Maldives aims for 2 million arrivals

Ibrahim Faisal

The Maldives is aiming for 2 million tourist arrivals in 2024, with Russia and China set to be among the top source markets, alongside Europe and India, TTN’s Publishing Director Kim Thomson has learnt in an interview with Ibrahim Faisal, Minister of Tourism for the Maldives.

The minister has confirmed that the ongoing expansion work at Malé-Velana International Airport is fast progressing and expected to be completed by year’s end, supporting the growing number of tourists.

“The airport and connectivity are paramount,” Minister Faisal says.

“Considering that 85 to 90 per cent of our economy relies on tourism, my focus is to develop tourism in the Atolls that are currently inactive. It’s been over 15 years since 63 islands were authorised for development, yet the projects have not advanced. We hope to resolve this within the next two to three months and finalize an agreement.”

Maldives has to find a fine balance between development and conservation and Minister Faisal is quick to point out that while development is ongoing, there are designated islands in the archipelago that are protected and do not allow any kind of development. “Tourists, however, can go and visit these islands to see how they are protected.


Barring geopolitical issues or other unforeseen crises, we anticipate continued growth in Maldives tourism
– Ibrahim Faisal



“We are also focused on renewable energy. With our tourism industry, we are working to improve our energy efficiency.”

On the environment front, Maldives has recently launched an eco-tourism framework to align with the global trend to promote sustainable tourism. “Local tourism is also a crucial component. We boast over 15,000 beds in this sector, with most guesthouses owned by young Maldivians.”

To support capacity building, Maldives Tourism ministry is planning to establish a school to train youth in hospitality – affiliated with one of the hotel chains – equipping more Maldivian youngsters with skills for the tourism industry.

“Our population is limited so it’s important to train our Maldivian youngsters and introduce them to the tourism industry as a career. This was our current President’s pledge to build a hotel school during his presidential campaign.”

Market development is another focal point, Minister Faisal adds.

“We will continue to nurture traditional markets such as Russia, Italy, Germany, the UK, France, China, and India, while also exploring new markets, like Turkey.

“Last year, we welcomed 8,000 visitors from Turkey, but with targeted roadshows and marketing efforts, we aim to increase this number.

“Bangladesh is an emerging market, growing from 7,000+ arrivals in 2017 to 28,000 in 2023.

“Following meetings with the tourism ministers of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at ITB Berlin, we’ve exchanged invitations to visit each other’s countries.

“Barring geopolitical issues or other unforeseen crises, we anticipate continued growth in Maldives tourism.”