Maldives no longer has a tourism "off-season": Minister

Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom has said the "off-season" for tourism in the Maldives has ended.

Responding to questions posed by MPs at Monday's Parliament Sitting, the Minister said top tourism-sector officials agree that the Maldives no longer has a tourism off-season.

"It is not just me [stating this]. The pioneers of the tourism industry in the Maldives said it while speaking at the pioneer stall held to celebrate the golden year of tourism; they said the [off-season] no longer exists," he said.

Mausoom said the tourism statistics also attest to the fact that there is no off-season in the Maldives. He compared the pre-COVID arrival figures for May 2019 with those for May this year. The Minister said the numbers for the current month are still 23.3 percent ahead of the May 2019 figures.

"Therefore, it is very possible that the low season has passed. However, we have still not fully recovered this year," he said.

Mausoom said the overall number of tourists visiting Maldives' resorts is good. However, the occupancy rate of small hotels, guesthouses, and safaris is not satisfactory at this time, he said. He said that the occupancy of these places could be improved by improving domestic transportation. Noting that high-speed ferry services had been launched in Haa Dhaalu atoll, the Minister said he hoped the service would improve the guesthouse and safari business in the area in the coming days.

The Minister said small hotels, guesthouses, and safaris in the Maldives suffered the most due to the Russia-Ukraine war. Therefore, the situation of these markets must be taken into consideration, he said. He further said the Maldives' advertising budget is small compared to competing markets in the world.