate being "ripped off" by a greedy country.

  11. Is this the official policy now or just some mad bumblebrain, trying to play political games by acting as some religious “defender” ?

    Dhivehi Hanguraama on Thu, 12th Jan 2012 10:08 PM wrote – so far unopposed:

    “In any case, most tourists are brain-dead infidels that come here to fornicate, drink wine and pray to Oogah-boogah or whatever before they leave; and will be too stupid to realize they’ve been duped.

    They’ll either come back or recommend others to come by our way. Don’t worry about it.”

    If so: get lost with your whole tourist industry!!! THIS way it will not work!

    Even chinese or other asian guests will not tolerate to be called "brain-dead infidels" by some of your drug-addicted "faith-defenders", indoctrinated by Salafis, paying quite a sum of money for their holidays at the same time (+ 10% Service Charge + 6% TGST+28US$ ADC +++++).

    And I swear one thing (by “Oogah-boogah” and some more): I will use my connections to some asian forums to publish all over “travelling people in Asia” such idiotic, fanatic, stupid and misanthropic ideas, existing in parts of the Maldivian population.

    If actions like the ones on the 23dec and thinking like the one quoted above etc. will continue with no real opposition from the rest of the population, politicians, judiciary or whatever, my last visit this January 2012 might well have been the last one.

    YOU decide about your future! – but do it!!!

  12. Beh.. Maldives is expensive, but the money I spent for my three vacations in Maldives was worth it. I like many other Italians will visit Maldives again and again. And I have no complaints with its price. Bella Maldive 🙂

  13. Opening up the mid-market is the right decision if people wish to see that average people also can be benifitted from the tourism revenues.
    AirAsia - the world best budget airlines has been planning to bring tourists to Maldives but there are no available accommodations for these mid-market tourists. If the government doesn't act fast - very soon this group of tourist will choose Sri Lanka - as the tourism in Sri Lanka is booming. According to the growing rate, it will be no problem for Sri Lanka to overtake Maldives as a better choice destination in 3 to 5 years.

  14. Agree with Hameed. Minivan is the prime contributor to negative publicity. There is a perpetual war between atheism and Islam in minivan and it seems to keep the readership of minivan going. But this trumped up theoretical war does not play out in real life in Maldives. And when the Govt. involves in this theoretical exercise the atheists camp benefit (they get recognition; i.e. Hillath by Amnesty) and the country's reputation goes down. Sometimes Anni had to reach out and clean-up the mess minivan creates like the case of false wedding vow which was much embellished by minivan.

  15. @GE tourist on Fri, 13th Jan 2012 4:39 PM

    "And I swear one thing (by “Oogah-boogah” and some more): I will use my connections to some asian forums to publish all over “travelling people in Asia” such idiotic, fanatic, stupid and misanthropic ideas, existing in parts of the Maldivian population."

    Publish it all you want.

    The imbeciles will come back here with their scantily clad, disobedient womenfolk; drink wine and fornicate, before concluding with whatever rituals they think their Ooga Booga God demands from them and then they will scurry back to wherever it is they hail from and reccomend their acquaintences come do the same. Such is the way of the infidel.

    I am not worried for our tourism industry; which will continue to rake in huge profits.

  16. Dear GE tourist -
    Dhivehi Hanguraama obviously needs some reality check - noone comments on him/her because users in this forum know he/she is a psychotic, racist commenter. Besides he didn't consider that 'infidels' wouldn't pray to anyone at all, not even to an ooga boogah figure...

    By no means does he/she represent the Maldivian people. We shouldn't be that hypocritic - we pray to an imaginary figure as well, WHILE drinking alcohol (well, most of us) and you may know that fornication is very, very high in our country. We try to keep it low by marrying our affairs which makes it legal until we get fed up and divorce them, topping the divorce ranking in the whole world for years.
    Recently one of our religious scholar's affair was revealed because it was filmed... the whole nation saw it on the news. We're not better or holier than anyone else.

    Most of us who are honest with our society wouldn't talk like that.

