The Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) has expressed concern over the decrease in the average length of stay among tourists, leading to a loss of revenue despite increasing tourist arrivals.
In its recent monthly report, MATATO referred to data from the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), which revealed that tourist earnings for the first eight months of this year amounted to USD 2.6 billion (MVR 40 billion).
While this figure remains significant, MATATO expressed concern about a USD 160 million (MVR 2.5 billion) decrease compared to the same period last year, marking a five per cent decline. During the same period, the average length of stay decreased from 8.1 days in 2022 to 7.6 days this year, suggesting a trend towards shorter trips.
MATATO has noted that this reduction in the average length of stay could impact the revenue per available room (RevPAR), an essential performance indicator for the tourism sector. As of November 1, there are 62,822 operational tourist beds in the Maldives, with an occupancy rate of 51 per cent.
The Maldives welcomed 1.5 million tourists by the end of October. MATATO emphasised that while the increase in visitor numbers would lead to higher GST and other taxes, the decrease in the length of stay could significantly affect tourist revenue.
To address this issue, MATATO recommended that resorts and guesthouses consider reducing room rates to encourage longer stays. This situation underscores the challenges faced by the Maldives tourism sector in achieving growth amid changing market dynamics, competitive pricing, and evolving traveller preferences.
MATATO also highlighted that efforts to restore and boost revenue will likely remain a primary focus for the nation’s tourism industry in the foreseeable future.