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MMPRC Hosts ‘Maldives Media Meet’ at WTM London 2022,  Shares 50-Year Journey of Maldives Tourism

MMPRC Hosts ‘Maldives Media Meet’ at WTM London 2022, Shares 50-Year Journey of Maldives Tourism

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives) has shared the 50-year journey, milestones, and achievements of the Maldivian tourism industry with global media representatives during the ‘Maldives Media Meet’ hosted at WTM London 2022. This event was held at the ExCel London media centre on 8th November 2022.

The Maldives Media Meet was led by the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director (CEO & MD) of MMPRC, Mr Thoyyib Mohamed, joined by; Maldives Tourism Industry Pioneer, Mr Hussain Afeef; the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and Ireland, H.E Dr Farah Faizal; and the Minister of Tourism of Maldives, H.E Dr Abdulla Mausoom. Attendants at the event consisted of representatives from the travel trade, media, and tourism-related organisations.

Attendees to the event were gifted a Maldivian Feyli (traditional sarong) upon arrival; a token of the Maldives’ culture and hospitality. An immersive storytelling session signifying the communal spirit and the unyielding hospitality inherent to the Maldives was presented to the attendants, from the “Communal Spirit” folklore story from Visit Maldives’ Tales of Maldives books. This riveting experience denotes that hospitality is one of the main reasons behind the success of the Maldives tourism industry. This was followed by a destination presentation, and then the opening statements by the panellists.

The spotlight of the media meet was on the success of the Maldives Tourism industry over the past 50 years and the evolution of destination marketing efforts by MMPRC, as we mark the Golden Jubilee year since the inception of tourism in the country.

The opening remarks were made by Mr Hussain Afeef, one of the pioneers responsible for the introduction of Maldives tourism. He spoke at length, giving the attendants an industry perspective on the inception of tourism in the Maldives, and the key differences between then and now. “We took the first groups of tourists on excursions on sailboats. We had no telephones or fax machines, so we communicated via morse code. We had two flights a year coming into the country, bringing in a small group of tourists, that was our connection to the outside world. We had to play many roles, we wore many hats, we had to be tour guides, chefs, and everything in between for the tourists. It was a hard journey, but look how far we have come today.”

The Minister of Tourism spoke next, detailing the importance of sustainable tourism to an island nation such as ours. “Maldives believes Tourists of the Future are fast becoming the present and expects destinations and service providers to be meaningfully committed to Sustainable Tourism Practices,” the Minister highlighted in his statement.

Next on the agenda, the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and Ireland, H.E Dr Farah Faizal expounded on the long-standing bilateral ties between the Maldives and the UK, expressing her pride at how far the Maldives has come as a tourism destination. “As a diplomat, I am proud that the Maldives has established a global presence in the tourism sector, becoming a recognised brand worldwide. This has undoubtedly supported the strengthening of international relations on all fronts. Our holistic response to the pandemic has resulted in the tourism industry rebounding back to pre-pandemic levels. I am certain that this year’s WTM will showcase the outstanding degree of service our industry has to offer.”

Last but not least, CEO & MD Mr Thoyyib gave a brief overview on the evolution of destination marketing through the past five decades. “We may have begun marketing the destination by participating in a fair, but then we continued to market the destination, establish a presence, in all platforms, utilising every type of tool that was at our disposal. No matter the target we reach, in the form of infrastructure development in the sector or arrivals, our work is never-ending. And that’s what made us the leading destination in 2020 and 2021, and that is why we are among the nominees for 2022 leading destination as well. Perseverance, dedication, and relentless efforts in making sure we are always visible and on the top.”

The purpose of hosting this event was to connect with leading media representatives from the UK, one of our traditional top markets, as well as representatives from other global markets. MMPRC provided them with the most up-to-date information about the destination, its products, services, and unique experiences. Through this event, we promoted the Maldives as one of the most preferred holiday destinations for travellers from the UK and worldwide. We further promoted our future plans, sustainability initiatives, and marketing efforts for the coming year. MMPRC launched a special large-scale event to be hosted next year, the Visit Maldives Storytellers’ Conference 2023 at the Maldives Media Meet. The conference ended with a Q&A session, and one lucky attendee to the event won a complete set of the 'Tales of Maldives' books.

