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Maldives tourism hits new record helped by Chinese arrivals

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-03 14:12

Maldives tourism hits new record helped by Chinese arrivals

A Maldives Beach Awash in Bioluminescent Phytoplankton Looks Like an Ocean of Stars, Jan 22, 2014. [Photo/IC]

COLOMBO - Maldives tourist arrivals reached an all-time record level for a single month with 120,468 visitors in February with the help of Chinese tourist arrivals, data released by the Ministry of Tourism showed on Thursday.

A total of 43,349 Chinese tourists visited the Maldives last month. Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb told local media Chinese visitors increased sharply as the Chinese New Year was on February 13.

Arrivals in February was 8.8 percent higher than the same period last year, which was "a significant improvement compared to the negative growth registered in January 2015," the tourism ministry observed in a statement.

"With this boost, the total arrivals at end February 2015 was 217,541, an increase of 0.7 percent compared with the 216,001 tourists that visited during the same period of 2014," the ministry noted.

The occupancy rate meanwhile declined by 4.8 percent this year, with an average occupancy rate of 80.8 percent. The average duration of stay was six days.

After falling 12.2 percent in last December and 33.1 percent in January, Chinese arrivals bounced back in February with a 30.5 growth compared to February 2014.

Adeeb noted that overall arrivals growth was at about 1 percent compared to the first two months of 2014.

China remains the largest source market with a 29.3 percent market share, followed by Italy, Britain and Germany.

Both the national carrier Maldivian Airlines and Mega Maldives launched direct weekly flights to Chinese cities during February.

Tourism is the Maldives largest foreign exchange earner comprising over 70 percent of the country's GDP.

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