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Maldives rolls out five-year tourism master plan
Feizal Samath, Colombo, September 4, 2013

A FOCUS on roadshows over tradeshows and spending an average of US$5-$6 per arrival for promotions and marketing are some of the key features of the Maldives' new tourism master plan, set to be unveiled later this month.


The country’s fourth five-year tourism master plan for 2013-2017 will be launched on September 27 to coincide with this year’s World Tourism Day, said Ahmed Salih, secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.


According to a draft of the report obtained by TTG Asia e-Daily, the new master plan, unlike previous ones, will articulate a five-year strategic agenda and action plan agreed on by both public and private industry players.


Sim Ibrahim Mohamed, former secretary general of the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry, said the spotlight is on infrastructure development this time.


Other points in the plan include increasing the local staff ratio from 45 to 50 per cent to address demand for more Maldivians in mid- and upper-management levels, as well as scaling down on participation at trade fairs and concentrating on roadshows in order to maximise marketing dollars and target key producers of tourists.


The Maldives also aims to maintain 10 per cent annual growth in arrivals. To do this, the country hopes to grow arrivals from one million to 1.6 million visitors by 2017; increase average stay from 6.8 days to 7.2 days; up operational tourist bed capacity from 25,000 to 35,500; nurture average occupancy rate from 73 to 85 per cent; and double bed nights from 6.5 million to 12 million.


However, Sim pointed out: “There are also other dimensions of tourism that are not in the plan, like the proposal by former president Mohamed Nasheed for a minimum wage in the industry.”


He added that another point of contention is whether the government should allow more large, foreign-managed resorts on Maldivian shores versus creating guesthouses that would allow the economic benefits of tourism to trickle down to the locals.

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