Resort earnings fell by US$529 million (MVR 8 billion) last year compared to the previous year, according to data released by the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI). Resorts generated a total revenue of US$3.9 billion (MVR 60 billion) last year, down from US$4.4 billion (MVR 68 billion) in 2022, MATI reported.

According to the association, while resort earnings fell last year, earnings in the tourism sector also declined by US$406 million (MVR 6.3 billion) — the sector generated US$5 billion in total last year, compare to US$5.4 billion in 2022.

Total tourism sector earnings for 2023 stood at US$5 billion, with resort earnings reaching US$3.9 billion and tourism goods and services tax (TGST) on resorts totalling US$481 million, MATI said.

Resorts account for 85 percent of tourism taxes paid and 90 percent of green tax.

Despite around 1.7 million tourists visiting the Maldives last year, both tourism revenue and occupancy rates have declined year-on-year.

The World Bank, in a recent report, attributed the decline in tourism revenue to a shift in demand from higher-end resorts to lower-end guesthouses, thus prompting the international financial institution to downgrade their 2024 growth projections for the Maldives.

While the administration aims to attract two million tourists this year and is preparing to unveil several upgrades to Velana International Airport, including a new terminal, later this year, the World Bank estimates that the new upgrades, if completed on schedule, will boost tourism revenue and productivity.