Training Webinar series for the French Travel Trade kicked off on 2nd April on the My Virtual Maldives platform. Conducted in French language, the aim of the webinar series is to educate the French Travel Trade about the Maldives with the latest information. This would help agents acquire all the updates to sell the Maldives in time when leisure travel resumes from France.
The webinar series which is scheduled for every quarter of the year, will each focus on a different theme of interest. Apart from the destination presentation, industry partners will be invited to talk about their product on offer respective to the theme. Theme for today’s session was Water Activities in the Maldives. Subsequent sessions will cover Honeymoon in Maldives, Sustainable tourism in Maldives, and Local culture and Guesthouses First session held today focused on the variety of water sports and water activities visitors can experience in Maldives. The latest guidelines and rules regarding COVID-19 pandemic were also provided along with the destination information. In addition, the natural distanced geography of Maldives and the stringent safety measures were also discussed. Pullman Maldives Resort and Paradise Island Resort participated in today’s session. In order to make the session more interactive, a raffle was held after the online quiz where Pullman Maldives sponsored a holiday for 2 people in the Maldives. With over a 150 French Agents in attendance, the session ended with a Q&A where agents cleared specific information about the destination.
The latest updates, guidelines, health and safety measures regarding the pandemic will be highlighted during the sessions. To promote Maldives as one of the safest destinations to travel to right now, an emphasis will be placed on the naturally isolated geography of Maldives and the stringent safety measures in place. By the end of the sessions, the participants will be well informed regarding the Maldives, individual products, experiences, and the latest guidelines. As France is currently under a semi- lockdown and strict travel restrictions are imposed, the campaign provides an opportunity in training the French travel trade so they are updated on the latest news and guidelines once France lifts travel restrictions for French travelers.
Visit Maldives has recently concluded a campaign in France with the French Tour Operator Very Chic. Other major activities planned for the year targeting the French market include partnership with Tour Operator Amplitudes, Social and Digital Media campaign with Odigeo, Media familiarisation Trips and participation at the International French Travel Market (IFTM Top Resa) and International Luxury Travel Mart (ILTM). Several of these activities will commence once France lifts travel restrictions for French travelers.
As of 24th March 2021, France is ranked in the 08th position of the highest performing markets to Maldives with a 2.6% of the market share. So far in 2021, Maldives has welcomed a total of 6,883 arrivals from France. France remains a key focus market in the recovery of tourism in Maldives and the target is to achieve pre-pandemic growth levels. In total, The Maldives have welcomed over 269,504 tourist arrivals in 2021 so far.
Maldives reopened its borders for tourists of all nationalities on 15th July 2020, with rigorous procedures in place to ensure the safety of tourists and tourism workers. Tourists are required to fill an online health declaration form within 24 hours prior to their departure, as well as have a negative PCR test result, conducted 96 hours prior to their departure.
On 1st February 2021, Maldives initiated the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, and the government aims to provide free COVID-19 vaccine to all citizens and residents of Maldives in the upcoming months. In this regard, the Ministry of Tourism also launched an initiative to vaccinate people in the tourism sector to develop an even safer scenario for the industry. As of March 25th, 224,979 people have received the vaccine including 14,898 frontline workers in the tourism industry. The initiation of the vaccination drive is bound to offer hope to the local population, as well as ensure the safety of tourists. This conveys the message that Maldives is a low-risk destination for travelers and will hopefully generate a surge in tourist arrivals.