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Number of Indian visitors to Maldives fall

 

In the midst of worsening diplomatic ties between New Delhi and Male, the number of Indian tourists visiting the Maldives has witnessed a significant decline of 33%, as reported by Adhadhu, citing data from the Maldives tourism ministry. By March 4 of the previous year, the Maldives had welcomed 41,054 Indian tourists. However, this figure dropped to 27,224 by March 2 of the current year, reflecting a decrease of 13,830 tourists.

Until March of the previous year, India held the position of the second-largest source market for Maldives tourists, contributing to a 10% market share. Presently, India has slipped to the sixth position on the list, holding a 6% market share. Meanwhile, there has been a notable increase in the number of Chinese tourists in recent months.

India had been the primary tourist market for the Maldives in 2021, 2022, and 2023, with over 200,000 tourists each year. However, China has now taken the lead, with over 54,000 tourist arrivals recorded this year. In February alone, the Maldives welcomed a total of 217,394 tourists, with Chinese arrivals reaching 34,646 by February 27.

This surge in Chinese tourism is attributed to the launch of flights by various Chinese airlines, including Xiamen and Sichuan Airlines, known as one of the most successful airlines in China. President Mohamed Muizzu of the Maldives, during his visit to China, encouraged Chinese tourists to explore the island nation. The appeal comes amid escalating tensions and derogatory comments against Indian Prime Minister Modi, which led to the #BoycottMaldives movement on social media. President Muizzu expressed the desire to intensify efforts to restore China as the top tourist market for the Maldives.

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