The original Dhivehi article was published on Avas.mv website on 9th August 2017.
The following is a loose translation:
Looking back to the last 6 years, we can say that tourist arrivals have been ‘steady’. Even though in some years the tourist arrivals have increased, on an average there has not been an increase annually. Even though the tourist arrival numbers are ‘steady’, the bed numbers have increased exponentially. What could be the reason behind this? What would be the impact of this?
‘Till 2008, when we look at the Maldives tourism sector developments the increase in the bed number totalled to 6000, on average. However, from 2009 to 2013 there was only an increase of 563 beds, and from 2014 to current date, there is an increase of 1034 beds,’ Tourism Minister Zameer said.
Minister disclosed accurately; the reality that we have to accept is that the government has done extensive works to bring in new resorts. The outcomes were also good. Last year itself 11 resorts were opened. To enable this, amendments were made to Investment laws and import for resort building materials were also exempted. In 2005 whilst resort building material amounted to 1.7 billion Rufiyaa, last year that amount increased to 3 billion Rufiyaa. This shows that a great amount of work has been done for the development of this sector.
This, however, resulted in an excessive amount of beds. When we look at resorts only, we can see that until June of this year, there are 124 resorts with 27,000 beds.
Looking at other figures; increase in tourism properties are quite clear. As per Tourism Ministry‘s statistics, at the end of 2013, 28,770 beds were used. This year, there were 106 resorts in operation. However, at the end of 2014, the total number of beds increased to 30,689. This is about a 1916 bed increase. Looking at the whole year, there were 111 resorts in operation. This amount increased to 32,237, the following year. In 2016, the beds increased to 32,837, and this year for this period, the tourist beds amounted to 38,648. Meaning, compared to 2013, 9878 beds increased.
Which begs the question, when tourist arrivals are maintained at a ‘steady’ level, what would happen with this increase in beds? Along with resorts, guest house beds are also parallelly on the rise. There are more than 6000 beds in guesthouses. Ultimately, what would happen to the Maldives’ total occupancy level?
The tourism experts believe that, although, resorts are increasing, when tourist arrivals do not increase at the same pace, challenges will be faced by resorts in selling their rooms.
‘I doubt there is any other country like the Maldives, even when compared to nearby places, with this amount of an increase in tourism properties introduced to the market. However, the problem lies in the promotion, if that is tackled then arrivals can be increased.’
The latest statistics show that to date, 657,540 tourists arrived this year. This figure when compared to the same period of last year’s 619,921 tourist arrivals, is an increase of 6% For the whole of last year, the total arrival was 1.2 million people. In the past few years, the arrival of tourists remained similar.
An increase of resorts is considered to be a good indication for tourism. Now, all we need to do to make good use of this opportunity is to do good marketing.