Marketing and Public Relations Corporation Maldives (MMPRC/Visit Maldives) welcomed the first direct flight from Hong Kong to the Maldives since 2020. A special ceremony was held at Velana International Airport to mark this joyful occasion, marking the arrival of Hong Kong Airlines flight HX791 from Hong Kong International Airport, taking tourists from this market to the Maldives.
Tourists were greeted with traditional boduberu; a vibrant cultural performance and was presented with a special gift set, including flowers. The holiday marks the return of Hong Kong Airlines tourists to the Maldives, a significant development since the onset of the global pandemic. The event was attended by distinguished guests: the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Maldives, His Excellency Ambassador Ms. Wang Lixin, representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL), Maldives Immigration Service, Maldives Customs Service, as well as government officials.
China has long been one of the most important markets for the Maldives tourism industry. The resumption of direct flights from China to the Maldives on 18 January 2023 marked the end of a three-year hiatus caused by border closures due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Until 2020, the Chinese market consistently topped the Maldives arrival charts. In the previous year, the Maldives received over 187,118 tourists from China, firmly establishing itself as one of the top three source markets for the Maldives. There has been a steady increase in arrivals since borders reopened.
Hong Kong remains an important market in the region. The establishment of direct connectivity with Hong Kong is expected to further boost arrivals.
MMPRC has consistently promoted the Maldives as a top destination in the Chinese market through strategic marketing activities. In 2023, MMPRC conducted successful joint online campaigns and study tours. Notably, the Maldives reached its highest ever level of tourist arrivals last year, surpassing 1.8 million tourists. In addition, the Maldives won the prestigious title of "World's Leading Destination" for the fourth year in a row at the World Travel Awards 2023. MMPRC was awarded the title of "World's Leading Tourism Council" for the second year in a row. In addition to these accolades, the Maldives received the newly launched Global Tourism Resilience Award for its ability to quickly recover and thrive after shocks. These victories represent a remarkable triumph for the Maldives tourism sector, highlighting our destinations' pre-eminent position on the global tourism landscape and the enduring appeal of the sunnier side of life for travelers from around the world.
This year, MMPRC plans to host a number of exciting events for Chinese market, including an e-learning campaign, digital promotion of leading Chinese apps, out-of-home marketing initiatives, joint advertising campaigns, study tours, social media campaigns and active participation in fairs and exhibitions. The resumption of flights and targeted marketing activities in the Chinese market could bring positive results for the Maldives tourism industry, cementing the Maldives as the first choice destination in the minds of Chinese travelers.