MATATO: Tourism in a delicate state; many factors need improvement

Maldives Association for Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) holds press conference.

Maldives Association for Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) has publicized the results of a survey, underscoring that the Maldivian tourism sector is in a delicate state.

Disclosing the results of a survey conducted on the challenges faced within the Maldivian tourism sector, covering nine categories – MATATO’s President Abdulla Giyas said over 2,000 participants gave information to the survey.

He detailed that the participants were not limited to local agents, but also resorts, guesthouses, liveaboards, tourism professionals and small and medium businesses in the tourism sector.

Some concerns and requests:

  • Lack of a law governing local travel agents
  • Introduction of a taxation system that protects local agents
  • Unfair competition among online agencies
  • Difficulties in bank payments
  • Regulation of foreign travel agents and agencies

MATATO’s survey also showed that although Maldives recorded 1.4 million tourists so far into this year, tourists had not occupied even 50 percent of the bed capacity which is placed at 62,000.

MATATO also said that the Tourism Ministry does not measure the arrivals of tourists in the most suitable metrics.

Briefing the press, MATATO’s Vice President Mohamed Shaaz Waleed said the Maldivian tourism sector has fallen to a delicate state.

He noted that the points noted in the survey, are therefore, recommendations that can be implemented to overcome the state, as believed by tourism sector professionals. He put them forth as important recommendations that should be implemented by the incoming administration.

Supporting the statements made Shaaz, Giyas said he believes it was high time to share the concerns of the tourism sector as the transitional phase is underway.

“That is why, our association, stakeholders, our members and local agents are lobbying these recommendations,” he added.

Giyas noted that the last time such a survey was conducted in the Maldives was back in 2011.