Tourism Ministry figures show year-on-year drop in November arrivals

Official Tourism Ministry figures have recorded a 3.7 percent drop in arrivals to the Maldives last month when compared to the same period last year.

It is the first time since May 2012 that monthly arrivals to the country have fallen on a year-on-year basis.

Despite the monthly decline, arrival numbers rose by 2.4 percent between January and November when compared to the same period in 2011.

The official figures indicate that as of November 2012, 866,310 tourists have arrived in the country over the last 11 months. By contrast, 845,732 arrivals were recorded visiting the Maldives between January and November in 2011.

Earlier this year, the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) had set a target of attracting one million visitors to the country by the end of 2012.

According to the latest ministry figures, tourist arrivals during November from Britain fell 13.8 percent to 7,164, while Chinese visitors to the country rose 9.2 percent to 18,450 during the same month.  China has accounted for 24.7 percent of all tourist arrivals to the country during the year so far.

Visitors from Germany decreased 13.2 percent to 8,729 in November, while Italian arrivals decreased by 35.9 percent to 3,551 during the same month.

Promotion aims

The MMPRC had this year been allocated a budget of MVR 70 million (US$4.5 million) to conduct marketing activities for the year, almost double last year’s budget of US$2.3 million which saw the country receive 900,000 tourist arrivals.

Following February’s controversial transfer of power, the incoming government of President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan sought to utilise public relations groups and advertising to try and offset the impact of negative news headlines resulting from the controversial nature of the change in government.

This focus has included agreeing on a US$250,000 (MVR3.8million) advertising deal to promote the country’s tourism industry on the BBC through sponsorship of its weather services, as well as signing a £93,000 per month (US$150,000) contract with public relations group Ruder Finn to try and improve the country’s image internationally.

With these focuses in place, Maldives tourism authorities said back in October that they were confident the country could meet its one million visitor target, despite ongoing “political turmoil” in the Maldives over the last year.

Speaking to local media in the same month, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor said that should the Maldives achieve its aims of attracting one million visitors during 2012, it could be effectively seen as being equivalent to welcoming two million arrivals to the country.

Adheeb claimed this statement was made taking into account the challenges in overcoming the impact of “political turmoil” on the country’s reputation following February’s power transfer.

“We are closing in on that target with a lot of challenges. We are working with major obstacles due to the present crisis in the country,” Adheeb was quoted as saying at the time.

Adheeb and Deputy Tourism Minister Mohamed Maleeh Jamal were not responding to calls by Minivan News at the time of press.


11 thoughts on “Tourism Ministry figures show year-on-year drop in November arrivals”

  1. yes its true that we have senn huge attack on tourism industry by Anni and his associates . Despite the negative publicity created by Anni and his supporters, Maldives has achieved a good target which is even higher than last year arrival.

    MMPRC had not only need to spend money on destination promotion but they were also required to do huge amount of work to compensate the negative false publicity that Anni and his supporter were giving.

    Earlier MMPRC was headed by a guy called Simon who had no clue of marketing and was given the job because he was close relative of Hardingham.

    The entire tourism industry know that Simon was a joker who had no clue of marketing. In fact all the staffs from MMPRC were making jokes about then guy.

  2. It appears that the previous year under the MMPRC achieved more visitors for half the money spent. No doubt the rporting of the coup regime etc has harmed the tourism industry. The dramatic drop in core UK and German markets is now a crisis. How can replacing this with the high volume but low yielding down market China numbers help the industry. This is very concerning for the Maldives tourism industry.

  3. What a disater. China can not replace Europe Maleeh you fool. With twice the budget to spent as well!! Perhaps if you did not hire Jews Ruder Finn the budget could have been spent more effectively...?

  4. The target of 1 million this year???
    May be that shuld be 1 million lies and corruption.

  5. Mody, unlike you, even tourists can see right and wrong. That's why they avoid mordiss.

    You have a ways to go.

  6. I am a supplier of various products to many resorts. As we all talk of percentages of arrivals, lets also touch on the revenue generated.

    Resorts today have lost 40% revenue from F&B, 60% from diving and water sports and about 25% from spa operations.

    An English or German guest would spend averagely 100-200 dollars a day on fine dinning, water sports or/and spa. A chinese guest (majority today) will spend less than 30 dollars a most cases, he would spend it on outdoor trips to local island, fishing trips or coffee shop.

    Tourism revenue is low, we suppliers are hit hard as more resorts start to import please give the public a clear picture. Who cares if we reach a million tourist yet revenue earned is less than what we used to get from 500K tourists?

  7. The reality is that Europe is mired in a debt crisis and face many many years of economic downturn. The Chinese - with 8% growth and 1 billion population - have been, and are, our saviours of the industry.

    The reason why they don't spend in the Maldives is that the tourism product is not targetted to the Chinese. The Chinese drink differently (rice wine compared to fine wines), and yet they don't drink any less than the Europeans. They eat different meals. They love all things designer and spend literally thousands in Europe - so why can't we sell them this stuff too.

    The problem is that Maldivians - in their typical racist fashion - currently think the Chinese customer to be inferior to the white Europeans. However they are here to stay. Until and unless we find ways to get more revenue from them - we too will be doomed.

  8. Not all of Europe is in a debt. Germany is doing well and the well off are still very well off.. Fact.
    This is the target audience for us. The current regime have seemed to have messed up here by focusing on low yielding Chinese volume. Not good especially with twice the budget spent.

  9. Clearly, the statistics are not complete and the Chinese market is not picking up the slack in the European sector.

    November 2012 figures:

    % change Number of arrivals
    UK: -38.0 7164
    Germany: -13.2 8729
    Italy: -35.9 3551
    China: + 9.2 18450
    Total: 37894

    On this basis, arrivals in November 2011 should have been:

    Number of arrivals
    UK: 11554
    Germany: 10056
    Italy: 5539
    China: 16895
    Total: 44044

    This results in a 14% drop in numbers compared to last year, by just considering these markets. If we are to believe the 3.7% drop reported by the Tourism Ministry, then markets outside these countries should have been contributing significantly in 2012.

    It's true that Europe is in deep recession with the exception of Germany and smaller nations like Switzerland, and luxury travel will take a significant hit from these markets. Europeans are much more likely to forego a luxury trip to the Maldives and substitute a cheaper destination like Sri Lanka, for example.

    People like Adheeb are playing the political card and I don't think the political climate in the Maldives contributes that much to the drop in numbers (after all, the average tourist in the Maldives may as well be in a separate country as far as they are concerned). They are whisked from the airport to a world far removed from the daily grind of the Maldivians and their life.

    Moreover, Adheeb is deeply mistaken to think that significant spending on tourism promotion in Europe will recover these numbers. That simply doesn't make economic sense at all! He will be simply wasting state coffers with very little to show for it.

    The only conclusion is that Adheeb has been thrown at the deep end without a life jacket. Sink or swim, old chap.

  10. Maldives designed her tourism industry for ultra-rich. Five star resorts are used only by those who have cash to burn - Europeans or Americans mostly. Chinese are doing well but they don't spend in the way your traditional tourists do - they don't hire boats to go around snorkelling, diving, scubas or spas. So if one tries to replace European tourists with Chinese ones, replace your 5 star resorts with 2 or 3 star ones. Oh BTW, if one believes European tourists are decreasing because of economic slowdown there - forget it. Seen Sri Lanka, Thailand or Mauritius compalining? I don't see them.


Comments are closed.