May arrivals drop 1.4 percent on 2011 figures

The Maldives recorded a 1.4 percent drop in arrivals in May, compared to the same period last year.

Overall arrivals for January to May 2012 were up 1.7 percent on the same period last year. However according to figures from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), while South Asia was the second fastest growing market reporting 14 percent year-on-year growth in March in terms of visitor volume, the Maldives was the only destination to record a decline (five percent).

Figures released by the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) for May showed sharp dips across many emerging and traditional markets, including Central and Eastern Europe (-12.7 percent), Northern Europe (-15.8 percent), Southern Europe (-32 percent) and North East Asia (-1.1 percent).

Russia, a key emerging market for the Maldives, showed a decline of 17.4 percent in arrivals for May, while the country’s largest and formerly fastest-growing market, China, recorded an 8.5 percent increase.

Core traditional markets showed double-digit decreases in arrivals for May, particularly Italy (-39.1 percent), the UK (-16.5 percent) and Korea (-42.5 percent).

“Traditionally, tour operators experience a drop in bookings and travel during big soccer events, and with the UK also taking part in Euro 2012, chances are more people might be distracted from thinking about a summer break during this period. Also, the upcoming Olympic Games during July will also impact long haul travel,” the MMPRC stated.

Western Europe meanwhile showed signs of rapid recovery, led by exceptional growth in German arrivals (30.5 percent) to 9736 for the month – comfortably putting it in second place behind China in terms of volume.

In an accompanying statement, the MMPRC speculated that the reasons for the increase in arrivals “are the strong economic conditions in Germany together with the increase in frequency of flights between the two countries.”

The average occupancy rate at the country’s resorts fell from 80.7 to 66.2 percent for May, but this pattern was in line with 2011 as the country’s low season sets in. However, average occupancy rates for resorts in 2012 were down 5-6 percent on 2011 for February to April.

“MMPRC is in line with the set target of attracting 1 million tourists during 2012,” the corporation said. “A strategic digital and social media campaign is in place. Road shows and other strategic marketing activities are being planned for the year ahead. Maldives Marketing & PR Corporation has a policy to carry out joint promotions and marketing campaigns with airlines, tour operators and other stakeholders.”

Cargo plane slides off runway at Male’ airport

A cargo airplane that landed at Male’ International Airport slid off the runway, breaking a wheel and two runway lights, reports SunFM.

The radio station reported that strong wind caused of the incident and that nobody was injured.

According to SunFM the cargo flight from Sri Lanka was warned by the airport tower that the wind was strong across the runway and potentially dangerous..

The Civil Aviation Department is now investigating the case.