Tourism decline due to negligence in promoting destination: ‘Sun’ Shiyam

The decline in tourism arrivals from the Maldives’ traditional European markets is a result of the state’s failure to adequately promote the destination, resort tycoon and Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) leader MP Ahmed ‘Sun’ Shiyam has declared.

The MDA allied with the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) for the recent election, in which PPM candidate Abdulla Yameen was declared President.

“Tourist arrivals from European markets have gone down more than ever before. Maldivians are not able to enjoy the real benefits, because of negligence in promoting tourism,” Shiyam alleged in local media.

Tourism marketing is overseen by the Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC) and Tourism Ministry, the minister of which, Ahmed Adheeb, was last week reappointed to the same post in Yameen’s government. The MMPRC’s former head, Mohamed Maleeh Jamal, was appointed Minister of Youth and Sports.

Shiyam warned of a deteriorating economic situation that could leave the government no other option than cost cutting.

According to a recent report by the Finance Ministry, tourism growth flat-lined in 2012 as a result of two years of political turmoil.

The tourism industry’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2012 declined by 0.1 percent following 15.8 percent growth in 2010 and 9.2 percent in 2011, the Finance Ministry revealed in a “Fiscal and Economic Outlook: 2012 to 2016″ statement included in the 2014 budget (Dhivehi) submitted to parliament.

“The main reason for this was the political turmoil the country faced in February 2012 and the decline in the number of days tourists spent in the country,” the report explained.

Tourism growth is measured in bed nights, as arrival figures – predicted to top one million in 2013 – do not necessarily give a clear picture of the industry’s performance.

“As the most number of tourists to the country now come from China, we note that the low number of nights on average that a Chinese tourist spends in the Maldives has an adverse effect on the tourism sector’s GDP,” noted the Finance Ministry’s report.

The Maldivian economy is largely dependent on tourism, which accounted for 28 percent of GDP on average in the past five years, and generated 38 percent of government revenue in 2012. Indirectly the industry is thought to contribute up to 70 percent of GDP, and 90 percent of all foreign exchange.

Much of that revenue is generated through the tourism GST, introduced during the Nasheed government amid resistance from many of the country’s resort tycoons. It is currently set at 8 percent, however the new government has warned it may increase it to 12 percent in an attempt to match its high levels of expenditure.


23 thoughts on “Tourism decline due to negligence in promoting destination: ‘Sun’ Shiyam”

  1. Toursim is the goose which lays to golden egg. Mismanagement and ad hoc policy changes threaten tourism. The brand Malives which is the only reason many choose us over cheaper destinations is under threat, mostly from over development.

    There was never an attempt to include ordinary Maldivians in sharing of the rewards. In the begininng it was foreign tour operators who benefited most, leaving little for the early pioneers and almost nothing for the Maldivian people. Then the pioneers asserted themselves and have taken a larger share. They are still dependant on foreign credit.

    A zero sum game has always been played and very little attempt has been made to expand ancillary industries from the windfall. The foregn investors took their dollars before the guests arrive, the local partners got their share after the guests' paid.

    Most services which are required for the operation of the resorts were imported. Only the government could have made such initially loss making investments in conjunction with foregn donors. There was no attempt to expand the quality of the fishing industry to cater for tourists. No attempt to make furniture for resorts. No attempt to develop local architects and designers. No attempt to develop a boat building industry. No attempt to develop the handicrsft industry and preserve cultural sites. No attempt to introduce tourism to Male and develop the retail industry. No attempt to develop a shipping industry (or rather the operational company was sunk).

    Tourists provided money, everything was imported and paid for from that money. Whatever was left was for partying. This was our tourism industry and it still is.

    We are just like the Arabs who sell oil and buy Ferraris and Yachts.

  2. Maldives is far too expensive compared to other destinations like Seychelles, Mauritius etc.

  3. Its not the lack of promotion, but the vastly rising prices together with increasing taxes that is keeping the european visitors away. Prices have doubled in the last 5 or 6 years. You can get a week diving in other parts of the world, for a quarter of what it will cost in the Maldives. You are pricing yourselves out of the market. Be more realistic in your prices and the european market will become the majority again.

  4. The Maldives tourism boycott campaign in Europe by MDP activists is nothing short of an economic crime against a small state. At the same time UK is campaigning its citizens to travel places within UK, rather than outside.

    Talk of sinking Maldives is another campaign to prevent foreign Banks from long term lending to Maldives

    Some are definitely out with an agenda

  5. Blame anything else but the violent Coup you perpetrated on 7th Feb 2012, efforts of white washing it and, the fact that you kept cancelling and delaying the election until you could rig the vote.

  6. Its called European Debt Crisis, by any other name. Supreme Sun Tycoon - wake up and see the long term effects of global financial crisis.

  7. @economic crimes

    Consider this as payback for what your armed thugs did to us.

    If you do not surrender immediately, further escalations will occur.

