China has emerged as the leading source of tourists to the Maldives, according to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism. 23,972 tourists from China have visited the Maldives so far, accounting for 11 per cent of total tourist arrivals. This marks a notable change from last year’s rankings, where China was third, though it had previously been the top tourist market before the pandemic.
The increase in tourists from China has prompted considerations for additional flight services. Airlines such as Beijing Capital Airlines, China Eastern, and Sichuan Airlines are currently operating direct flights between China and the Maldives, facilitating this growing influx.
The surge in Chinese tourists aligns with diplomatic efforts, including the recent visit of President Dr Mohamed Muizzu to China following an invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping. This visit was seen as a crucial move in enhancing the attraction of Chinese tourists to the Maldives.
Russia follows closely behind China, securing the second spot with 21,898 tourists. Italy ranks third with 21,321 visitors, while the United Kingdom holds the fourth position with 18,078 tourists. India, which was the top source market at the end of last year, now stands at fifth place with 16,536 tourists.
The Maldives has seen a total of 214,470 tourists so far this year, marking a 13 per cent increase compared to the previous year. The daily average has risen to 7,300 tourists in the first four days of this month, compared to an average of 6,200 tourists per day last year.
In light of these statistics, the Maldivian government has set an ambitious target to attract two million tourists this year. However, the Ministry of Tourism aims to exceed this, setting its sights on welcoming 2.3 million tourists by the end of the year.