Indian tourists have shown the strength of their soft power in this mini-island nation of Maldives. The stimulus of Maitri has surely helped the Maldives to recover from the adverse effect of the Covid 19 pandemic. This country has emerged out as one of the favorite tourists destinations for the Indians. As the gates were opened for travelers, many of the people visited this country ranging from celebrities, who were followed by the people at large.
Due to the arrival of COVID-19, the economy of this tourism-dependent country faced a contraction of 33.2% in the year 2020. However, after a depressing year for the economy, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank have indicated the recovery of the economy and a good sign for the returning of normalcy.
Recently, as per the World Ban, the yearly growth projection for the year 2021 was raised by 17.1% to 22.3% for the Maldives. Similarly, the Asian Development Bank has predicted the growth rate of this country for this year to be racing to 13% after the setback of 33.2%. However, this institution has also raised its earlier projection now by 5% after the current boom in the travelers’ receipts, which has risen up to 104.5% during the first half of the year. The number of tourists arrival has crossed the mark of half a million, which is almost 1/3rd rise from the corresponding period in the year 2020. This number touched the peak of 1.7 million arrivals before the pandemic entered the arena.
The Asian Development Bank has also evaluated the share of the travelers from the region they belong to. Accordingly, the tourists from the Russian Federation and India have a combined share of 42%, which was previously 16.7% in the preceding year.
On the other hand, the Chinese have been missing in action as they held a 16.7% share in the total tourist’s arrival in 2019, which was reduced to almost negligible 0.1% in the pandemic stricken year of 2020. Apart from the People’s Republic of China, Maldives has also been an attractive tourist destination for travelers from the region of Europe. The share of this region has not been affected much due to covid. The share has reduced from 44.1% in the year 2019 to 41.5% in the subsequent year.
44.1_% share of the 1.7 million peak arrivals in 2019 before the pandemic”, the ADB has pointed out in its latest development outlook update. Arrivals from the People’s Republic of China, which held a major 16.7% market share in 2019, only accounted for 0.1% of total tourists between January and June this year.
The Maldives presents a unique appeal among the other tourists’ destinations in the world. It adopts the model of a “one island, one resort” amidst the Covid, which played a crucial role in the recovery of the economy. Under this concept, there is only one resort on an island in order to ensure Covid protocol and social distancing norms.
While other tourism-driven economies like Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan are yet to see a recovery, this island nation has seen an outstanding recovery. The Bank expects the Maldives to cross the one million tourists’ mark as travel curbs are gradually lifted after increased vaccination efforts.
As per the World Bank’s latest report on South Asia’s economy, “Among South Asian countries, Maldives has had the most robust recovery in tourism. Visitor arrivals to the country recovered to over 60% of the pre-pandemic level by March.”
Therefore, hopefully, as the number of active cases goes down, the vaccination drives across the globe are covering more and more people; it is expected that the economy will surely recover and will be brought back to the stage of pre-covid era sooner or later.