This Year Is One Of The Best Years To Visit The Maldives.
– The Golden Jubilee year of the Maldivian tourism industry
MS. If you would like to summarize the learnings from 2021, then what would they be?
Thoyyib Mohamed. We learned an incredible amount of lessons in 2021. I can say that one of the most significant lessons we learned is that being prepared means you are already halfway to overcoming the challenge. The Maldives’ success and perseverance during the pandemic is a testament to how well we communicated and prepared for any challenges to come. We adapted to the situation by trying new things, like switching some platforms to digital mediums and taking our first real step into the MICE tourism segment. It makes perfect sense, really – Maldives is already an award-winning destination for honeymoons, diving and family vacations, so why not combine business with those and get rid of the ‘zoom fatigue’ with board meetings on the beach? Making quick decisions, sharing updated information with all our stakeholders, and thinking in the long term are all important lessons we learned from propping up the tourism industry despite the obstacles of the difficult year.
MS. What according to you would be the top trends in 2022?
Thoyyib Mohamed. We believe a lot of travelers will be interested in wellness travel this year. After months of lockdown, isolation, and mental burdens, travelers are interested in reconnecting with themselves, their family, and the natural environment. Safety is such a big part of wellness travel and peace of mind is something we have in abundance in the Maldives. The Maldives is the absolute perfect destination for this, as our naturally social-distanced geography of scattered islands ensure that one can let go in complete comfort and serenity. It is also important to keep in mind that a lot of trade fairs, conferences, and events had to be canceled due to the pandemic. However, more in-person events are opening up, and the Maldives is positioning itself as one of the leading destinations for MICE- we have already started and plan to continue redefining MICE travel and tourism. Conferences are often thought to be serious and somber. Why can’t these meetings be held on a beach, with cocktails in hand and a jaw-dropping sunset on the horizon? Another top trend for this year will definitely be environmental awareness from conscious travelers. As one of the most climate-vulnerable nations, the Maldives had always been vocal about sustainability and incorporating best practices for the environment in all levels of work and in the services provided. Our waste management practices, the national single-use plastics phase out plan and our penchant for high levels of investment in marine conservation are all necessary if we are to continue to allow travelers to enjoy the true natural beauty of the Maldives’ islands.
MS. What will be your plans for 2022?
Thoyyib Mohamed. This year is one of the best years to visit the Maldives – the Golden Jubilee year of the Maldivian tourism industry. We started off as an obscure chain of islands in the middle of the vast Indian Ocean, and the people of Maldives have transformed the destination into one of the most desired and sought-after spots in the world – we just won the World Travel Awards’ most prestigious title, “World’s Leading Destination” for the second year in a row. Our plans for 2022 is to celebrate this success and achieve even greater milestones. We step into the new year with the exciting goal of welcoming 2 million travelers, and we have an entire year of surprises, perks and special programs planned for our visitors this year.
MS. What message would you like to give to the industry?
Thoyyib Mohamed. I want to offer my deepest gratitude to the travel industry. The industry has proven that whatever challenges come our way, we can overcome them. The diligence and dedication of the Maldives’ tourism industry is one thing, but the global travel trade as a whole stepped up to allow international tourism to flourish again. The resilience, bravery and innovativeness of travel trade professionals all over the world had empowered not just us, but travelers as well. I, for one, am proud to be part of this amazing industry.