MMPRC and 173 Participants from 80 Companies Representing the Maldives at WTM London 2022

MMPRC and 173 Participants from 80 Companies Representing the Maldives at WTM London 2022

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives), together with 173 participants from 80 companies, are representing the Maldives at the World Travel Market (WTM) London 2022. The event is hosted at ExCel London from 7th - 9th November 2022. The Maldivian delegation at WTM London this year is led by the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director (CEO & MD) of MMPRC, Mr Thoyyib Mohamed.

WTM London is one of the leading global events for the travel industry to meet industry professionals and conduct business deals. Utilising its industry networks and unrivalled global reach, the three-day in-person event creates business opportunities by connecting with industry delegates and international media. Throughout WTM London 2022, MMPRC aims to meet with the travel trade from the United Kingdom and global partners and share the latest updates on the Maldives and our tourism products.

Along with our industry partners, MMPRC is promoting our diverse products and segments and showcasing the unique aspects, activities, and experiences of the Sunny Side of Life at a 420 sqm double-decker Maldives stand. Our participation in WTM London is made even more special this year as it coincides with the Golden Jubilee of Maldives Tourism, marking 50 years since we began welcoming visitors to our shores. To maintain our presence as a preferred destination in the UK market and beyond, we will be hosting a wide range of activities throughout the three days of the fair.

Through the participation of our delegation at WTM London 2022, we aim to connect with travel trade from the UK market and beyond, share our latest travel guidelines, and more. It provides the perfect opportunity for networking, strengthening existing business ties, and maintaining destination presence as one a top-of-the-mind spot for holiday travel. The events further provide the ideal platform for industry partners to; promote their individual products and properties; generate new business leads; and network with the UK and global travel trade to identify sentiments of consumers towards the destination. Attending global media officials are provided the latest updates on the destination through in-person interviews with CEO & MD Thoyyib. Additionally, the Maldives stand includes a designated area where industry partners and MMPRC officials can host presentations- this area is designed to showcase the ‘Redefining Mice’ concept unique to the Maldives. The Minister of Tourism of the Maldives, along with officials from the Ministry, are also part of the Maldives delegation at WTM London 2022.

A new activity planned at our stand this year is the 360-video booth, an exciting technology which uses a revolving camera to give a 360-degree experience. This booth provides visitors opportunities to take pictures and videos immersed in the beauty of the Maldives all around them. Other activities at the stand include distributing press packs, the launching of our 2023 destination guide, and kicking off an exciting new venture by MMPRC for next year as part of our global marketing efforts.

One of the major highlights from the activities planned for WTM London this year includes the ‘Maldives Media Meet’ celebrating 50 years of tourism in the Maldives. Hosted by MMPRC on 9th November, speakers at the event include Maldives’ Tourism pioneer, Mr Hussain Afeef; the Minister of Tourism, H.E Dr Abdulla Mausoom; the High Commissioner of the Maldives to the UK, Great Britain, and Ireland, H.E Dr Farah Faizal; and MMPRC’s CEO & MD Mr Thoyyib Mohamed.

To strategically promote the Maldives during our time in the UK, MMPRC will additionally host a three-city roadshow series in London, Manchester, & Newcastle on the 9th, 10th, and 11th of November, respectively.

The UK is traditionally one of the top source markets for the Maldives and currently ranks at 3rd with 147,535 arrivals by 2nd November this year. This is 10.9% of the market share from the 1،354،828 total arrivals into the country during this period. MMPRC has been conducting several activities aimed at this market to maintain and broaden destination momentum. This includes participation in fairs and exhibitions in the UK market; outdoor advertising campaigns; and social and digital media marketing campaigns. Similar activities are planned for this market in the upcoming months.

As the company responsible for marketing the Maldives as a destination abroad, MMPRC carried out 260 different marketing activities in 22 global markets last year, including fairs, roadshows, familiarisation trips, marketing campaigns, webinars, and interviews. The greatest testament to the success of these activities came late last year, as the Maldives secured the title of ‘World’s Leading Destination’ (among several other accolades) at the 2021 World Travel Awards, globally recognised as the hallmark of industry excellence. This was the second consecutive year that the Maldives had successfully earned this prestigious title, and we are nominated for the third time this year, a shining testimony of the trust placed in the ‘magic of Maldivian hospitality’ by travellers from all over the globe.