Mad about Maldives

The changing landscape of how the Maldives is being marketed to South African travellers has meant more sales opportunities for agents. 

“We attribute this to resort prices having decreased significantly over the last few years, says Janine Pienaar, Perfect Destinations’ head of marketing. Maldives is still a bucket-list destination but is now much more easily accessible, she says.

It is a great option for more specialised itineraries geared toward surfing and diving.

There is also an increase in combination packages incorporating Indian Ocean islands with alternative destinations, says Janine.

“Some great examples would be Sri Lanka packaged with the Maldives; Mumbai and Mauritius; or the Seychelles included with a stopover in Abu Dhabi.”

Groups and incentive travel in the Maldives is on the rise, says Alexis Bekker, head of sales and marketing SA and Africa.

Equally the two resorts in the Maldives – the newest, LUX* North Malé Atoll, a penthouse retreat, opened in February this year – have also seen an increase in sales, albeit it off a lower base, she says.

Alexis says the flight to Gan has not benefited its two resorts in terms of actual use of the flight, but the increased exposure around the destination has aided in more awareness within the trade and made the Maldives seem more accessible from SA.

“There are a limited number of resorts in the immediate Gan area and we are hoping that, in time, a flight to the more in-demand and popular Malé will be on the cards.”

Brenda Mitchell, World Leisure Holidays head of sales, agrees: “The flight to Gan assists us with packages that include Shangri-La Villingili Resort & Spa. Our popular resorts are most accessible from MLE, so improved connectivity, less flight time or a direct flight to Malé would be most welcome.”