The Federal Republic of Nigeria and The Maldives are poised to commence a new era of tourism and business development in the coming months. This follows a recent Familiarization Tour of The Maldives by Ms. Elizabeth Agboola, the CEO/Founder of NTT Global Destinations and a team of legal, trade and cultural promotion specialists. The Tour was conducted from 29th March to 3rd April 2022 in association with International Maldives Travel Market (IMTM) and provided important insights into the prospects for tourism and trade between Nigeria and the Maldives.
Although Nigerians have been visiting The Maldives for decades, there is still much to be discovered in relation to this pearl of the Indian Ocean, that is ranked among the top tourism destinations in the world. Ms. Agboola has declared that, ‘’Every Nigerian should have a chance to experience the Maldivian dream and NTT Global Destinations is ready to take them there”.
The Maldives has been dubbed COVID-19 pandemic winners having copped the World’s Leading Destination Award in 2020 and 2021.
The Familiarization Tour provided an opportunity for the NTT team to visit guest houses in the capital Male as well as in other islands including Maafushi, Hudhuranfushi, Olhuveli and Maamigilli. In each location the team was able to sample the delightful cuisine as well as the variety of attractions and accommodation facilities ranging from high end luxury hotels to guest houses on both local islands and resort islands. The team was also able to experience ‘’island hopping’’ by speed boat and domestic flights.
The team also took note of the prospects for making Nigerian goods and services available to enterprises in the Maldives, especially in the areas of food, fashion and entertainment. This is among the elements being discussed with H.E Muhammed Bello Abioye, the Nigerian Ambassador to The Maldives. There is scope for bringing businesses from Nigeria and the Maldives together via trade fairs, B2B encounters, cultural events and other promotional mechanisms.
Among the highlights of the Tour were the scheduled meeting between the NTT Team and Minister of Tourism – Dr. Abdullah Mausoom, as well as engagements with Mr Rafil Mohammed, The Executive Director of The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) – the oldest tourism association in The Maldives and Mr. Thoyyib Mohammed, The Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).
The Minister outlined his vision for tourism development in The Maldives and expressed the hope that Nigerian tourists would soon play a prominent role in the growth and expansion of the industry. The Minister further stated that, ‘’as The Maldives celebrates its Golden Year of Tourism in 2022, outreach to an important market like Nigeria is critical and would be further enhanced, with the introduction of direct air connections’’.
NTT Global Destinations has crafted destination marketing plans for the Maldives, in partnership with Nigerian tour operators and will spearhead efforts to introduce direct charter flights in the near future.
In addition to its established place in global tourism, The Maldives is also a leader in Muslim friendly travel experiences. It caters extensively to halal food, private villas, exclusive sand banks and an abundance of mosques and designated places for prayer.
Ms. Agboola is enthused at the positive response to the packages for The Maldives and strongly encourages everyone to ‘’sign up early to avoid missing out on the special rates on offer by all our tour operators, for both leisure and halal packages’’.
The Maldives is a visa free destination for Nigerians and the government has removed the requirement for a COVID Test as a condition for entry