MATATO urges government to spend more on destination marketing

President of MATATO Abdulla Giyas

Maldives tourism industry is demonstrating immense growth in terms of bed capacity, and we have seen this figure almost double in the last ten years. With expected openings of over 20 resorts this year and next year, also with the addition to the rapid growth of guesthouses means there is an immediate need to market Maldives on its offerings.

MATATO is in the process of lobbying with all concerned authorities and Parliament Group leaders as presently the 2017 budget is being presented to parliament. It is important that the Ministry of Tourism is given the adequate budgets in order to carry out its destination marketing plans, given the challenges of regional competition from emerging beach destinations and the PR challenges the destination has had in recent years.

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The importance of destination marketing for the success of tourism is vital and given the majority of island nations GDP depends on tourism, also means that this is interconnected to other key industries in the Maldives. Without marketing, our destination may offer the best resorts or hotels in our industry, but none of our potential customers would know about it. The heart of our tourism success lies in its marketing and most aspects of our economy
depend on this.

Unlike major multinational companies with huge budgets for marketing, the Small Medium Enterprises in the Maldivian tourism industry has limited resources, and this creates a huge problem to market the local guesthouses and local travel agents effectively. Thus MATATO urges the concerned authorities to participate in more travel trade fairs with affordable fees, more road shows, conduct more advertising campaigns, more familiarization opportunities
for travel journalists and bloggers in the coming year.

The tourism industry is the highest tax paying and revenue generating industry (The direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP was 41.5% of total GDP in 2014). Marketing is one of the few expenses that have a direct Return on Investment. More tourists for Maldives means more tax income for the government directly via TGST, Green Tax and indirectly from a more stimulated industry of SMEs, and other benefits of stimulating the economy that
creates job opportunities for locals as well.

MATATO applauds Ministry of Tourism and MMPRC for what they have done and accomplished this year with the limited budgets and hopes with more resources for next year, they will be able to deliver better results for the destination.

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