UK set to replace Russia as top source market for tourism

The United Kingdom is set to become the Maldives' top source market for tourism as the Russia-Ukraine war changes tourism arrival patterns.

The top source market for tourist arrivals was Russia before the country waged war on Ukraine. By the end of March, Russia possessed 12.2 percent of tourist arrivals to the Maldives, with 52,081 arrivals. While the United Kingdom is the second top source market, possessing 11.6 percent of arrivals, 49,555 tourists had visited the Maldives from the UK by the end of March.

Official statistics publicized by the Tourism Ministry based on the analysis of the period between March 23 and 30 show the United Kingdom is 2,526 tourists short of replacing Russia as the top arrival source market. While the flight operations of airlines that Russian tourists frequented for their travel to the Maldives are suspended at this time, it is anticipated that the UK will soon take over Russia's spot as the top arrival country. A large number of British airlines operate to the Maldives.

The numbers show the third-most number of arrivals were recorded from neighboring India, with 46,154 arrivals. This accounts for 10.8 percent of arrivals.

According to the Tourism Ministry, a total of 146,905 tourists from across the world visited the Maldives in March. Although this is a 6.2 percent decline compared to the pre-pandemic numbers for the same period of 2019, it is a 37.9 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

The average arrival number for this year is at 4,805. A total of 427,677 tourists have visited the Maldives thus far this year, a 44.7 percent increase compared to the previous year.