India will remain a close partner in cooperation on many facets of bilateral ties including tourism. His Excellency Ahmed Mohamed, High Commissioner of the Republic of Maldives to India, speaks about the strong bilateral relationship and tourism prospects between India and Maldives.
Indo-Maldivian commercial ties date back centuries when seafarers established trading ties between the southern coast of India and the Maldives. Thus, bilateral relations between India and Maldives are centuries old. The two countries share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and commercial links steeped in antiquity and enjoy close, cordial and multi-dimensional relations.
Present day ties are over 5 decades old. Maldives attained independence in 1965 and India was amongst the first few countries to recognize the new country. Indian diplomatic mission in Male was established in 1972. Maldives established a mission in India in 2004, in New Delhi.
Growing from modest beginnings India-Maldives bilateral trade now stands at INR 1000 crores. India and Maldives signed a trade agreement in 1981 which provides for export of essential commodities. Since February 1974 the State Bank of India (SBI) has played a vital role in the economic development of the Maldives. The bank has provided loan assistance for the development and promotion of island resorts, export of marine products and business enterprises.
Indian investments are present in the financial, tourism, real estate sectors and in trading in a meaningful manner. In addition, there is a large presence of Indian expatriates working in the health, education and commerce sectors of the Maldives as well.
Tourism is the largest contributor to the Maldivian economy. In terms of tourists, India is becoming an important source market for the Maldives and current tourist arrivals from India to Maldives between January-June 2016, stood at 30,101, an increase of 14.9% over the same period of tourist arrivals in 2015.
The Maldives is situated in a strategically significant location amidst the equator. Hence, easier access to the Maldives aboard first-class airlines and cruise liners has made it a hub for MICE events. The MICE industry of the Maldives is known for providing specialised clients with extensive planning and excellent services.
Cruise tourism also has lot of potential, with inclusion of a cultural component that will provide a new type of adventure to tourists with experience of India, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
(From the Desk of His Excellency
Ahmed Mohamed, High Commissioner of the Republic of Maldives to India.)