Maldives tourism promotion body hails '90 percent' popularity

Maldives has been able to maintain its tourism popularity at 90 percent which has contributed healthier arrivals throughout the year, the country's main tourism promotion body has said.

In an exclusive interview with Avas, Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC) acting managing director Haris Mohamed shed light on the efforts to boost tourism in the Maldives during the year where he conceded that it had been a result of a joint effort from relevant authorities.

Haris credited the improving tourism industry to the special emphasis given to promoting the archipelago as a destination.

"When we're promoting the Maldives, our primary objective has been to improve the perception the world has about the Maldives. This a whole different ball game. Statistics have shown us that the perception about the Maldives has improved considerably this year than ever before," Haris explained.

Haris however, admitted the significant challenge the state owned corporation has faced in its efforts to improve the perception.

"As you know, a lot of our politicians and other leading people do so much to tarnish the reputation of the country as a tourism destination. We're talking about anti-tourism campaigns across various platforms to damage the image of our country. So we're forced to use our resources to counter and balance such negativity," he added.

He also hailed president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's economic and tourism policies as a major factor to the country enjoying the present tourism boost.

"Now all relevant institutions are working together. Its a collaborative efforts between the president's office, the tourism ministry, foreign office, embassies and Ambassadors. This is why we've been able to maintain our popularity at 90 percent."

MMPRC's comments are backed by the significantly improved arrival numbers this year. According to official tourism statistics, Maldives has welcomed a total 1.3 million tourists this year with major markets showing considerable improvement to previous years.