India is now one of the fastest growing outbound tourism markets in the world, second only to China. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates that India will account for 50 million outbound tourists by 2020.
While Maldives made record by welcoming 1.7 million tourists in 2019, Indian market took the second place among the top 10 markets in 2019.
Indian market was at 5th place in 2018 with 66,955 tourists and they jumped to the 2nd position with a whopping 166,030 tourist arrivals in 2019. India showed the highest growth rate with 83.5% in 2019.
In spite of this, the Chinese market held the top position in 2019 with a 0.3% growth rate.
According to the forecast, if the slow growth of Chinese market continues, at this rate Indian market will surpass the Chinese market to become the largest market for Maldives tourism industry.
There are many positive factors influencing Indian demand for outbound travel. The Indian economy has been strong and middle-class disposable incomes have been rising very fast.
Maldives being geographically closer to the Indian market is another factor contributing to this growth. In addition to this, the emergence of more airlines and routes has increased the availability of options for the Indian travelers.
Indian budget carriers such as GoAir, Spice Jet and Indigo have launched direct connections between Male and important Indian cities such as New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.
Maldives has also welcomed a number of high profile Indians celebrities like Shahrukh Khan, Shilpa Shetty and most recently Bipasha Basu, Sarah Ali Khan and Parineeti Chopra which continues to draw media attention to the destination which has helped boost the Maldives’ popularity among Indian holidaymakers.