Tourist arrivals to the Maldives edged up 1.9 percent year-on-year (YoY) to 112,282 in August, as the number of visitors from its largest market, China, continued to drop, while arrivals from a handful of European countries propped up the arrival figure.
The slowdown comes during a year when more and more Sri Lankan corporates are venturing into the Maldives, and the two existing hotel chains committing to
Arrivals from Asia and the Pacific declined 5.2 percent YoY to 57,679 tourists. The entire North East Asian market tanked as Chinese arrivals fell 11.3 percent YoY to 36,217 tourists.
Due to the price and exotic nature of the Maldives’ tourism product, high-spending Chinese who are now the world’s most sought after tourists, visit the archipelago as a status symbol, compared to the low to middle-income earning Chinese who visit Sri Lanka on budget round tours.
The Chinese arrivals to the Maldives could be declining due to the lack of a diverse range of tourism products in the Maldives, which is known as a honeymoon destination with little to experience from a revisit.
As Chinese depend on travel agents, the delay in arrivals’ decline seen after the Chinese economy slowed down, may also be experienced during the recovery that seems to be taking place currently.
The only sub regions in Asia, from which arrivals increased healthily, were South Asia with 25.2 percent growth YoY, and the relatively small Oceania market which expanded 18.7 percent YoY.
Indian arrivals increased 20.4 percent YoY to 4,175 tourists, and arrivals from Sri Lanka increased by 21 percent to 2,274 tourists.
The European market grew 8.1 percent YoY to 43,109 arrivals. The Western Europe segment contracted 4.9 percent YoY with German arrivals falling 10.8 percent YoY to 6,869 tourists.
Northern European visitor levels increased by 13.3 percent YoY, mainly through an increase in arrivals from Britain, a market which grew 13.4 percent YoY to 8,852 tourists despite Brexit which happened in June.
Arrivals from Southern Europe registered a 25 percent growth YoY, with Italian arrivals up 16.1 percent YoY to 6,507 tourists, and Spanish arrivals increasing 36.6 percent YoY to 4,220 tourists.
Russian arrivals decreased by 9.4 percent YoY to 3,034 tourists, pushing down arrivals from Central and Eastern Europe down to a 1.2 percent growth YoY.
Middle Eastern arrivals increased 25.3 percent YoY, as tourists from Saudi Arabia increased to 3,223, a 45.7 percent improvement YoY.
Arrivals from the Americas increased 13.5 percent YoY to 3,607 tourists, predominantly from the US.
Occupancy rates for the month marginally fell to 70.5 percent from 71 percent YoY, while the average duration of stays increased to 5.6 days from 5.5 days YoY.
For the first 8 months of 2016, arrivals increased 2.3 percent YoY to 842,635 tourists. Arrivals from Asia and the Pacific declined 3 percent YoY to 399,256 tourists, with the fall in the Chinese market downplaying gains from South Asia.
European arrivals increased 6.6 percent YoY to 370,208 tourists, despite a marginal loss in arrivals from Western Europe, arrivals from the Middle East increased 20.5 percent YoY to 34,933 tourists, while arrivals from the Americas increased 4.9 percent YoY to 31,330 tourists.
Hotel occupancy for the 8 months fell to 68.5 percent from 70.4 percent YoY, while the average duration of stays remained at 5.7 days.