The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has expressed interest in the Maldives hosting the World Travel Awards (WTA) main international event next year – a move said to reflect the destination’s aim of expanding into event-based tourism, reports Minivan News’ spin-off travel site, Dhonisaurus.
After hosting the Indian Ocean regional WTA ceremony at the Paradise Island Resort and Spa earlier this month, Deputy Tourism Minister Mohamed Maleeh Jamal has since confirmed that discussions had commenced on the Maldives potentially hosting the WTA’s flagship event in 2014.
The Maldives dominated this year’s WTA Indian Ocean ceremony held on may 12, with local operators and resort groups among the main winners on the night.=
Responding to the country’s award success, one senior tourism industry figure present at the ceremony this month raised concerns over the credibility of the wider WTA voting process – pointing to the high number of collaborators and sponsors for the Indian Ocean event that received accolades.
However, local authorities have maintained that this month’s ceremony will provide a major boost to the reputation of the Maldives resorts for meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE) tourism in the long-term.
Deputy Minister Maleeh stressed authorities were already working to play up the destination’s potential to businesses travellers.
“We are quite clear on our aim of trying to attract MICE tourism here. In this regard we have already been in touch with management companies. The WTA has said it was happy with how the [Indian Ocean ceremony] went and we have already started discussing hosting the international event, hopefully this can be arranged,” he said.