Visit Maldives has announced they participated in ITB China 2023 as the official Island Travel Partner. The event took place from 12th to 14th September 2023 at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai.
This year, Visit Maldives collaborated with 33 companies, bringing together a total of 64 representatives to promote the Maldives within the Chinese market at ITB China 2023. This marked a significant milestone as it was the first B2B trade fair held in China since the onset of the pandemic three years prior. It also signified Visit Maldives’s first in-person participation in a physical tourism event in China following the reopening of global borders.
ITB China 2023 is one of the largest B2B exclusive trade shows focused on the Chinese travel Market. The event serves as a wide-ranging professional platform with industry specialists from all over the world and provides various networking events to connect with potential agents and buyers from several key source markets.
The Visit Maldives stand is curated to provide an authentic glimpse of the Sunny Side of Life for the attendees. Attendees can expect a dynamic array of activities such as meetings with the Maldivian travel trade.
Unique experiences of the destination take centre stage with activities at the stand including the creation of personalised calligraphy bookmarks, and a photo backdrop featuring a libaas and feyli props offer attendees a chance for a Maldivian-style snapshot to take back home.
Additionally, Visit Maldives conducted promotions for their Weibo and WeChat social media handles to strengthen the brand’s presence in the market. The stand also provided press packs, which detailed Visit Maldives and co-exhibitor information, along with promotional materials. A special raffle was conducted on the last day, where two lucky winners won free holidays to the Maldives, sponsored by The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives, and Kihaa Maldives, respectively.
As the Island Travel Partner, Visit Maldives received a special opportunity to host a Networking Lunch, an exclusive gathering of 100 hosted buyers meticulously curated by the ITB China organizers. The event provided opportunities for significant networking sessions, during which Visit Maldives engaged in insightful discussions. Furthermore, Visit Maldives also promoted the Maldives in the presentation hub, accommodating up to 80 potential buyers, and conducted an enticing destination presentation of the Maldives and its offers.
China has long been one of the most significant markets for the Maldives’ tourism industry. Direct flights from China to the Maldives resumed on 18 January, 2023, following a 3-year hiatus due to border closures resulting from the global Covid-19 pandemic. Despite these border closures, as of 5 September, 2023, there had been a total of 123,824 arrivals from China, making it the third-largest source market for the Maldives. The arrival numbers were steadily rising and approaching pre-pandemic levels.
Even during border closures, Visit Maldives diligently conducted various marketing activities in the Chinese market to maintain the Maldives’ appeal as the top destination to visit once borders reopened. The Maldives had already achieved a significant milestone by surpassing one million tourist arrivals in that year, marking an incredible success for the tourism sector. The target set for that year was 1.8 million tourists.