The Maldives has won two prizes at this year’s Seven Star Global Luxury Awards, winning best a destination as well as a special achievement honour for Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb.
Nominated alongside destinations including the Bahamas, Fiji, the Seychelles, Italy, and Mexico, the Maldives was named best destination for the second year running.
Meanwhile, the ‘Outstanding Achievement in Tourism Award’ again went to the Maldives’ tourism minister for having overseen the arrival of one million tourists last year for the first time in the country’s history.
“The ‘Seven Star Destination Winner’ award belongs to the tourism industry partners of Maldives who have been working hard to develop the industry and maintain high level standards,” said Adeeb.
The seven star awards are regarded as the most exclusive international luxury award for the hospitality industry, recognising extraordinary achievements by bestowing upon winners the Signum Virtutis – a seal of excellence for all prospective guests.
After being nominated by Seven Star’s expert panel, industry professionals as well as the public voted for the winners, who received their prize at an award ceremony held at the Chateau Spa & Organic Wellness Resort in Malaysia on Saturday (June 14).
Over 1.1 million tourists visited the Maldives in 2013, a milestone achieved one year behind the government’s original plans after political turmoil temporarily deterred visitors during 2012.
Recent statistics have shown that the industry – directly responsible for 29 percent of GDP – continues to grow, with arrivals up by 11.2 percent based on the same period in 2013.
After developing primarily as a destination for European tourists, the recent expansion of the industry has been heavily reliant on the explosion of the Chinese market – which grew from around 6 percent of arrivals in 2008 to over 26 percent in the first quarter of this year.
Despite moves to expand the mid-market tourism product in the country, the luxury single island resort model continues to dominate over hotels, guest houses and safari vessel options – making up nearly 80 percent of the industry’s bed capacity.
Adeeb has previously explained that the image of the country as a high-end destination was vital in order to attract “A-category” guests, with lower-end facilities subsequently benefitting from the luxury image.
The government is currently considering expansion plans to accommodate the arrival of five millions tourists at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, and has recently reached out to new markets in Australia.
A survey conducted by the Tourism Ministry earlier this year found that 98 percent of tourists would recommend the Maldives as a holiday destination to others.