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Maldives recorded 67,478 tourists to its paradise beaches for the month of January 2010, making it the strongest month in tourist arrivals for the past five-year period. MATI, the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry which represents the private sector in tourism, said there have been some dynamic changes in the tourism industry such as “surface arrivals”, i.e. passengers in passenger-liners passing though Maldives in a relatively less amount of time.

Following the global downturn in tourism, many Maldivian resorts and tour operators cut their prices, some as much as from 30 to 40 percent. The introduction of many low budget airlines has made Maldives a much affordable and accessible destination than before. While this has led to an increase in tourist numbers and generated more income for the economy in the form of bed taxes, the disposable income from the middle tourist market is expected to take some more time in order to make a more stronger positive impact on the Maldives’ economy as a whole.
The Maldives’ tourism industry made a miraculously fast recovery -- within a year in fact -- despite the 2004 tsunami, prompting tour operators to be more innovative. The fastest growing sector in the tourism industry has now become the live-aboard sector which provides an affordable alternative to travel, dive and surf in the Maldives at cheaper rates. MATI predicted modest growth for the year 2010, expressing hope that there will be a much more pronounced and significant growth in 2011.

Maldives Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has invited proposals to operate Herethere Island Resort. The tender announcement for the 456-bed resort island in Addu atoll, south of the Equator, invites both local and international parties with a minimum experience of running a 4-or a 5-star, 300-bed hotel for 5 years. The applying company should be able to procure funds from an international bank and pay a non-refundable deposit of US$ 7 to 10 million at the time of signing the contract.

MTDC said the advance payment will ensure that the successful company is capable of managing the resort: “Herethere has received a permanent license to run the resort. There are 150 tourists in the resort, at present. The company will earn income even at the beginning. We considered everything and decided that a large sum should be paid in advance by the company, as a commitment.”
The company said that the period of lease of Herethere will be finalized after referring to the proposal submitted by the successful party. MTDC was set up by the government as a public corporation whereby Maldivian citizens can invest shares and reap the benefits of the lucrative tourism industry. The government issued a hotel license to MTDC at US$2500 per bed rate. 

Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tours Operators (MATATO) took part in Outbound Travel Mart (OTM) held in Mumbai from 6-8 February 2010. Crown Tours Maldives, a member of MATATO, participated 2 officials from the company who were joined by 14 other participants from MATATO and the Maldives travel industry. This is first time that MATATO took part in an overseas event of this nature along with its members. Maldivian travel agents obtained a better chance in showcasing their products to the Indian market through the OTM-Mumbai.

OTM is India’s leading travel show with a clear focus on outbound travel. With more than 1,500 exhibitors from 54 countries and 36 Indian States, an ever-increasing number of foreign country representations, and a committed visitorship of more than 186,000 visitors, India is one of the fastest growing markets of outbound tourists. Even in the present economic scenario, the Indian economy continues to grow at about 6 percent every year -- a market of over 10 million people traveling overseas and growing at 17 percent each year.
India is an emerging market for Maldives. Last year Maldives welcomed 15,850 Indian visitors to Maldives. Maldives is quickly becoming Indian honeymooners’ choice of paradise, with the Maldivian romantic resorts paving way for a memorable holiday experience. MATATO said that it intends to take part in more such promotional events in the future.

Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed has set up a three-member committee to oversee a possible adjustment of a 'National Average Rate’ for all islands leased as resorts. The move comes in the wake of the President meeting with the senior members of the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI), a private influential lobby group representing the dynamic tourism industry of Maldives.

The three-member committee consists of Attorney General Husnu Su-ood, Economic Development Minister Mohamed Rasheed and Tourism Minister Dr. Ahmed Ali Sawad. Presidential Spokesman Mohamed Zuhair said that rather than pursue a policy of increasing leases on resorts, the government was keener in identifying how the middle-income tourist market can be tapped more efficiently.
A Cabinet Minister said that establishing a National Average Rate was legitimate under the contracts signed with hoteliers. He said that rather than take a National Average Rate on already functioning resorts, the Government was more interested in seeing how the National Average Rate can be applied once a resort runs out of its lease period and seeks renewal of contract. Among the plans the Government has in the pipeline this year include increasing of lease periods of resort islands to 50 years.

