Maldives Tourism: Changes needed say local travel industry leaders
The Corporate Maldives blog recently published an interesting analysis of how tourism leaders in the Indian Ocean Island Republic think.
The information sheds some light on what tourism professionals think, do and what issued they have in running the largest industry in the country during politically difficult times.
Recently the former president Gayoom was arrested for tourism-related crimes.
Tourism is the largest industry in the Maldives making the biggest contribution to the GDP of the country. In order to further understand the views of those who are not from the country on the Maldives, our team conducted research through social media. Our research showed that many people thought of Maldives as an intense and expensive destination that only the rich can afford. Due to this, we had a sit-down with Mr. Ibrahim Inad, former Director of Sales at Velaa Private Island Island to discuss ways to change the mindset of such people and to market Maldives in the most effective ways possible. Below listed are the 5 key components he believes are required to be changed in order to properly promote our destination.
1. Finding a new concept in destination marketing
Maldives resorts are mainly made to fit into the concept of one Resort in one Island. Every resort markets itself as a seclusive getaway to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy world. Mr. Inad believes that it is more than about time that this concept changes and we get introduced to newer concepts. He acknowledged the CROSSROADS project as it is a multi-island resort development project. He requested other companies to find inspiration from the CROSSROADS project and bring about a change in the concept of Maldivian resort tourism.
2. Recognize demand level to know how to supply
With each passing year, more and more resorts are being opened, hence increasing the competition within the industry. However, how many of us actually took the time to think about whether or not we actually needed all these new resorts or not? According to Mr. Inad, with regards to the amount of tourists that visit Maldives on a yearly basis, we do not exactly need to open newer resorts every year without being able to have proper occupancy rates in the existing ones. He added that we should first let the demand grow to a point where we are unable to host anymore tourists, and that’s when newer resorts should join the market.
3. Know your competitors
When looking to promote the tourism industry of Maldives, we also need to consider that we have competitors who offer similar services in similar environments. Mr. Inad explained that it is wisest to keep an eye on our competitors to learn about their moves in order to come up with better strategies in marketing Maldives.
4. Promote celebrations for special occasions
Mr. Inad shared that while working in Velaa, he found that many chose to visit Maldives for occasions such as their birthdays, Christmas, Easter, New Year and more. It is not a secret that so many resorts host exciting and marvelous celebrations for the previously mentioned occasions. This could be used as a point in our marketing strategy and in creating a position for ourselves in the market. Once we are able to develop ourselves as such a destination, we will be able to make ourselves a name in this cut-throat competition the industry puts forward.
5. Make use of digital marketing
While conducting the social media research, one thing we were able to gather was how people of our competing countries, used any opportunity to promote the cheap services available at their countries. They made sure to prove to convince people that their country was worth visiting. According to Mr. Inad, this sort of digital marketing is one aspect we really need to work on. If we, as individuals, promoted all sorts of tourism in the Maldives, it would reach a greater audience and hence, aid in bringing in more tourists to the country.
So many more things need to change in order for our country to keep developing. We need to do proper marketing and show the world that we have the luxury to offer for all classes rather than just the high-end population of the world. We should make them feel like they do not need to have a luxury branded things in order to access the beauty Maldives has to offer. Once the correct message has been delivered, even more tourists will keep visiting the country and we shall keep improving more and more. Maybe one day will be able to become a destination able to compete with the biggest markets in the world.