President Solih announces 1.8M tourist arrival target for 2023

Tourists at Velana International Airport. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Monday, revealed that the tourist arrival goal for this year is 1.8 million.

While the Maldives recorded 1.70 million tourist arrivals in 2019 pre-pandemic, the government targeted to attract 1.6 million tourists last year. That goal was reached with the arrival of 1.68 million tourists in the Maldives in 2022.

Speaking at the inaugural sitting of the first session of the parliament for the prevailing year, the President said that the past three years have posed the biggest obstacles in the Maldivian economy in the history of the island nation, citing the standstill of Maldivian economy saw as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Nevertheless, he underscored that the work done and planned to be done by the government has shown favorable results, whereas the Maldivian economy is steadily improving. President Solih added that as the tourism industry flourishes, 3.5 million tourist arrivals per year is expected by 2028.

“Maldivian economy will highly likely double by the end of 2028. In 2018, the GDP of Maldives was MVR 81 million. This amount can be doubled within ten years, and increased to MVR 177 billion by the end of 2028. With the positive changes to the economy, revenue earned by the government in 2018 can also be doubled. The government will earn MVR 45 billion as revenue in 2028," he said.

President Solih said the changes would enable Maldivian citizens to earn increased income, increase the number of jobs and businesses in addition to incept new industries - collectively leading to peace and stability within the society. 

During his address, the President also highlighted the growth of the Maldivian economy post-pandemic. In this regard, World Bank initially estimated that the Maldivian economy will see a 7.6 percent increase for last year, which was later increased by the end of 12.4 percent. 

“World Bank estimates that Maldivian economy will see an 8.2 percent increase in the prevailing year,” he said.

He further said that last month saw the largest profit to the government in one month ever with MVR 3.5 billion received.

“I have instilled hope for hope in the future, that people will not face huge burdens and the government reserve will remain at a secure level for years to come. By the end of last year, the national reserve stood at USD 87 million,” Solih said.