World's Biggest Tourism Success Story For 2020 Revealed

Reports from paradise.

Image: @heba.mabrok

If 2019 was a Babylonian banquet of floating breakfasts, business class thrills and last-minute trips booked at 2am (after several flutes of Dom Pérignon), 2020 was a jail cell with a grotty bunkbed.

One destination found success though – The Maldives. As CNN Travel reports, the Indian Ocean archipelago became the biggest 2020 international tourism success story, despite receiving a million fewer tourists than it did in 2019.

How did it succeed? “While many other destinations slammed their borders closed,” CNN Travel reports, “the Maldives chose to fully reopen to travelers from any country, regardless of the status of the virus there, in July 2020.”

The country’s geography helped make this strategy possible: “Many hotels and resorts are on their own private islands…  which makes isolating and social distancing exceptionally easy.”

“Countries around Asia and the Pacific have been more cautious about reopening than those in Europe and North America, meaning that tourists in the region had few options for places to go.”

“As other popular Asia-Pacific island getaways like Tahiti, Bali and Phuket remained off-limits, the Maldives took advantage of the fact that they were in relatively good shape with the virus.”

Unlike many other destinations, which have reopened with significant caveats (like a mandatory two-week quarantine) The Maldives, CNN Travel report, “reopened unconditionally in July, only to walk it back in September by requiring all travellers to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival [after a couple of hiccups].”

“The Maldives’ heavy reliance on ultra-luxury resorts also worked in its favour when it came to testing and social distancing. For example, some high-end properties conduct additional in-resort Covid testing as an added layer of protection against the spread of the virus.”

The success has been compounded by offers announced in 2020 by the likes of Anantara Veli Maldives Resort, which capitalised on the growing work from home (and digital nomad) movements.

The offer gave travellers the chance to pay US $30,000 (AU $41,214) for a full 365 days (with your partner) in one of the luxury resort’s stunning Overwater Bungalows.

This exclusive offer included access to the resort’s fitness centre, pool, and yoga classes and included all taxes and service charges, daily breakfast for two, shared return transfers between Anantara Veli and Malé as often as required, and a 25% saving on dining and spa treatments.

Speaking of all those luxuries, a video recently posted to Anantara Veli Maldives Resort’s Instagram account sums up quite well the attraction of The Maldives in 2020.

Serenity, solitude, luxury.

As the caption puts it: “Relaxation, spectacular views and the type of sunsets dreams are made of.”

This is far from the first FOMO provoking video to drop of The Maldives in the last 12 months. Further posts under the Anantara Veli Maldives Resort geotag and hashtag show yet more reasons the island chain held such potent charm.

From water cinemas…

… to blissful strolls…

… to drinking champagne in style…

Other resorts like Jumeriah Vittaveli have had their share of jealousy inspiring clips drop lately too.

Excuse us if we don’t feel too sorry for the tourists who found themselves stuck in The Maldives last year…

Read Next