The Maldives welcomed 143,041 tourists in December 2017, which was a 19.7 percent increase compared to the corresponding month in 2016, with increasing numbers of tourists visiting from all major source markets in Europe and Asia.
With a year-on-year (YoY) growth of 21.3 percent, 74,322 Europeans arrived in the Indian Ocean archipelago during December, which is the peak season during the winter months in the northern hemisphere.
Despite the upcoming elections in Italy promising to be another key decider on globalization versus protectionism, the political uncertainty does not appear to have affected the Italian holiday spirit, with 14,756 tourists arriving in the Maldives, which was an increase of 32.1 percent YoY.
Similarly, the dialogues with regard to the economic fallouts of Brexit did not seem to have affected British tourists, with 9,719 Britons arriving, recording a growth of 13.3 percent YoY.
Interest on the archipelago from Germany too was high, with 9,042 German tourists arriving, recording a growth of 13.9 percent YoY, while the modest recovery of the Russian economy appears to have spurred travelling away during the wintery months as well, with 7,567 Russians arriving in the sunny Maldives at a growth rate of 36.1 percent YoY.
Meanwhile, 55,975 tourists arrived from Asia and the Pacific, with the immediate regional market growing by 17.9 percent YoY. Chinese arrivals increased 22.6 percent YoY to 19,918 tourists, reversing the on average negative tourism sourcing growth experienced from the East Asian giant this year. The continuing positive economic growth of Japan saw an arrivals growth of 9.2 percent, which was the higher than the norm in 2017, with 4,299 Japanese visitors holidaying in the Maldives.
Arrivals from neighbouring India increased 30.5 percent YoY, with 12,647 tourists visiting the archipelago in December. With a growth of 20.9 percent YoY, 7,141 arrivals from the Americas was recorded during the month as well.
Over the entirety of 2017, the Maldives welcomed 1.39 million tourists, which was a growth of 8 percent YoY, much higher than the slower growth in arrivals experienced by its neighbour Sri Lanka.
The Maldives attracted 646,343 Europeans during the year, with a growth of 12.4 percent YoY. Only major markets to record double digit growth were Russia and Italy, with arrivals from the UK, Germany and France experienced in low to mid-single digits. Arrivals from Asia and the Pacific grew by just 3.2 percent YoY to 617,123 tourists due to negative growth from China which accounted for nearly half of the total regional arrivals, while there was double digit growth in arrivals from India, although the volume of arrivals accounted for just 14 percent from the region.
The average duration of stay of a tourist to the Maldives in 2017 was 6.2 days, improving from 6 days in 2016, while the occupancy rate at Maldivian accommodation units fell to 61.1 percent in 2017 compared to 62.9 percent in 2016.