Tourists to Maldives edge up despite recent emergency

Dec 28, 2015 (LBO) – Maldives reported higher tourist arrivals in November despite a recent state of emergency, a media report said.

The number of tourists who visited the Maldives last month increased by 0.5 percent to 90,218 from 89,778 in November 2014, statistics published by the tourism ministry showed.

A total of 1,114,993 tourists visited during the January to November period, compared with 1,011,335 in the same period last year, according to Haveeru Online.

In comparison, Sri Lanka received 1,592,266 million tourists in the January to November period, up 18.1 percent .

Asia Pacific (49.9 percent) was the largest source market for Maldives tourism increasing by 1.9 percent year-over-year. Europe came in second with 42.3 percent.

China at 30.8 percent still dominates the Maldives tourism market, while America increased its share to 3.4 percent of the total arrivals.

Maldives declared a month-long state of emergency on November 4 in what had been extraordinary security measures following the explosion on a speedboat carrying the president and subsequent discovery of an arms haul. The state of emergency was lifted a week later.

Aviation sector took the brunt of the political turmoil in Maldives recently with a local airline announcing it had to cancel 29 flights due to the recent state of emergency.

An official from Mega Maldives Airlines said it was prepared to begin operations to the Chinese city of Shenyang when the state of emergency was declared. The security move prompted the airline to put off its plans.

President Abdulla Yameen and First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim were traveling to Male from the airport on September 28 when the explosion took place. They had returned home that morning after concluding their visit to Saudi Arabia to perform the annual hajj pilgrimage.

The president escaped unhurt, but the first lady and two presidential aides suffered serious injuries.