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Rich Indians are holidaying in Maldives, emerge as top source market

NEW DELHI, January 9: Wealthy Indians are flocking to Maldives for a holiday. Last year, they became that country’s top source market: 62,905 Indian tourists made it their holiday destination. They accounted for 11.3% of the total market share, according to the Indian High Commission in Male.

Maldives is one of the few countries open to international tourists during the Covid-19 pandemic. Five Indian cities have flights to Male with five airlines operating there under the air bubble formed between the two countries

Maldives had allowed international tourists from July 15, 2020 with free visa-on-arrival. The archipelago does not have mandatory quarantine or testing on arrival for foreign tourists.

“All tourists are required to submit an online health declaration form within 24 hours prior to departure… All tourists are required to hold a negative PCR test for Covid-19 conducted 96 hours prior the scheduled time of departure from the first port of embarkation en route to Maldives,” says the website of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), the national tourism office of the Maldives.

Since the country opened up, a lot of hotels and resorts have hosted rich and famous Indians, including Bollywood celebrities like Tiger Shroff, Tapsee Pannu, Katrina Kaif, Varun Dhawan, Neha Dhupia, Disha Patani, Eli Avram and Mouni Roy. Some of their posts on social media have given their followers a glimpse of this island country where you can truly sit back, relax and forget the pandemic.

 It has helped boost business. “We have had several top celebrities from India holidaying in the Maldives. This assured others of the stringent safety measures we have taken,” says Thoyyib Mohamed, MD, Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).

 Even before the pandemic, Maldives had begun emerging as a favourite destination for Indians. “The Indian market has shown significant growth over recent years and by the end of 2019 the growth was 83.5% with a market share of 9.7 % and ranked second biggest source market in terms of arrivals,” adds Mohamed.

 The honeymoon market is especially big in the Maldives. “Our natural beauty, rich marine life and excellent hospitality makes us a hot spot for honeymooners. India is the world’s second largest wedding market globally, and many Indian tourists visit Maldives for their honeymoon.

 “Based on the arrival figures of 2019, India is ranked in the second position of the highest performing markets to the Maldives. It is one of the key focused markets after the reopening of borders on 15th July 2020,” the MMPRC website says.

 “All tourists are granted a 30-day free visa upon arrival. Quarantine upon arrival is not required. However, if the passenger has a fever, cough or shortness of breath on board the flight or upon arrival, it should be informed to the local health protection agency. All tourists must undergo thermal screening at the arrival terminal (and) wear masks,” it adds.

Published : January 10, 2021

By : The Island