The Maldives has set a target of attracting two million tourists in 2024 in an ambitious stride towards further boosting the tourism sector, Minister of Tourism Ibrahim Faisal has announced. This comes as the island nation achieved its national arrival target for 2023 ahead of schedule, marking the arrival of 1.8 million tourists before the year’s end.

However, Faisal, during an appearance on Public Service Media’s (PSM) ‘Raajje Miadhu’ programme, acknowledged the potential headwinds posed by global events such as the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and Israel’s war on Gaza. These challenges necessitate additional efforts to promote the Maldives as a premier tourist destination, he noted.

Expressing confidence in the capabilities of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), Faisal stated, “With the combined efforts of the MMPRC team and the tourism ministry, it is highly probable for the Maldives to attract over two million tourists.

“Our plan for 2024 is to increase our marketing campaigns to attract more travellers.”

As international travel trends continue to ascend, Faisal underscored the strategic importance of targeting specific markets to increase arrivals. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, China was the largest market for the Maldives. With the strengthening of China-Maldives relations, Faisal anticipates a surge in Chinese travellers to the Maldives next year.

“If we successfully attract more Chinese travellers, we can achieve the target of more than two million tourists in 2024. Provided the world does not face another crisis, our aspirations remain high,” Faisal said with cautious optimism. In addition to China, efforts will be made next year to attract more tourists from Russia.

The government expects the opening of 12 new tourist resorts in 2024, thereby adding 1,000 beds to the capacity of tourism establishments. While the Maldives reached its national arrival target for 2023 ahead of schedule, authorities expect two million arrivals before the end of the year. However, current arrival trends suggest that this ambition may not be achieved. Nonetheless, the 1.8 million tourist arrivals mark a national record.

The Maldives was recently crowned the ‘World’s Leading Destination’ at the World Tourism Awards (WTA), marking the country’s fourth consecutive win of this prestigious recognition. The MMPRC also clinched the World’s Leading Tourist Board 2023 title for the second year in a row.

The MMPRC revealed that it had conducted 348 promotional activities this year until November 23, reaching a staggering 4.5 billion people worldwide. According to the agency, this effort has “significantly bolstered the Maldives’ visibility as the ultimate tourist destination across continents.”