  8. Blame the European for being so bad and not spend their hard earned money on a luxurious holiday... OH Well... And there is no marketing? Excuse me?? Sun, how high where u at that time u said it?
    Open ur eyes, advertisements are everywhere, everyone in Europe is dreaming of the Maldives- not only as a diving destinations but at much else- but then open ur eyes, resort owners and put the prices to where they should belong too... If you would pay yourself as much as the Bangladeshi/nepalese/indonesian etc beach cleaner then the europeans would be flocking in again...

  9. Maybe the Europeans are voting with their tourism dollars against the immoral coup that threw out Maldives first elected government. We are neither stupid nor ill-informed and we know how to vote.

  10. Look, Maldivians voted for Dheen and Qawm. Demolish the resorts and their haram industry. Build the most lavish mosques we can afford on them. Citizens shall gather inside and pray to Allah 24/7. For sure, Rizq will come raining down from the skies. Isn't that what we voted for?

  11. It is time to say good bye to the tourism industry and pray five times, so Allah will give money. We will also be better off like other Muslims living in Pakistan, Egypt, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Mali, Senegal, Bangladesh. Saudi Arabia is already producing the first ibomb to replace pebbles which we normally throw to kill Satan. So this is the final stage to eliminate Satan and the Muslims will be provided with everything and Satan can't divert this wealth to infidels anymore.

  12. It is obvious the tourism industry will not make any improvements for the next year or two for obvious reasons we all know:
    a) All major players (Universal, Villa, Suntravel, Champa, Sunland, etc) are enemies of each other and work against each other. They have not or cannot sit on the same table and promote Maldives
    b) Expertise is missing in the tourim Ministry itself. At the moment its managed by people with no clue on tourism but only for political reasons
    c) Greed among resort owners charging horrible high prices that European markets cannot accept. Guest houses in Hulhumale, Maafushi and Guraidhoo make more profit and satisfy the tourists better than resorts.
    d) The coup, and the dirty politics will always affect Maldives. Yameem may have received majority, but step back and see how he achieved it. The world is not stupid and quietly is punishing us
    e) Foreign investment. Most of the resorts are now managed by foreign companies and salaries paid to expatriates is just TOO MUCH, un taxed and un monitored.

    Shiyam you are part of this failure in tourim especially as you dont have professional management clue. Maldives will continue to go down as long as the coup leaders and corrupted people like you run the country

  13. Mohamed Rasheed - you said it absolutely correct. As I have seen, this is a typical Maldives characteristic. How about he having employees fired because of their shirt color?

  14. it is because Nasheed and his allies had been trying hard to damage our tourism industry for thier personal gain .

    They have been boycotting the Maldives tourism for last 2 years ? what was the reason ?

    To break something is much easier than making something productive .

    Destruction versus constriction .

  15. Fact 1: Chinese nationals dominates as arriving tourists to Maldives.

    Fact 2: Chinese nationals spends less per person for visiting and staying in Maldives.

    So the occupancy goes up, but the earnings goes down.

    I dont think the marketing in Europe is the key issue for dropping numbers of Europeans coming here.

    Europeans focus on "value for money" - the more they get in return from their money spent, the better.

    So if a European family of 4 is to spend their vacation in Maldives, they will have to spend more compared to many other destinations where prices are a bit lower.
    Getting here is also an issue even though there are many direct flights.
    They have to spend extra money and time to even be able to arrive to their resort - seaplane and speedboats.
    Expensive and more hassle for a family.

    Couples who do want to spend more money and appreciate the tranquility and comfort of privacy and the calmness of a remote island in the middle of the ocean......get surrounded by shouting and noisy Chinese people.

    These are all factors to be considered for choosing Maldives - and for returning to Maldives.

    I think that increasing, rather than dumping the rates for Chinese would balance and include both markets.

  16. For the tourist-disappearance from Europe are not only the high prices responsible, but mainly the general trend to the luxus resorts, this itself can achieve only a small minority of the tourists. The best utilization have good 3-star islands like f.e. Velidhu and affordable 4-star islands like Reethi Beach.

    No human needs a butler on the Maldives, or a wine-cellar, or a underwater restaurant, or even a golf course! What the tourists would like, is a beautifully white beach, a few picturesque palms, is the crystal-clear blue sea with an intact environment and a good diversified meal and this all (including flight) under 2000 Euro per person for 2 weeks ...

  17. so Siyam wants to spend government to party in Berlin and London for WTM and ITB? it will be very easy as the old MTPB team is still intact... Mode, IB and rest.. good for you

  18. @Hero

    Your thugs broke our country. We break your wallets.

    Next time, think more carefully before attacking us.

  19. Gerhard - absolutely right you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. The Maldives is in danger of pricing itself out of the market. I first visited Nakatchafushi some 16 years ago. It was excellent in terms of facilities - and affordable - now Huvafenfushi is many times that price even allowing for inflation. Good grief who needs an infinity pool when you have the Indian Ocean a few steps from your beach bungalow.

  20. Mr Siyam himself is consistently increasing the prices within his resorts, while adding no value (much the contrary unfortunately). Ever since Hilton got "vacated", quality standard is reaching new lows by the month ... but next price increase is not far away.

    Your greediness itself is the problem for low arrivals of European tourists and short duration of stay, Mr Siyam!


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