The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives), Mr Thoyyib Mohamed, has stated that aviation is one of the fundamental pillars that led to the advent of global tourism. Mr Thoyyib made this statement while speaking during a panel discussion held during the 9th Arab Aviation Summit, being held in Dubai.
Speaking during this panel, Mr Thoyyib delineated how the past two years had transformed the entire state of the world, especially the tourism and aviation industry. Noting that the travel and aviation industries were perhaps some of the hardest hits by the global pandemic, he commended the steadfast efforts of the global travel trade towards recovery.
Citing Aviation as one of the fundamental pillars that led to the advent of global tourism, Mr Thoyyib said that the tourism and aviation industries should work closely together to overcome the challenges. He stated that during the early days of the lockdowns, MMPRC made sure to constantly maintain a strong relationship with local and global aviation partners. He announced that over 35 international flights currently operate to the Maldives.
Referring to how destinations can stand out and become the preferred choice for travellers in the post-pandemic era, Mr Thoyyib said destinations have to implement stringent safety measures and see how the natural geography and unique features of the country can contribute to making it a safe option for travellers. He then went on to highlight how the Maldives heavily promotes the scattered geography of the country and the ‘one island, one resort’ concept as a feature that makes the Maldives a safe destination.
Outlining the ‘new normal’ for the tourism industry, Mr Thoyyib said that we are already in the midst of a new normal, and every new phase of the global pandemic presents us with a brand new version of ‘the new normal’. He further elaborated that it’s important to carry on with our lives and work towards full recovery of the tourism industry and the economy as a whole. He also noted that we shouldn’t be under the impression that the global tourism market will return to the state it was in prior to 2020, rather we should work towards evolving with every phase of the new normal.
Speaking further during this panel, Mr Thoyyib referred to the important role the Middle East plays as a growing source market for the Maldives. He said this market is one of the fastest growing markets to the Maldives, as well as the central hub for a large number of tourists. He expressed pride over the fact that leading Middle Eastern airlines such as Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, Fly Dubai, Etihad Airways, and Gulf Air operate to the Maldives on a regular basis.
Endorsed by the Arab Government and previously held in various Arab countries, the Arab Aviation Summit 2022 is hosted in collaboration with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and supported by global industry partners such as Airbus, CFM, Air Arabia, Alpha Aviation Academy, and Ras Al Khaimah Airport.
From the GCC market, Saudi Arabia was the top 6th market to the Maldives, with an impressive arrival figure of 39,178 travellers. The entire Middle East region accounted for 7.0% of total arrivals in 2021. In order to maintain this momentum and position Middle Eastern markets as top markets to Maldives, MMPRC is conducting a wide variety of marketing activities in the region. We are taking part in Arabian Travel Market 2022, ILTM Arabia 2022, Riyadh Travel Fair 2022. We are also conducting a Maldives Roadshow in Dubai, as well as media familiarization trips, and a joint marketing campaign with Emirates Holidays.