Tourist arrivals to the Maldives grew by 11% at the end of first eight months of 2014 compared with that of 2013. The Maldives received a total of 805,890 tourists between January and August 2014, which was almost 80 thousand more than the same period of 2013. Growth was strongest during the month of January (18.5%), and weakest during themonth of February (+5.7%). With a relaxed performance in March (6.1%), strong growth rates were recorded during the months of April (+16.2%) and May (+14.9%). As per World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international arrivals boosted during the month of April due to the shifted Easter holidays from late March during 2013 to the second half of April 2014. The month of June recorded a growth of 9%, which was close to the average for the period. July (13.9%) was also a strong month in terms of growth which was followed by a 5.9% growth in August, the second weakest performance during the period.
In terms of leading markets from Asia and the Pacific region at the end of the period from January to August 2014, theChinese market continues its remarkable performance. While the growth of the whole region was backed by the increased arrivals from this market, China took hold of over a quarter of all arrivals to the Maldives during the period. The Maldives received a total of 252,413 tourists from China at the end of August 2014, an increase of 17.5% compared with that of 2013. Market share from China stood at 31.3% at the end of the period. India was the second largest market from the region with 3.5% shares at the end of the period from January to August 2014. The market saw an increase of 17.2% with a total of 28,524 tourists for the period. Japan followed closely behind with 3.0% shares for the period being the third largest market from the region with 24,205 arrivals. Tourist arrivals to the Maldives from Koreasaw a strong growth (32.4%) during the period in review. With a total of 21,337 arrivals between January and August 2014, market share stood at 2.6% making it as the fourth largest market from Asia and the Pacific.
EUROPE was the second largest market generator to the Maldives at the end of August 2014 with a share of 43.7%. A total of 351,858 tourists visited the Maldives from this region between January and August 2014, which was an increase of 1.9% compared with the same period in 2013. Looking at sub regions from Europe, Western Europe takes the lead taking hold of over a quarter of arrivals from Europe during the period. This sub region however, was among one of the weakest performers in terms of growth rate (+0.9%). With a total of 138,978 tourists, by the end of the period from January to August 2013, the market share was at 17.2% from this region. Central Eastern Europe was the second largest sub region taking hold of 9.3% shares during the period in review. This was the only sub region with a negative growth (-3.9%) at the end of the period. Northern Europe followed closely behind with 9% shares. Arrivals from this sub region grew by 6.3% at the end of the period. While Southern Europe contributed 7.1% shares to the total arrivals to the Maldives during the period, East Mediterranean Europe share stood at 1%. Both the regions recorded an increase of 6.5% at the end of the period.
By individual markets from Europe, leading markets were Germany (7.6%), the United Kingdom (7.4%), Russia (5.8%), Italy (5.0%) and France (4.4%). The German market saw an increase of 4.6% at the end of the period with a total of 61,268 tourists. Followed closely behind was the U.K market, which grew at 3.5% during the period January to August 2014 and brought in a total of 59,564 tourists. At the third position within Europe remained Russia. However, the Russian market has been losing its shares with its declined arrivals. At the end of August 2014, the market posted a negative growth of 5.5% leading to the market share to drop from 6% at the end of July to 5.8% by the end of August. TheItalian market has shown improvements in 2014 resulting in a positive 0.2% growth at the end of August. A total of 40,380 tourists visited the Maldives from Italy during the period in review. France, which was the fifth largest market from Europe was the second poorest performer among major markets showing a negative 3.9% growth at the end of the period from January to August.