  17. maldives is definitely expensive. why because the mid market beds are getting less and less. How many european tour operators are trying to get this category of beds? many. so pls ask shiyam does she have a single room of this choice? NO. everyone wants quick money and then hide in the safe at the home in Mlae' and send some labourers with the dollars saved to sell it on black market...and about negative publicity. its the behaviour from people like Villa Travels owners Gasim and people like Dr hassan saeed and DR jameels intentions that Maldives is getting negative publicity.

  18. If Maldives is too expensive, that is a way of saying Maldives is targeted for certain standard of tourists i.e. High end markets only 😉

    But we do have our neighbouring countries Sri Lanka and India with resorts/hotels at affordable rates. And its fun and exciting to experience both said countries.

  19. Dear Aisha.

    I give you completely right! All Maldivian peoples, this I until now met, ar NO religious fanatics, but quite normal, sensible and nice people!

    Such writers, like Dhivehi Hanguraama, want to attract attention only under all circumstances and this is exactly so in the remaining world.

    Incidentally, I think, not the maldivian tourism industry make a lot of money, but the international hotel-concerns.

  20. I hate to see the Chinese bashing by the self-claimed experts on tourism marketing.

    Do you know what? If people like Sim Ibrahim Mohamed and Sun Travel Shiyam continues to bad mouth Chinese tourists as if their fault to come to the Maldives, on one fine day Chinese Government will issue a statement that "We Chinese do not want to go to a destination where we are not wanted". Then who will be responsible?" Shall we sue Sim Ibrahim Mohamed and Sun Travel Shiyam for the unimaginable loss to the nation?

    So be warned, Chinese Government is very sensitive to how others treat them. If Maldivian tourism industry continues to display their arrogance and being not appreciative of how lucky we are to have Chinese filling our beds at a time when Euro Zone is in the doldrums, we might have to pay a hefty price.

    So be warned!

  21. @Jin Ni

    "I hate to see the Chinese bashing by the self-claimed experts on tourism marketing."

    I am actually a great scholar on religion, though I understand the world and its affairs very well.

    What I say is true, and I am indeed an expert on the matter.

    Lowering the price on luxury resorts would not effect the demand curve for this market to our benefit.

  22. I was a serviceman in the RAF on Gan in the early seventies. I have been going back to the Maldives since 1980.
    The trouble is, as ever, the rich island owners get richer and pay appaling wages to the staff, and it is the staff that we, the tourists, meet. No wonder the normal happy smiling face of the average Maldivian has gone, instead we see resentment in their eyes. The prices are stupidly high, I have been saying for years you are going to price yourselves out of the market. From the UK we can go to a five star hotel in Thailand for half the price and a three star hotel in Fiji for less than a normal Island in the Maldives. Having said all of the above I am coming back next month as I simply love your country, however I am lowering my budget and I hope I do not get ripped off as I did last year.
    I wanted to go back to Gan, but reading this newspaper for the last year I decided not to go back as there are too many politics associated with Addu now.
    My sggestions are simple.
    1. Allow free trade of tourists between your islands, for example if a guest wants to vist another resort while he is there, the host island will do almost anything from stopping that guest from visiting ( I know I tried and just succeeded last year )
    2. Pay the staff at hotels real salaries and limit the profit made by Island owner/managers.
    3. Do not try to rip off clients at every chance as they will just stop coming.
    4. Treat every guest to your lovely islands as you would like to be treated yourself

  23. He also contended that the Maldives is “not an expensive country”, and that this was a mere “perception”.---I can go to Malaysia, Thailand, etc for a fraction of the price and get far more. Maldives is FAR overpriced.

  24. I just checked the prices at Iru Fushi and Conrad Ranggali. Holy shit !!! What happened ? I stayed at Ranggali in 2004 for $500/nt !! I'd love to know what their occupancy rates are.....

  25. You should try to win more tourists from muslim countries, for example you could offer separate beaches and spa for women and men. If US and European tourists want to spread their nakedness all over the world, they can do so on the Caribean Islans, South America, Mallorca and so on. Why allow them to spread their moral indecencies in your beautiful country?

  26. Maldivian are 100% Muslims. But most or 90% behave like human waste. They don't follow the beauty of their religion. But I can say still 99% love and do care about the tourist visits Maldives. You may say its expensive. But you can't say Maldivian or the Muslims of Maldives are a threat to tourist. If so can any one spot a single case that happened as a danger to a single tourist! Minivan News is a threat to this small nation!

