Enjoying sunshine at a beach on a Southeast Asian island such as the Maldives has become the ideal holiday choice for thousands of Chinese tourists. Our reporter Liu Min has the details. For the past four years, China has been the top source of overseas tourists for the Maldives. Of 1.1-million foreign tourists visiting the Maldives in 2013, Chinese tourists accounted for one third. According to a recent tourist market survey, the Maldives is among the top ten most popular overseas destinations for Chinese tourists. As more Chinese tourists become keen on island tours, Zhang Dawei, PR manager of tuniu.com says the Maldives is quite a competitive island destination compared to other choices.
“As we all know, the Maldives is described as a string of pearls shaken off by God. There are 1192 islands in the group, scattered across the Indian Ocean, and 200 of the islands have inhabitants. Tourists have more options when choosing which islands they want to go to. Plus, with the stunning scenery and best available tourist services, the Maldives is not only the most favorable tourist destination for Chinese holidaymakers, but also for international tourists.”
According to the Maldives Tourism Ministry, in the first six months of 2014, tourist numbers to Maldives surpassed the 600,000 mark, with China posting a hefty 20.2-percent growth from the previous year. Tourism has been playing a crucial role in the Maldivian economy, which accounted for 28 percent of the country’s GDP on average in the past five years, and generated 38 percent of government revenue in 2012.
In order to guarantee the increase in Chinese tourists, international airline company MEGA Maldives Airlines made China to the Maldivies their first international ail route in 2011, and now they’ve increased their routes to more Chinese cities. Here is the Chairman and CEO of Mega Maldives Airlines, George Weinmann.
“Most of our operations are to China. We only provide flights to Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, and now Chongqing. These represented all our routes in the first year. So most of our revenue is in the Chinese market. We initiated our services to China because we saw the unique potential of the Chinese market.”
But there are also some rules for Chinese travelers to obey when they enjoy their holidays in the exotic island chain. For example, men should not greet local women or touch their hands. Tourists can not invite locals to drink alcoholic beverages. One tip worth noting is to take a waterproof camera as there are plenty of opportunities for scuba diving, and colorful coral and tropical fish are waiting to be snapped.