Indians help the Maldives bounce back from pandemic blues

Published on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Be it the triumph of soft power or Stimulus Maitri, one South Asian country is silently thankful to the untiring wanderlust of Indians. After COVID-19 resulted in a 33.2% contraction on the Maldives’ tourism-dependent economy in 2020, the country’s growth prospects this year has witnessed the biggest upgrades from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) — by at least five percentage points.

Last week, the World Bank projected its 2021 growth analysis for the Maldives from 17.1% to 22.3%. The ADB had anticipated 2020’s GDP fall for the Maldives at 32% and expected it to bounce back with a 13% uptick this year. Now, it has now increased growth hopes to 18%.

The Maldives’ travel receipts went up by 104.5% in the first half of this year. The ADB attributed this to a ‘strong rebound’ in tourist arrivals from India and Russia although traditionally large visitor sources like China and Europe remained guarded.

The Maldives is expected to cross the one million tourists’ mark with improvement of vaccination efforts and lifting of travel curbs.

“Among South Asian countries, Maldives has had the most robust recovery in tourism. Visitor arrivals to the country recovered to over 60% of the pre-pandemic level by March,” the World Bank said in its latest report regarding the South Asia’s economy.

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