A regular participant for 50 years, with its stand sponsored by the German ministry of tourism on the initial occasion, the Maldives is now the next partner country of ITB Berlin. The contracts were signed today by Abdulla Ziyath, Managing Director of the Maldives Marketing & PR Cooperation (MMPRC), and ITB Berlin Exhibition Director David Ruetz.
This cooperation is accompanied by high expectations: “During the one year marketing partnership we want to attract 1.9 million visitors to the Maldives, which represents an increase of some 8 per cent”, said Mohamed Khaleel, Chairman of the MMPRC. The aim is to attract these new tourists predominantly from the mid-market segment in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. The country is still preparing for this increase. The “Thumburi” resort development project, with between 20 and 30 hotels with bed capacities ranging from 25 to 100 is intended to provide additional capacity for mid-range tourism, as well as 4,000 new jobs. Eventually, from 2017 onwards, there will be accommodation for 200,000 additional visitors.
The introduction of a new, direct link from Frankfurt is expected to give a further boost to tourism: “Currently, when flying to our country, 90 per cent of our guests have to make a stop-over in the Middle East”, commented Hussain Afeef of the Maldives Association of the Tourism Industry. Lufthansa has now included Malé in its network and from December 2015 will be bringing vacationers to the island paradise in comfort twice weekly. The experienced tourism professional Afeef is confident that this will improve the situation significantly.
Consequently the ideal conditions are being provided for expansion, augmented by a large local workforce with the necessary tourism-related skills. It is now only necessary to ensure political stability. “There have recently been some negative reports about protests in Malé”, commented Khaleel. “We are a growing nation, and everyone here knows how important tourism is for us. The problems must be resolved, and we shall do all we can to maintain security and to ensure that this sector, the backbone of our economy, is not put at risk in any way.” Isabel Bommer
Photo: ITB Berlin Exhibition Director David Ruetz (left) and Abdulla Ziyath, Managing Director of the Maldives Marketing & PR Cooperation (MMPRC)
Axel Kaus, Kaus Media Services
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