Maldives celebrates 50 years of tourism journey

The Maldivian stand at WTM London was one of the busy ones with several exhibitors

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporatio (MMPRC/Visit Maldives) shared milestones and achievements of the Maldivian tourism industry over the last 50 years with global media representatives during the ‘Maldives Media Meet’ hosted at WTM London 2022.

MMPRC also launched a large-scale event, the Visit Maldives Storytellers’ Conference 2023, due to take place in the summer of next year.

The Maldives Media Meet was led by the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director (CEO & MD) of MMPRC, Thoyyib Mohamed, joined by Maldives Tourism industry pioneer, Hussain Afeef; the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Ireland, Dr Farah Faizal; and the Minister of Tourism of Maldives, Dr Abdulla Mausoom.

The spotlight of the media meet was on the success of the Maldives Tourism industry over the past 50 years and the evolution of destination marketing efforts by MMPRC, as it marks the Golden Jubilee year since the inception of tourism in the country.

Hussain Afeef, one of the pioneers responsible for the introduction of Maldives tourism, spoke at length, giving the attendants an industry perspective on the inception of tourism in the Maldives, and the key differences between then and now. “We took the first groups of tourists on excursions on sailboats. We had no telephones or fax machines, so we communicated via morse code. We had two flights a year coming into the country, bringing in a small group of tourists, that was our connection to the outside world. We had to play many roles, we wore many hats, we had to be tour guides, chefs, and everything in between for the tourists. It was a hard journey, but look how far we have come today.”

The Minister of Tourism spoke next, detailing the importance of sustainable tourism to an island nation such as ours. “Maldives believes Tourists of the Future are fast becoming the present, and expects destinations and service providers to be meaningfully committed to Sustainable Tourism Practices.”

Dr Faizal expounded on the long-standing bilateral ties between the Maldives and the UK, expressing her pride at how far the Maldives has come as a tourism destination. 

CEO & MD Thoyyib gave a brief overview on the evolution of destination marketing through the past five decades. “We may have begun marketing the destination by participating in a fair, but then we continued to market the destination, establish presence, in all platforms, utilising every type of tool that was at our disposal. No matter the target we reach, in the form of infrastructure development in the sector or arrivals, our work is never ending. And that’s what made us the leading destination in 2020 and 2021, and that is why we are amongst the nominees for 2022 leading destination as well. Perseverance, dedication, and relentless efforts in making sure we are always visible and on the top.”

Maldives has successfully secured the title of the World’s Leading Destination for the third year in a row at the recently concluded World Travel Awards 2022 held at Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Oman. The Maldives beat out 18 other destinations for this title – Dubai, Portugal, Indonesia, and Greece among them.