Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Emiratis have been recorded as the number one visitors to Maldives at 1,724 out of 9,120 international tourists since the South Asian archipelago within the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean reopened its borders on July 15.
Data from the Maldives Marketing & PR Corporation, the government body responsible for tourism promotion, have moreover revealed of the Emiratis’ growing interest in the country, known as the “Treasure Island” since the 10th century, at least in the past two years. Nine thousand Emiratis visited Maldives in 2018 up at 10,490 in 2019. In that period, international tourism arrivals were at 1.4 million and 1.7 million with 52,100 and 60,000 from the Middle East and North Africa, respectively.
From July 15, next to the 1,724 Emiratis visiting Maldives the other leading tourists were 958 UK nationals, 845 Americans and 562 Spaniards.
Maldives Marketing & PR Corporation managing director Thoyyib Mohamed mentioned the numbers on Tuesday afternoon at the webinar launch of the “Rediscover Maldives...The Sunny Side of Life” campaign that featured new adventures such as luxurious underwater dining and breakfast afloat a private swimming pool “just 200 metres away from where marine sharks roam freely.”
The other government official at the webinar was Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Health Aishath Samiya. She detailed the collaboration and partnership of the government office with the Ministry of Health, private enterprises and the locals in ensuring the health, safety and security of all residents and visitors amidst the Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic, the bases of which are the parameters outlined by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) that pushes for responsible sustainable tourism and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The two UN agencies incidentally issued a Feb. 27 joint statement relative to COVID-19 which in part reads: “As the current outbreak of the Corona Disease (COVID-19) continues to develop, the (WHO) and the (UNWTO) are committed to working together in guiding the travel and tourism sectors’ response to COVID-19...The tourism sector is fully committed to putting people and their well-being first. International cooperation is vital for ensuring the sector can effectively contribute to the containment of COVID-19. UNWTO and WHO are working in close consultation and with other partners to assist States in ensuring that health measures be implemented in ways that minimise unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade. Tourism’s response needs to be measured and consistent, proportionate to the public health threat and based on local risk assessment, involving every part of the tourism value chain-public bodies, private companies and tourists in line with the WHO’s overall guidance and recommendations.”
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