Visit Maldives has held a press conference with the local media, highlighting the activities carried out and the achievements accomplished by Maldives in the year 2020 along with the plans for the year 2021.
The initial marketing plan for the year by Visit Maldives was developed with bigger brand visibility campaigns and creative initiatives to promote experiential tourism and niche segments. However, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaigns and initiatives had to be shifted to social and digital media platforms. Visit Maldives was completely shifted online and with progressions, continuous assessments were conducted around the evolving challenges in three phases: React, Rethink and Recover.
In this regard, these three phases focused on keeping the destination visible on online media, providing the tourism industry and tourists with regular updates on travel restrictions and safety measures taken in Maldives, and promoting the destination as a safe haven for tourists via several activities in different source markets. These source markets were closely monitored to adapt the strategies accordingly for targeted activities. Out of 412 activities, 314 activities were carried out under the crisis plan. Despite the Maldives reopening for all nationalities in July 2020, the arrivals were also dependent on factors such as travel restrictions in their residing countries, as well as the resumption of flight connectivity.
Immersive content to dream about the Maldives and keep the destination visible was also disseminated through these platforms. As the pandemic exacerbated, the marketing approach was adapted in line with the key messaging of UNWTO: staying home today means traveling tomorrow. The second phase involved informing all relevant stakeholders on the steps taken by the Maldives for recovery such as the health and hygiene measures planned, as well as the social distancing regulations. Moving forward in the final phase of recovery, it is imperative to retain the brand awareness as the most preferred destination in the world. Steps taken for travelling to the Maldives in the new normal were communicated as much as possible through PR representatives in the key source markets and industry stakeholders, as well as several marketing campaigns.
The Managing Director of Visit Maldives, Mr. Thoyyib Mohamed, remarked, “We have consistently worked together with the government, stakeholders and tourism industry to ensure the maximum utilization of our potential and resources in achieving our goals. The team at Visit Maldives has worked tirelessly to warrant that Maldives remains on top of the most preferred tourist destinations in the world. Gradually, our efforts seem to bear fruit: we have received 16 awards and accolades this year, including the World’s Leading Destination award by World Travel Awards 2020, and we have also reached the 500,000th tourist arrival milestone for the year.”
Visit Maldives will continue marketing the destination with an increased vigor and effort in the upcoming year, and 343 major activities have been planned which includes both offline and online campaigns. The main objective of these activities is to increase tourist arrival numbers to pre-pandemic levels, reorient the perception of Maldives solely as a luxury and honeymoon destination, and utilize international recognition received during this pivotal moment. Further to this, an importance will be placed upon developing and promoting local tourism, culture and heritage of Maldives.