Holiday Inn Male' has launched Day Packages to ensure that tourists donot undergo the frustration of spending long hours at the airportwaiting for their flights home.

“Guests departing the Maldives are required to check out of their resort island accommodation on the morning that they fly out of Malé. Due to flight schedules that often means they have to wait up to ten hours at the airport until their flight departs, which means a very abrupt end to a great holiday,” said Tabatha Ramsey, General Manager and Director of Sales & Marketing.
“To address this, our hotel has developed a series of day packages, allowing travelers to use the facilities of our hotel, taking away the frustration of waiting and instead providing a pleasant and relaxing end to their stay in the Maldives.” Guests have the choice of two, day packages, both with two-way airport transfers complements of the hotel’s own speedboat. The Day Use Room Package, from US$165, provides room check-in 2:00pm with a late check-out at 10:30pm.

The Tourism Ministry has announced that it is in the stages of compiling the final draft of guidelines to regulate procedures concerning traveling around and docking in Maldives' archipelago.

The draft regulation was posted on the web to canvass varying views and re-drafted taking into account the opinions and expertise of industry insiders. The Ministry said that the final draft will also be consulted with concerned parties before the government adopts it as official law.
The government started drafting guidelines two years ago on the request of tourism operators as no regulations currently exist that will facilitate travel and lodging of foreign yachts crossing Maldives waters.

Maldives is preparing for the BIT Fair that will be held from 18 to 21 February in Milan, Italy. Maldives Tourism Promotion Board had said that it has met with all parties that will be represented at the Maldives stall at the fair. According to the MTPB, 45 officials from 23 companies from the tourism industry will participate.

The Maldives stand will promote many activities to stir interest in the country. Among the activities planned are to lobby for Maldives to be selected among the new Seven Wonders of the World.
According to Ibrahim Asim, the Marketing Executive of MTPB, every day a lucky winner will also get a free holiday package to Maldives.

Crown Tours Maldives will be participating at the upcoming ITB Fair (Internationale Tourismus-Börse/International Tourism-Exchange) held at Berlin, Germany from the 10th to 14th March 2010.

In collaboration with the Maldives Tourism Promotion Board, we will be participating at Maldives Stand 5.2A(Aisa Pacific Hall)
Crown Tours Participants:
Director Marketing: Mr. Ally Ahmed
Sales Executive: Ms. Nadhira Ahmed
Sales Assistant: Ms. Wina Cao Quang.
If you would like to meet any of our representatives, please notify us by email at sales@crowntoursmaldives.com
See you soon at ITB!

Crown Tours Maldives in collaboration with Maldives Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB) will be taking part in the forthcoming MITT 2010 to be held in Moscow, Russia from the 17th  to 20th March 2010.

Krasnaya Presnya Exhibition Complex, ZAO Expocentre – Moscow,Russia.
Dates: 17th to 20th March 2010
Maldives Stand Number: F 196
Crown Tours Participants:
Director Marketing: Mr. Ally Ahmed
Manager Reservations: Ms. Adam Shakir
If you would like to meet any of our representatives, please notify us by email at sales@crowntoursmaldives.com
See you soon at MITT!

Maldives will privatize its international airport located just a few minutes by boat ride from the capital Male’ but could also sell down other state enterprises and bring private capital to a domestic bank, according to the International Monetary Fund.

"A central plank will be the privatization of the airport (at Hulhule island), but stakes in the telecommunications company have already been sold and other enterprises and services (such as electricity, water and sewage) could also be divested," the IMF said in a recent report.
A stake in the telecoms firm has been sold for 40 million US dollars and "a majority stake in the airport is expected to be sold in the coming months", the IMF said in the report issued after the economic watchdog's annual consultations with the Maldives.


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