Home TTJ Spotlight Interviews Maldives navigates pandemic challenges and evolves into a destination for all

Maldives navigates pandemic challenges and evolves into a destination for all

Fathimath Afra

The Maldives is a nation of over 1,000 islands located in the Indian Ocean. Known for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant marine life, and luxurious resorts, the Maldives has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing travel restrictions and shutdowns worldwide, the Maldives, like many other tourist-dependent economies, has faced challenges in keeping its tourism industry afloat. In this article, we’ll explore how the Maldives has navigated the pandemic and hear from Fathimath Afra, Chief Marketing Officer, Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation, about the strategies that have been implemented to keep the tourism industry going during these difficult times.

– Vartik Sethi

Spa treatment on the deck with pool

The Maldives is a well-known and popular destination for honeymooners and couples, but in recent years it has transformed itself into a destination that has something for everyone. Fathimath Afra, Chief Marketing Officer of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations, during SATTE 2023, shared some insights into how the Maldives is evolving as a travel destination.

One of the things that sets the Maldives apart from other destinations is that it is always working to stay ahead of the game. Speaking to Travel Trade Journal, Afra shared, “The secret behind this is that we never stop working even during the pandemic we made sure that Maldives is safe and visible to the world.” The country has a lot to do to keep the momentum going, especially since India is their biggest market.

The Maldives’ Continuous Evolution

The Chief Marketing Officer also spoke about the Maldives’ efforts to spread awareness and cater to tier 1 and tier 2 cities. The country is no longer just an exclusive and high-end destination; it is now promoted as a luxurious destination with many options and experiences. The Maldives has a range of accommodation options, including the one-island, one-resort concept, local islands, and hotels, each offering a different experience.

The Maldives has won several travel awards and accolades, which have added more brand value to Visit Maldives. These titles have been prestigious for the destination and have shown the love that people have for the Maldives. People who visit the Maldives also vote for these awards, and they promote the destination through these accolades.

Catering to a Range of Travellers

Afra spoke about the upcoming Visit Maldives Storyteller Conference, which is going to be one of the biggest events they are hosting. “It is open to everyone who can tell a story about the Maldives, be it a blogger, a writer, a videographer, or anyone else,” she added. The conference will be a five-day event, with the first day being a conference and the rest of the days filled with fun and interesting activities. The idea is to redefine minds, and the organisers are working hard to develop it.

React, Rethink, and Recover

The first destinations to open during the pandemic, the country’s strategy was to React, Rethink, and Recover. When everyone was shocked and trying to understand what was happening, the Maldives was in reactive mode, trying to understand what was happening in the market. They maintained engagement and asked how they could be of any help. They were rethinking how they could help and were in contact with everyone. They never stopped working. In the next phase, they gave people a lot of content to dream about visiting the Maldives again. The fact that the Maldives was one of the first destinations to open, coupled with the presidential decision, helped them a lot. They worked closely with agents and the trade, and in terms of marketing, they communicated that the Maldives was one of the first destinations to open due to its geographical distance and stringent rules and regulations about safety measures.

Expressing her gratefulness to the India market Afra said, “India really started the boom and helped us in the recovering process because we had double and triple-digit growth as soon as we opened up.” The destination is eyeing future collaborations with stakeholders, taking a 360-degree approach to be present on all platforms. The Maldives has a range of popular tourist attractions and activities, and each segment allows for a different experience. Local island tourism is another thing they really want to push, along with the budget-friendly luxury segment. They are also promoting the cultural segments of the country.

In conclusion, the Maldives is a destination that has something for everyone. It is no longer just a honeymoon or wedding destination but is now offering luxury, corporate, and a range of other experiences. The Maldives has a lot to offer, and it is continuously evolving and staying ahead of the game. With its stunning beaches, clear waters, and luxurious accommodations, the Maldives is a must.