Maldives ensures hassle-free vacation
Shikha Mishra, Account Director, MMPRC India Office lays the marketing strategy and shadows the importance of tourism in the Maldives post the pandemic.
Kindly throw light on the current status and popularity of Maldives as a tourist destination in India.
Currently, it is extremely crucial for us to reinforce the confidence within the travellers that the Maldives is Safe to travel. The Maldives recently resumed tourism and launched a campaign “Rediscover Maldives...the Sunny Side of Life”. In the recent survey conducted by a leading international travel magazine, Conde Nast Traveller, Maldives was rated as the most preferred destination to travel for Indians when they begin planning their outbound travel. A number of Media houses and travel agents are echoing the same sentiment and we are confident that the Maldives will see a rise in its numbers from India once the flights are in place. Currently Air India has begun operating once a week flights between India and Maldives and we are confident with Go Air also planning to begin its seasonal flights, the numbers will show a rapidly upwards graph soon.
What are your marketing plans and strategy to bolster your share in Indian outbound market? What are the market segments are you’re focusing on, in India?
We are planning a number of marketing activities in the Indian market to promote the Maldives. This will be in conjunction with ongoing sales, media and PR activities that are running on an ongoing basis. In the time of this unexpected crisis of the COVID-19 Pandemic; MMPRC has revamped and reimagined its marketing strategy. With travel at a standstill initially and now picking up slowly, we have evaluated and moved towards innovative ways to keep our consumer engaged. We began all communication by putting out the message of 'Visit Maldives...Later' promoted on all our social media platforms to ensure that travellers took care of their own health and safety by staying home and safe.
We then reached out to travel agents virtually with extensive webinars and online training to update and enhance their knowledge about the Maldives. Additionally, as digital initiatives we also organized a Facebook Live event and an online press conference that was very well attended by the media, social media influencers and travel agents. India's biggest media journalists and social media influencers spoke of their experience during the FB Live of having visited the Maldives or what they are looking forward to experiencing once travel begins. We also organised a webinar with the Maldives Embassy in India to ensure the right messages are conveyed to the media.
How important is tourism for the GDP of Maldives?
Tourism plays a very important role when it comes to the GDP of Maldives. In 2018, contribution of travel and tourism to GDP (% of GDP) for Maldives was 66.4 %. The beautiful, unpolluted beaches on small coral islands, blue waters and sunsets attract tourists worldwide bring a large portion of the GDP and Foreign exchange.
How are resorts in Maldives planning to lure back customers after the pandemic? How have they ensured all precautions have been taken to prevent COVID-19?
Following the reopening of Maldivian borders to international visitors on 15th July 2020, Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC) has announced that 146 of its 156 resorts in operation will reopen to guests by the end of October 2020 following health and safety measures set out by the Ministry of Health and Tourism.
In line with the comprehensive COVID-19 safe tourism guidelines and hygiene certification programme issued by the Maldivian Ministry of Tourism in June 2020, all 156 resorts situated in the island nation will be required to take protective measures, ensuring the safety of tourists and also staff working in the industry.
* In accordance to health requirements all travellers travelling to Maldives are required to submit a self-declarative health declaration within 24 hours prior their departure to Maldives. You may submit the form electronically via http://imuga.immigration.gov.mv
* Those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms on arrival must undergo a PCR test. If one member of a group traveling together displays symptoms, all members of the group shall be tested. Tourists or the tourist facility, where the tourist is booked to stay in the Maldives, shall bear the cost of the PCR test conducted on symptomatic tourists
* In the case of a positive PCR result, the tourist facility, where the tourist is booked to stay in the Maldives, shall be given the option of transferring the tourist to their booked accommodation to isolate in their designated room or to isolate in a government run facility. These options will also be subject to the individual’s medical condition. Tourist facilities shall bear responsibility for ensuring that the costs related to the transfer and accommodations of individuals who require treatment at a government managed facility are met.
* Vessels, guest houses and hotels on inhabited islands may not accept tourists who have tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival. The tourist facility, where the tourist is booked to stay in the Maldives will be responsible for ensuring that associated costs are met.
* At the airport, tourists will be isolated from the point of identification of symptoms or based on positive test results.
* Tourists requiring PCR testing on arrival shall be accommodated in a transit facility until their PCR results are received.
* Temperature checks and screening measures will be carried out at the first point of entry for tourists and special attention will be paid to individuals exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms including, but not limited to, cough, runny nose, or shortness of breath. At the resort, a safe distance of at least 1 meter shall be maintained between tourists and staff at all times. Minimal staff shall be involved with receiving tourists at the resort.
How are the hotels planning to bring back business and what is the future of hospitality in your destination?
All resort facilities and tourist establishments have been regulated to ensure that they are in line with the COVID-19 tourism guidelines; a COVID-19 safe tourism guideline has been issued by the Ministry of Tourism along with a certification program to uphold proper safety and hygiene standards. The signature “one-island-one-resort” concept means that visitors to the country are based in their respective resorts. Together, these unique arrangements make it easier for visitors to maintain social distancing, whilst enjoying a truly safe and secluded holiday. While visitors get to enjoy the beautiful country, it is vital to provide them with a clear understanding and awareness of the safety measures in place, to ensure that they get to enjoy a hassle-free vacation. They are requested to adhere to all measures stated in this document and ensure that all necessary requirements are met prior to arrival, during arrival and departure from the Maldives.
Around The World