  27. Dhivehi Hanguraama is an arrogant imbecile with an inflammatory tongue that is too big for his tiny bigoted mind. We call people like that Trolls. Climate change is a coming for you bud and that means no more Maldives. I can always help accelerate your demise by acquiring a gas guzzling 4 litre V8 and when I post-rationalise my purchase I will be thinking of you to justify the expense.

    In all seriousness though, prices are too high and service standards inconsistent. Thanks I'll take my hard earned cash elsewhere, some place where wearing a swimsuit isn't perceived as heathen behaviour.

  28. More Comments like those from Dhivehi Hanguraama are all it takes to wipe out you're whole tourist industry completely. It's called the "Ratner effect", Gerald Ratner, the owner of a huge multi-million pound Jewellery chain showed contempt to his customers in a speech, and his business collapsed completely.

    When you are selling a service and taking money from people you have to respect those people, and treat them well regardless of your personal feelings about their religion etc. People who can afford to come to the Maldives are not usually "brain dead" because you have to be reasonably educated to ever be able to afford it. It takes most people years of hard work to save up for a holiday to the Maldives, so first of all you need to understand and respect them and their culture if you want them to spend their money visiting you're country, just as I and the majority respect those who visit my country despite the fact we have terrorist attacks often perpetrated by Muslims. We are all Human after all, and we all have our faults, despite our beliefs.

    On my last visit to the Maldives it was clear the main focus was on getting as much money out of me as possible in any way possible even through deceit. This was different to previous visits and it made my stay disappointing. I wont be coming back.

    That aside, the stunning beauty of the Maldives is one I'll never forget.

  29. Well,
    I also think Maldives are overpriced, and I have "no limit" when it comes to fun/vacation, or simply money no object, but I refuse to pay double the price for some service/product, eg: I can buy paper napkins for 70c per 100 one layer sheets at store "A" but can go few steps down the steet and in "B" show I buy the very same quality napknis for 35c/100sheets. So what is the point of paying double (or simply - more) ?
    I miss "runaway" resorts, like, some relatively cheap bungalow with quality bed (come one, you can buy a quality bed for $300, feels and looks luxorious and will serve for over 2 years, that is just 50c per night), with nice shower, and lonely beaches, and all this for like near 1 month. And no 4-7 days luxurious things I am not able to enjoy as it reminds me the western style of vacation.
    EG: 3 weeks of do-nothing-just-lie-on-the-deserted-beach (with few others of course if necessary, not totally private beach) for reasonable price.
    but paying 3000Euro + some fees, I do not believe this is reasonable..
    I would like to see a private pool with fresh water for such price.. and a pretty luxorious mansion/villa too..

    So, mister Dhivehi Hanguraama is correct, people comming there and crying about the price are stupid. I think I see his point, but still, it is strange to tell it on the Internet? I'm not sure.. I think both sides have somewhat he correct point.. As a non drinker and non smoker I see a lot of human beings in my age nearly killing themselves by alcohol at least once a month, then crying that how hard is the life and why are they not rich, but well, with all due respect, I would have a question, why don't you work but you drink instead?
    no answer, they get upset saying im a bad man and have no mercy, well lol, try that in the wild, drink and smoke and the food/shelter will come/build itself, LMAO!! LOL..
    what ever, but I still think maldives are a bit overpriced.. they are not that unique as people may think, I assume. But may be wrong, not sure..
    but muc better than caribbean I think, they are like wasteland compared to Maldives..

  30. The way i see,MALDIVES HAD A HEAD START IN TOURISM in the seventies,offering secluded islands free from paparazzi,but now this exclusivity can also be provided by many countries in asia ,africa latin america,besides the highly rich nowadays dont prefer to go some secluded island country many countries from belize to tahiti framing their tourist policies to attract all sort of visitors,and besides the tourist figure released yearly state the facts,maldives will have to modify its only rich tourists only policy,if it wants to get a greater chunk of money based on tourism or other countries will gobble up whatever is left of the international tourist market


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