The island nation of the Maldives is a collection of 1,190 pristine coral islands in the Indian Ocean spanning an area of 298 square kilometers, with a local population of 345,000. Tourism constitutes up to 48% of direct and 94% of indirect contribution to GDP (2013), making it imperative for the island nation to maintain its attractiveness to visitors and potential investors. The Maldives continues to maintain an image of a tropical island getaway for special events and occasions. Many tourists arrive expecting a memorable once in a lifetime experience, consequently the location, product offerings and brand legacy of a resort are impetus to its success.
The Maldives reached a record 1.2 million visitor arrivals in 2014. From 2008 to 2014, visitor arrivals to the Maldives grew by a CAGR of 9.9%, exceeding the growth rate and numbers of other remote island destinations such as the Seychelles and Mauritius (which recorded 1.9% and 6.6% respectively over the same period). In 2012, the Maldives for the first time received more visitor arrivals than Mauritius and has grown since then. The increasing flight connectivity to key source markets as well as the growing popularity of the destination amongst the Chinese market are key. Interestingly despite the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-09 all three resort destinations experienced only minor decreases in tourism arrivals and quickly recovered despite the high costs related to travelling to these locations.
Maldives has witnessed increasing demand from Asia Pacific countries since 2008, with a 25% CAGR in visitor arrivals from this region from 2008 to 2014. This growth may be attributable to rising middle class, strong economic growth in key source markets and improved connectivity from the region. Additionally the Maldivian government has invested in marketing the destination actively in Asia Pacific and in China. On the other hand Europe which has historically been Maldives largest feeder market, only grew by 1% CAGR from 2008 to 2014.
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