Tourist Arrivals to the Maldives up by 11% at the end of first eight months of 2014
Tourist arrivals to the Maldives grew by 11% at the end of first eight months of 2014 compared with that of 2013. The Maldives received a total of 805,890 tourists between January and August 2014, which was almost 80 thousand more than the same period of 2013. Growth was strongest during the month of January (18.5%), and weakest during the month of February (+5.7%). With a relaxed performance in March (6.1%), strong growth rates were recorded during the months of April (+16.2%) and May (+14.9%). As per World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international arrivals boosted during the month of April due to the shifted Easter holidays from late March during 2013 to the second half of April 2014. The month of June recorded a growth of 9%, which was close to the average for the period. July (13.9%) was also a strong month in terms of growth which was followed by a 5.9% growth in August, the second weakest performance during the period.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC continued its phenomenal performance, strengthening its newly claimed position at the top as the main market leader to the Maldives taking hold of 49.2% shares at the end of the period. The Maldives received a total of 396,842 tourists from this region between January and August 2014 attaining a growth rate of 19.3% compared with the same period in 2013. All sub regions within Asia Pacific posted above average growth rates with South East Asia as the best performer registering a growth of +51.3% for the period. North East Asia remained as the leading sub region within Asia Pacific accounting for over three fourth of arrivals from the region and nearly 38% of all arrivals to the Maldives during the period. North East Asia registered a healthy 16.9% growth for the period. South Asia was the second largest sub region within Asia and the Pacific, bringing in 42,678 tourists for the period, accounting for 11% of arrivals from the region and 5.3% of all arrivals to the country during the period. South East Asia, which posted the best growth for the period, followed closely behind with a market share of 4.7% injecting 37,699 tourists to the total arrivals during the period. Oceania registered a negative growth during the month of August (-2.1%), leading to a slight drop in its market share. With a total of 13,869 tourists at the end of the period, this sub region registered a positive growth of 12.6% in 2014, with the market share falling back to 1.7%.
In terms of leading markets from Asia and the Pacific region at the end of the period from January to August 2014, the Chinese market continues its remarkable performance. While the growth of the whole region was backed by the increased arrivals from this market, China took hold of over a quarter of all arrivals to the Maldives during the period. The Maldives received a total of 252,413 tourists from China at the end of August 2014, an increase of 17.5% compared with that of 2013. Market share from China stood at 31.3% at the end of the period. India was the second largest market from the region with 3.5% shares at the end of the period from January to August 2014. The market saw an increase of 17.2% with a total of 28,524 tourists for the period. Japan followed closely behind with 3.0% shares for the period being the third largest market from the region with 24,205 arrivals. Tourist arrivals to the Maldives from Korea saw a strong growth (32.4%) during the period in review. With a total of 21,337 arrivals between January and August 2014, market share stood at 2.6% making it as the fourth largest market from Asia and the Pacific.
EUROPE was the second largest market generator to the Maldives at the end of August 2014 with a share of 43.7%. A total of 351,858 tourists visited the Maldives from this region between January and August 2014, which was an increase of 1.9% compared with the same period in 2013. Looking at sub regions from Europe, Western Europe takes the lead taking hold of over a quarter of arrivals from Europe during the period. This sub region however, was among one of the weakest performers in terms of growth rate (+0.9%). With a total of 138,978 tourists, by the end of the period from January to August 2013, the market share was at 17.2% from this region. Central Eastern Europe was the second largest sub region taking hold of 9.3% shares during the period in review. This was the only sub region with a negative growth (-3.9%) at the end of the period. Northern Europe followed closely behind with 9% shares. Arrivals from this sub region grew by 6.3% at the end of the period. While Southern Europe contributed 7.1% shares to the total arrivals to the Maldives during the period, East Mediterranean Europe share stood at 1%. Both the regions recorded an increase of 6.5% at the end of the period.
By individual markets from Europe, leading markets were Germany (7.6%), the United Kingdom (7.4%), Russia (5.8%), Italy (5.0%) and France (4.4%). The German market saw an increase of 4.6% at the end of the period with a total of 61,268 tourists. Followed closely behind was the U.K market, which grew at 3.5% during the period January to August 2014 and brought in a total of 59,564 tourists. At the third position within Europe remained Russia. However, the Russian market has been losing its shares with its declined arrivals. At the end of August 2014, the market posted a negative growth of 5.5% leading to the market share to drop from 6% at the end of July to 5.8% by the end of August. The Italian market has shown improvements in 2014 resulting in a positive 0.2% growth at the end of August. A total of 40,380 tourists visited the Maldives from Italy during the period in review. France, which was the fifth largest market from Europe was the second poorest performer among major markets showing a negative 3.9% growth at the end of the period from January to August.
AMERICAS remained as the third leading market region with 3.2% shares at the end of August 2014. The region brought in a total of 25,869 tourists, registering a strong growth of 26.9% at the end of the period. While all major markets, Brazil, Canada and the U.S.Aall posted above average growth rates, U.S.A remained as the market leader from the region taking hold of over than 61% of arrivals from the region and 2% of all arrivals to the country for the period from January to August 2014. The market share of MIDDLE EAST increased from 2.9% at the end of July 2014 to 3.2% by the end of August 2014. With double digit growths from all major markets of the region, the overall growth of the region was 16.5% for the period. AFRICA posted a negative growth (-0.8%) by the end of August 2014. The market share however, saw a slight increment from 0.6% at the end of July 2014 to 0.7% at the end of the August 2014.
At the end of August 2014, the total number of registered establishments was 480 with 30,786. Although the number of establishments has been increasing at a rapid rate, the growth in bed capacity is not significant as the increased number of establishment accounts for the opening of new guest houses where the maximum bed capacity is mainly 10. Out of the registered capacity, at the end of August 2014, on average 292 establishments with 26,896 beds were operational. The total bed nights of these establishments at the end of August was 4,934,944, which was an increase of 6.3% compared with the same period of 2013. The occupancy rate was recorded to be 75.6% with a 2% increase. However, the average duration of stay saw a decline of -0.3% with a recorded 6.1 days at the end of the period.