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Maldives welcomed a record number of 931,333 visitors for the year end 2011 and nears its target of welcoming a million tourists in a year. The figure indicates a 17.6 percent growth when compare to last year’s arrival of 791,917 visitors.

China recorded the highest arrival figure with 198,655 visitors. United Kingdom ranked second with 104,508 visitors and with 90,517 Germany appeared as the 3rd largest market for Maldives. Chinese arrival increased from 118,961 to 198,655 visitors which represents a stunning 67 percent increase when compared to last year. China enjoys 21.3 percent of total tourist arrivals. Japan recorded a negative growth while India reported a 20.3 percent growth.

The second largest source market for Maldives, the United Kingdom recorded a negative growth of 8.5 percent while Italy also recorded -7.3 percent. UK still holds 11.2 percent of market share. Germany, France, Switzerland and Russia showed a positive growth. Tourist arrival from Russia grew by 30.2 percent and the figure stood at 63,936. The Europe maintained 57.7 percent of the total market share for Maldives.

While tourist arrivals to Maldives are in double digit growth, the operational bed capacity also increased from 21,701 to 24,490. Out of registered 101 resorts in Maldives in average 93 resorts were operational during 2011.

Resort occupancy recorded a slight growth from 76.7 to 80.1 percent. While destination wide occupancy rate stood at 73.1 percent which included Resorts, Hotels, Guest Houses and Safari vessels. The average duration of stay dropped from 7.4 to 7 days due to increase in Chinese arrivals.

The current trend indicates that Maldives will surpass a million tourist arrivals in a year target next year.

Centara Hotels & Resorts has announced that its second property in the Maldives will soft-open in August 2012. This premium four star Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa Maldives is set on a pristine island, just 15 minutes away from Male International Airport by speedboat.
With its adult-focused beach villas and over water villas scattered around the island, the resort delivers privacy and tranquility. Each Beach Villa totals 42 square meters of total living space, most with a choice of either king or twin bed, while the Premium Beach Villas feature a romantic outdoor bathtub. The Deluxe Water Villas are tastefully designed in an exotic and light décor and boast 42 square meters of living space including a private furnished terrace with steps down to the lagoon.  Ideal for couples, the Spa Deluxe Water Villas are exclusively equipped with an outdoor Jacuzzi.
The resort offers guests plenty of opportunities to relax and rejuvenate with a beachfront swimming pool and a fantastic well-being area complete with its dedicated beach and fitness centre.
The resort will undoubtedly provide a trendy and serene holiday experience with adult-oriented accommodation, a fantastic well-being area for guests’ every need, and extensive recreational facilities and activities.

Male’; The second stage of leg three of Volvo Ocean Race kicks off from Maldives today. The 3000 mile leg from Maldives to Sanya is considered to be a tactical one.

 The 11th edition of the race includes Team Sanya, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Groupama sailing team, Team Telefónica, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand and PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG.

The sailors comprise of 15 nationalities; New Zealand, Australia, France, Spain, United States, Great Britain, Ireland, South Africa, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Norway, Brazil, China and Belgium. Amongst the 11 crewmembers on board each of the six Volvo Open 70s are the world’s best sailors including Olympic gold medalists, world champions and America’s Cup winners.

The race started in late October from Alicante, Spain and would continue for nine months. The teams are to sail over 39,000 nautical miles via Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, Cape Horn, Itajai, Miami, Lisbon and Lorient. Maldives appeared in the racing map following security issues around east coast of Africa. Boats competing in the Volvo Ocean Race were transported onboard an armed ship to Maldives from Abu Dhabi.

As the second stage of leg three started from Maldives, the sailors are to pass through the straits of Melacca on their way to Sanya, China. The first section promises to be pretty direct between the Maldives and the Straits of Malacca

Volvo Ocean Race is an exceptional test of sailing prowess and human endeavour which has been built on the spirit of great seafarers - fearless men who sailed the world’s oceans aboard square rigged clipper ships more than a century ago.
The spirit that drove those commercial sailors along the web of trade routes, deep into the bleak latitudes of the Southern Ocean and around the world’s most dangerous capes, emerges today in the form of the Volvo Ocean Race, a contest now seen as the pinnacle of achievement in the sport.
It is undeniably the world’s premier global race and one of the most demanding team sporting events in the world.

The Airport Development Charge of 25 US dollars which was to be levied from each departing international passenger from 1st January 2012 by GMR Group which operates Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) will not be levied as decided previously.

An agreement has been reached between the government of Maldives and GMR Group to deduct the 25 US dollars per person from concession fee to be paid to the government according to Bangalore-based Company’s CFO Siddarth Kapur. GMR proposed government to absorb the amount following the Civil Courts ruling that outlawed GMR charging 25 US dollars as ADC and 2 US dollars as insurance fee directly from departing international passengers from INIA.

The Managing Director of Maldives Airports Company Limited Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim also confirmed to local newspapers that an agreement between the two have reached to deduct the fee from the concession fee.

GMR Group and Malaysia Airports consortium aim to develop Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) formerly known as Male’ International Airport into a global standard airport by the year 2014, having got a lease to maintain the airport for 25 years.

The Secretary General of Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) Sim Ibrahim Mohamed has said that Maldives is emerging as a destination for family vacations.

To support Mr. Mohamed’s argument he said that the number of children visible in Maldivian resorts has increased during this peak season in particular. “Families are coming to Maldives because they perceive Maldives as a safe destination” Mr. Mohamed said.

The opening of Jumeirah Dhevanafushi as a family resort also helps to increase arrival of family oriented holidays. In addition many other resorts in Maldives have facilities for kids and activities that are geared towards children on vacation.

Family vacation is an important segment of travelers and more and destination are targeting the segment and Maldives is not exception.

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