The number of visitors to the Maldives so far this year has increased by 12 percent compared to the same period last year, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism. The data shows 174,000 tourists have visited the country so far this year — an average of 6,200 tourists daily.

Around 155,000 visitors were recorded in the first three weeks of last year, with this year seeing an increase of about 20,000 over the same period.

Should current figures hold, the Maldives is expected to attract 2.3 million tourists by the end of 2024, Minister of Tourism Ibrahim Faisal said during the inauguration of the Special Plan to develop the skills of Maldivian youth to excel in coding in the global market.

“Our target this time, in our work with MMPRC [Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation], is 2 million [tourists]. However, if the Chinese and Indian markets are maintained, I think tourist arrivals will reach 2.3 million in 2024. If so, it would be a huge improvement. We are working on that.” Faisal said.

Faisal said he hoped that the tourism industry would make great strides by familiarising young people with emerging businesses through technology and by providing opportunities for young people who want to pursue their careers in the field.

The minister said that the current administration would make a sustained effort to empower the youth, more so than any previous administration. This will also bring significant improvements to the nation’s economy with one of the areas that will benefit the most being tourism industry, he said, adding that the Ministry of Tourism will also provide opportunities to those who want to advance in ancillary sectors.

The minister said he looked forward to soon launching a world-class application to promote the Maldives tourism.

“The industry will benefit from online tourism marketing efforts. Training young people in this field will create more ways to promote Maldives online and this will bring great growth to the industry,” he said.

The list of tourist arrivals has seen some shifts as the number has increased. Russia, similar to 2023, topped the list of arrivals with 18,500 tourists so far.

India, which listed second last year, is now in fifth position in terms of arrivals with 13,900 tourists — 3,000 fewer than last year — arriving thus far.

Although the number of tourists from India have decreased, the number of tourists from Italy, the United Kingdom (UK), Germany, France and Switzerland have increased.

Italian tourists were the second largest draw so far this year with 18,100 tourists. Over the same period last year, Italy came in third with 14,000 — meaning 4,000 more have visited so far.

Chinese was the third biggest tourism source market with 16,000 visiting thus far; a marked leap from being eighth during the same period last year.

The UK, same as last year, came in fourth. However, with 14,500 tourists travelling to the Maldives this year, this was a 10 percent rise when compared to the same period last year.

With the current administration aiming to attract at least two million tourists this year, the Maldives will need to welcome 166,000 tourists per month to achieve this target.