By 2023, most countries around the world already moved on from COVID-19 as travellers have broken their two-year-long wait to discover new places. 2022 marked one of the first festive seasons that many travellers got to enjoy since the COVID-19 pandemic caused the entire world to go into lockdown, and the start of 2023 marked a fresh year for all, even those from countries that recently decided to open up their borders after a long three year wait.
One of the countries that took the implementation of the COVID-19 measures very seriously was China, as the country witnessed mass infections since the infection was first detected and declared a global pandemic. While China eased the measures to allow Chinese citizens to visit other countries and to allow citizens to come into China for family or business purposes, the country has been taking major precautions against COVID-19.
However, with the start of 2023, it appears that China is also getting a fresh start as the first ever Chinese airline landed at Velana International Airport, marking the first Chinese visitors to arrive in the Maldives in three long years! This could be marked as a major moment for the tourism industry as visitors from China took the top spots in the visitor arrival rates of the Maldives before the borders closed.
On 18th January 2023, Capital Airlines landed at Velana International Airport, bringing the first visitors from China to the Maldives since 2020. This special occasion was celebrated as visitors were given the warmest Maldivian greetings with the traditional Bodu Beru, a special gift pack as well as flowers to commemorate the welcoming ceremony.
With this arrival, visitor rates in the Maldives might change yet again as the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) continued to conduct destination marketing activities targeted towards Chinese visitors throughout the years. With 14 activities carried out in 2020 and 8 marketing activities conducted in 2021 targeted towards Chinese visitors, it would not be a surprise if the Maldives starts seeing a hike in Chinese visitors following the first direct flight from China to the Maldives.