The Maldives are the destination of every ocean-lover’s dreams. But it doesn’t have to stop at just that. A savvy approach to market the country differently, which came about as a result of the pandemic, is helping the tourism industry pivot to pitch a different offering to travellers.
Think Maldives. And you probably paint a vivid mental picture of pristine atolls and palm-fringed beaches of white sand in azure seas. Where the only deep dives you take are into the sea, and the only schools your child attends are the colourful ones teeming with fish. You dream of barefoot luxury resorts with chilled rooms wholly dedicated to ice-cream, and over-water villas, where both, your breakfast and hope, float!
But there’s more to the Maldives than this oceanic opulence. And Visit Maldives has realised the potential and started to broaden the scope of the types of tourists it hopes to attract to the island nation.
We spoke to Thoyyib Mohamed, CEO and Managing Director at Maldives Marketing & PR Corporation, to get a deeper understanding of this trend. Excerpts from the interview…
The Maldives have been known for luxury and leisure offerings. With events like an offshoot of the Jaipur Lit Fest being planned there, is there a new thrust in how the country is going to be perceived? Has there been a conscious decision to broaden the Maldives brand proposition as a tourist destination?
Definitely. We are working to broaden the Maldives brand as a destination that offers so much more than one expects. Many travellers do not realise that in addition to our prestigious luxury resorts, we also have boutique guesthouses, adventurous liveaboards and lavish hotels. These properties are the perfect space to host exciting and unique events and festivals. After all, doesn’t a music festival nestled in the midst of the Indian ocean sound really cool?
With luxury music festivals like Cult Excape, which will attract large numbers of attendees to the atolls, will special measures have to be taken to accommodate their travel needs? What type of logistical planning will be required for this?
The planning carried out by the properties prioritises the safety, health, and wellbeing of all participants. Our dedication to ensuring the Maldives as a safe haven is one of the main reasons why we have succeeded so far amidst the pandemic. Our naturally distanced geography ensures that each island is naturally social-distanced and these properties function under strict stringent safety measures and protocols.
What plans are in place to maintain the sanctity and unspoilt nature of the islands with an influx of different types of visitors?
One of the main reasons why travellers come to the Maldives is to experience the unspoilt nature and natural sanctity of the islands. The Maldives is beautiful beyond belief and travellers are able to deeply connect with nature and appreciate the unique ecosystems that make all life possible. The travellers respect nature, and we also have measures in place to protect the natural environment as well.
How will pivoting to attract more events help the country’s economy? If you could share some numbers, it will give our readers an insight.
It is a matter of diversification. I believe this is the right time to do it. We crossed the targeted arrival numbers last year and we have already crossed the one million mark this year. We believe diversification is important to ensure the numbers are sustained in the next few years. During the pandemic, we realised that we must utilise our resources and target different segments, rather than simply relying on the successful and traditional segments. Recently, we have taken our first steps at positioning Maldives as a leading destination for MICE, and we believe that this will be a very successful endeavour indeed.