The Maldives was the sole South Asian country not have seen an increase in tourist arrivals in the first two months of the year, according to the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI).
In a statement, MATI said that all other South Asian countries that published tourism statistics had recorded significant increases, with India at the top of the list with an increase of 40,000 tourists in Jan-Feb.
Sri Lanka experienced 27 percent growth in tourist arrivals. Tourist arrivals to the Maldives dropped by five percent during the same period.
According to Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) statistics, Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing tourist region in the world, with South East Asia showing the highest increases, closely followed by South Asia.
The Maldives’ number one tourism market – China – declined substantially in February and March after charter flights were cancelled due to political turmoil.
The market recovered in April with the restoration of these flights, with Chinese arrivals showing a 3.5 percent increase compared to the same period last year, after a massive 34.8 percent decline in February. The Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) has predicted substantial growth in June-July.
However the Italian and UK markets reported substantial declines in April, with arrivals plunging 27 percent and 20 percent respectively compared to April 2011. These losses were partially offset by an increase in German, Swiss and Russian arrivals.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the PATA statistics applied to arrivals so far this year. The PATA figures were for the first two months of the year. Minivan News apologises for any confusion caused.