Project Description

“Undoubtedly, we faced one of the most challenging periods in our history of tourism in the last year. The data provided by ForwardKeys provided essential insights that helped us navigate and persevere through the pandemic. Backed by real-time data, statistics and science, we were confident in the key decisions we undertook at any moment. We are deeply grateful for the insights, expertise and knowledge offered by ForwardKeys. We look forward to working closely with ForwardKeys in the future to come.”

Thoyyib Mohamed
Managing Director

Visit Maldives

The Background

The Maldives are a tropical atoll nestled in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea off the coast of India and Sri Lanka. The nation depends greatly on the tourism sector. In 2019, travel and tourism generated 66% of the national GDP.

The problem

What was the problem or a challenging task your tourism organization or department faced?

Its Ministry of Tourism oversees both the regulation and promotion of the industry. On the promotion side, it handles not only top-of-mind presence and marketing efforts directly to consumers but also the promotion of new air routes that allow the country to penetrate new markets or broaden the market penetration in existing ones.

At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, their marketing and strategy team faced the challenge of identifying potentially untapped source markets to compensate for the higher frequencies of planes being grounded and the Covid-19 case numbers rising in their traditional source markets like Germany and the US.

The solution

What data solution did ForwardKeys provide to help solve this problem?

To gain a greater understanding of who was still booking and travelling abroad even with the Covid-19 pandemic taking place, ForwardKeys recommended their Air Ticketing Data.

This is the most comprehensive dataset of direct and indirect air bookings in the world. It shows the traveller’s journey: when do they book, when do they travel, what do their itineraries look like, how long do they stay, what do they travel for.

Via this new dataset acquisition, Visit Maldives could see the market shares of key source markets but also view the air connectivity and the types of passengers. It was noted that there was a rise in groups of 3-4 passengers, meaning families, flying in Business and First class.

Dispersing this news down to hoteliers, tour operators and promotional teams meant in a short time the island nation once famous for honeymooning couples switched gears towards branding itself as a safe and idyllic destination for affluent families from Russia, Ukraine, and the UAE.

“Throughout the years the Russian market has been one of the main source markets for the Maldives. It is with great contentment I note that the Russian market is now the top market in terms of arrivals to the destination since we have reopened our borders in July 2020.” says Mr Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director of Visit Maldives.

“Our marketing promotions in the past year has had an impact in increasing the demand for the destination and also the increased connectivity has positively helped the boost in arrivals from Russia,” he adds.

The outcome

What was the outcome?

The Maldives remains to be one of the few destinations to boast an increase of arrivals to its destination during a pandemic.

“Our initial strategies for the market had to be completely shifted due to the pandemic. We altered our focus to utilize online & digital platforms to maintain the destination presence and partnered with some of the leading Russian tourism-related organizations, operators, travel agents and travel TV channels to spread knowledge about our destination to boost arrivals from Russia.”

Mohamed further adds: “I must highlight that one of our biggest advantages when it comes to promoting tourism today, is the unique geographical features of Maldives, which enabled us to promote the destination as a Safe Haven for travellers along with the luxury offerings in the destination.”

Visit Maldives proves that tourism can still thrive, despite a pandemic, if your decisions are data-backed with a view on the big picture – from start to finish of the traveller journey.

Pictures Credit: Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) / Visit Maldives

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