#BoycottMaldives Impact: Indian Arrivals Fall to 5th Place
09.02.2024 - 18:19
/ Peden Doma Bhutia
/ Narendra Modi
Amid rising diplomatic tensions, India has now slipped to the fifth position for tourist arrivals into Maldives in January, with just over 13,000 visitors, as per the latest data from the Maldives tourism ministry. Russia claimed the top spot for inbound arrivals in the Maldives in January, followed by Italy, China, and the UK.
Between January 9-29, a little less than 11,000 Indian tourists visited the Maldives, a decline attributed to the #BoycottMaldives movement in India, fueled by a diplomatic dispute.
This movement was triggered by accusations from Indians, claiming that Maldivian politicians made derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The controversy originated from a social media dispute following Modi’s visit to the Lakshadweep islands, where he shared picturesque images on social media platform X.
At the beginning of 2024, India ranked as the third-largest source market for Maldives, holding a 7.6% market share. In 2023, it stood as he largest tourism source market for the island nation, contributing over 11% to the total of 1.8 million tourism arrivals.
In the previous year, Maldives welcomed 209,198 Indian arrivals, narrowly surpassing Russia’s 209,146 arrivals.
In the aftermath of the dispute, online travel agency EaseMyTrip declared the suspension of all flight bookings to the Maldives, a move characterized by its Co-Founder and CEO, Prashant Pitti, as an act of “solidarity with the nation.”
Reports on social media had suggested cancellations of over 8000 hotel bookings and more than 2500 flight tickets by Indians to Maldives.
South Korea is looking to attract 200,000 Indian visitors this year. Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) has said it has planned numerous engagement activities for the year and is marking its presence at travel trade shows in India.
According to KTO, the country received 120,000 Indian tourists in 2023. The number of Indian tourists visiting Korea had peaked at 195000 in 2016.
“With a record-breaking 20 million foreign visitors on our horizon for 2024, India holds a special place in Korea’s strategic outreach. Building on last year’s incredible success of 120,000 Indian visitors, we are setting an ambitious goal of welcoming 200,000 travelers from the country this year,” saidMyong Kil Yun, regional director, India & SAARC Countries, KTO.
Recognizing the immense potential of the Indian outbound traveler, KTO said it would be running marketing promotions, familiarization trips (FAM trips), digital marketing campaigns, multi-city roadshows and active participation in prominent industry events.
As part of its marketing plans for 2023, South Korea was rewarding travel agents with $30 per passenger and support for simple and hassle-free tour visas for the