By Guest Writer Dolores Semeraro
In less than 30 days since reopening its borders, Maldives welcomed over 5000 tourists arriving mainly from the USA, UK, Germany and Spain. So, as the number of cases in the Maldives’ capital city Male seems to raise, what made them travel? What restored their travel confidence?
According to the latest findings of the COVID-19 consumer sentiment tracker in the UK, 46% of the population feels that the worst of the pandemic is still to come with nearly nobody expecting any ‘normality’ to return before September 2020. Yet, 26% of the UK adults is still planning to take a 4day holiday overseas before the end of the year.
The three key factors fueling the so-called ‘appetite for risk’ remain:
– The ability to reduce cross-contamination with an enhanced cleaning regime
– Reassurance and proof of social distancing
– Booking incentives with free cancellation
Stylish Social distancing
‘Things are looking very positive for the Maldives’ says Yusra Ibrahim, Marketing Manager of Travel Trade Maldives based in Male ‘people want to travel again and the Maldives offers some of the best socially distanced accommodation out there’.
Among others, she mentions beach bubbles at Finolhu, an underwater suite at Hurawalhi, and treehouses at Amilla Fushi as some perfect examples of utmost seclusion. ‘We are renown for our concept “one island, one resort” where guests can practice social distancing “in style”, that is why after we re-opened our borders, tourists started to come back as we hoped. It will take time, but we are on the right path’.
Maldives ‘virtually’ available
If you are not yet ready to travel to the paradise islands of the Indian Ocean, you might just be in for a treat. Orca Media Group, the media company behind TTM, is currently working closely with the Maldives Ministry of Tourism and MMPRC to launch a Virtual Tour of the country, allowing travelers to visit the Maldives ‘virtually’ from the comfort of their sofa. ‘More than 150 islands will be ‘virtually’ available to visit thanks to nothing less than 2000 videos & photos, it is an incredible project and we look forward to its launch’ says Yusra, currently working with a team of videographers across the country. So, while most of the virtual tours usually refer to landmarks or tourist attractions, having a whole country featured in a virtual tour, might just be a first.
Fear of travel or appetite for risk?
With 43 island resorts currently back in operations and another 28 set to reopen doors in August, looks like there will be plenty of options for those wanting to travel to the Maldives. And prices are looking better than ever too. To proactively restore travel confidence, however, the resorts must embrace a whole new way of communicating with their audience. Focusing on what matters rather than on what sells, the key messages remain undoubted. ‘Safety’ and ‘Hygiene’ and ‘Value’ must be at the core of any digital marketing strategy that focuses on meeting the new travel demands by speaking the language of today’s audience.
Watch the full interview here.