Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom has said the Russia-Ukraine war has caused a loss of 70 percent from the Russian tourist market.
The minister was summoned to the Parliament on Monday, and Thinadhoo North MP Abdul Mughuny inquired from the minister regarding the effects of the war on tourism.
In his response, the minister said the loss incurred due to the war has been significant. However, he said the government and resorts are working hard to secure additional markets.
'At no time have those working in the tourism sector, those in the private sector, remained without working hard to secure other markets. They have always tried to reap fruits from all trees,' the minister said.
The minister further said that before the Russia-Ukraine war, 20 percent of Maldives' tourism market was occupied by the Russian market. Therefore, the war has caused significant losses, making it essential to work hard to secure more markets, he said.
Noting that India led the tourism market last year, the minister said the tourism sector was working to revive the market this year. Currently, 10.9 percent of tourist arrivals are from India.
While the United Kingdom has made great strides in the tourism market possessing 12 percent of arrivals as the current top market, the minister said Russia has moved down to the second place with 11.9 percent. The minister said Ukraine, which used to be among the top ten markets, has fallen off the list and currently possesses only 1.9 percent of arrivals.
The Tourism Minister said Maldives' tourism currently accommodates any person who wishes to the Maldives. However, he noted that changes in the global world would affect the Maldives' tourism, and assured that the government is working hard to mitigate the losses caused due to the war and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister further noted that when calculating the number of tourists expected to visit the Maldives this year, the number of tourists expected to visit from China will also be considered. While China used to be a top source market, tourist arrivals declined from the country after China closed its borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country recently started opening back up, and a considerable amount of tourists are expected to visit the Maldives from China this year, he added.