Tourism businesses have described the government's decision to promote Maldives under a partnership with Spanish football club Celta De Vigo as a good marketing opportunity.
The government on Monday signed Maldives on as a sponsor of Celta De Vigo, currently ranked number 18 on the Spanish League's relegation zone. Tourism businesses have expressed hope that the country will soon witness the benefits of the partnership.
Participants at the World Travel Market London (WTM) currently ongoing in in ExCeL London, United Kingdom agree that advertising the Maldivian brand through the Spanish football club will garner a lot of exposure for the country. The benefits of the partnership would become evident within an year or two, they estimate.
Director of Sunland Hotels, Mohamed Nazeer stated that sponsoring Celta De Vigo would be beneficial for Maldivian tourism.
"This is a very good decision. It is our hope that the Spanish market improves in the near future", Nazeer said.
According to most recent statistics published by the Ministry of Tourism, 26,438 tourists arrived in Maldives from Spain this year by September 2019. This is a 14% increase compared to the same period last year.
Speaking with AVAS, a director of the 3A company, Moosa Shiyam currently present at WTM said that Spain was previously a massive market in Maldives. He believes the declining market will improve with the new partnership.
"This is something we should definitely do. This is a unique move that will bring a lot of development [to the sector],", Shiyam said.
Owner of Rahaa Resort, Moosa Manik said that promoting the country through a football club from Spanish league 'La Liga' was a good decision. He further stated that such advertisements must be planned and initiated more often.
"Any action promoting Maldives is desirable. This should be scheduled and planned well. Advertising the country in a massive stadium is a good idea, as it will bring more exposure. These initiatives must be undertaken more often after consultation with the industry", Moosa suggested.
An official from a tour operator bringing in tourists from the Spanish market revealed that teams such as Celta De Vigo have large fan bases, and that the benefits of sponsoring the team will be seen in the future.
"This is a good decision by Maldives. We received a couple of calls following the advertisement seeking information about it so its evident that the information is out there and in circulation. This was a very smart decision", the official said.
Under the three year partnership between Maldives and Celta De Vigo, Maldives will be promoted as the team's sleeve sponsor. Costing USD 900,000 per year, USD 2.7 million will be spent for the three year partnership.