The Maldives to highlight local culture

Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation Managing Director Thoyyib Mohamed met with ITB Asia News to discuss their new marketing focus. We asked him what the Maldives are looking to implement for tourism.

The Maldives want to highlight aspects beyond the luxury sun, sand seaside image that we generate in tourists’ mind to get a more sophisticated, diversified image. In fact we realized that 40 to 60% of travellers around the world are looking for authentic experiences. So we need to offer more choices and this is what we will implement from next year.

In which fields do you see opportunities for tourism?

We think that our culture will be a very good way to attract tourists. When I talk about culture, it is more about our way of life than pure cultural sightseeing. We will be promoting our gastronomy, our textile patterns and our ancestral traditions in daily life. We also want to highlight our environment commitment. The Maldives will in fact turn single- use plastic free from 2023.

How can you integrate these cultural aspects when most tourists mostly go to resorts and stay there?

The Maldives offer more than just the “one island-one luxury resort” product. Some tourists can live on a small boat and then hop from one island to another. People looking for a more affordable holiday can choose guest houses or city hotels and get immersed into the local culture. This way, tourists can discover the life of communities and enjoy an authentic experience by living with locals. The government will help locals financially with new tourism activities while we also provide marketing support.

Are you looking at specific marketing activities for the Muslim market?

We have been a 100% halal tourism destination for a long time but we certainly need to have a stronger marketing approach to this market. This will start from next year by appointing a PR agency in Malaysia which will market halal tourism to all ASEAN countries.

Photo: Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director, Maldives Marketing & PR Corporation