The Maldives hopes to bring in more tourists through an ambitious initiative.
Even a pos-card destination needs to
love in tourists.
Legend says that before 265 BC the Maldives was a peaceful community with trade as its prime source of income as the tiny pieces of islands of the Maldives represented benefits for the traders. It was not until the early 1970s that the country realized its economic potential in promoting its tourism industry. In 1960s, a team from the United Nations (UN) had rendered it unsafe for tourist activities to take place in the Maldives because of its geographical location. However, the serenity surrounding the Maldives attracts over 750,000 tourists to the country every year.
Gauging the potential as a source of revenue, the government of the Maldives has launched the Visit Maldives Year 2016 campaign. It aims to blend the tourists with the culture and tradition of the Maldives and to make visitors feel at home. Probably for the first time, the island country is using social media to attract people as it is guaranteeing a full-year vacation package through social media various competitions. The campaign promises a VIP welcome, an opportunity to become a Visit Maldives Year (VMY) brand ambassador and a surprise for every 100,000th visitor. South Asia's first free sea diving championship will also be a part of the VMY 2016 campaign. The Maldives is also blending nature and human talent for the first time by holding a Tourist Arrival Countdown Show to celebrate tourism and provide entertainment to visitors.
It is a dream for couples to get married in a serene location and Visit Maldives Year 2016 is providing a once-in-a-lifetime chance for couples to tie the knot in the Maldives after 3 finalist couples will enter the finals where their dream wedding will be telecast online. Any such campaign would be incomplete if the local cuisine were not a part of the promotion. During the VMY 2016, visitors will experience the hospitality of the Maldives through delectable delights prepared by the locals. While savoring these dishes, the visitors will visit nearly 100 islands in 30 days and experience various cultures and
A brainchild of the Maldives Marketing & PR Corporation, Government of Maldives, VMY 2016 is destined to take the country's tourism industry to a new level where its global reach is expected to increase by ten folds.
VMY 2016 is expected to hide the country’s political turmoil from recent years as they have tarnished its image as a peace loving nation. Officially launched by the President of the Maldives, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, the purpose of VMY 2016 is to increase tourists to 1.5 million. The figure currently stands at 700,000 to 850,000. Educational awareness programs as well as competitions are planned to attract the additional visitors.
Interestingly, while the Maldives has been building its image as a tourist destination it has not used a proper marketing campaign to do this. As such, VMY 2016 will have social, economic and political benefits. The thousands of visitors coming to the country will create harmony with foreigners while creating a peaceful global community.
Further, VMY 2016 will provide job opportunities for the Maldivians while creating an inflow of capital to better the revenue stream. It is also expected that VMY 2016 will serve to develop the infrastructure in all major atolls of the Maldives to create more tourist destinations. Moreover, the VMY 2016 campaign and the tourism sector in particular, will create avenues for growth for the country’s infrastructural development, leading to developments in the construction sector and adding value to the agriculture and handicrafts sector.
While speaking at the launch ceremony of VMY 2016, President Yameen said, “There is no doubt the tourism sector’s contribution to the creation of jobs is unparalleled with any other sector. In fact, the benefits of tourism as a catalyst for job creation go a long way from a mere creation of employment in hotels, resorts and restaurants. Many ancillary businesses throughout the economy gain from tourism, including the retail sector, entertainment arena and transportation industry.”
In view of an influx of tourists arriving in the Maldives and because of the growth of the tourism industry, the Maldives has initiated the guesthouse island project. The country will develop a resort in Laamu Atoll Thumburi having 2,100 beds. The Maldivian President has assured that less than 4 percent interest rate would be applied to resort development, which will give higher profit percentage to resort owners. Although the Maldives has enjoyed its share of tourism, some atolls are not being properly utilized. Moreover, the policy to provide lesser interest rates will propel construction in over 50 atolls. Earlier this year, it was reported that resorts in the Maldives were offering discounts of up to 30% to attract visitors.
In November 2014, the Maldives tourism minister announced plans to introduce the Green Tax or Eco Tax. According to reports, the Maldives is imposing on tourists a green tax of US$6 per bed from November 2015. This may turn the country into an expensive tourist destination and reduce its appeal as a heaven on Earth. According to the tourism minister, Ahmed Adheeb, the revenue collected from the tax will go into managing the waste from local resorts and other islands.
Where the purpose of imposing the green tax on tourists is to generate additional revenue, the premise could be that since tourists are littering the environment and are polluting the landscape, they must pay the tax for doing so. The Maldives could also use the tax to plant more trees, develop infrastructure and create an effective garbage disposal system. The country can also think about reducing the green tax in future because this may not bode well for its tourism industry in the long run.