The Maldives has welcomed the first direct flight from China with a water cannon salute following the latter’s recent optimisation of COVID-19 strategy.
The Capital Airlines’ flight with over 190 Chinese tourists aboard was received on Wednesday by Chinese Ambassador Wang Lixin, Tourism Minister of the Maldives Abdulla Mausoom and other officials at the Velana International Airport.
As tourism is the pillar industry of the Maldives, the return of Chinese tourists will help economic recovery of the country, following the pandemic
“It will also promote cultural, people-to-people exchanges and enhance bilateral ties,” Wang said at the welcoming ceremony.
Wang said the Chinese embassy welcomes Chinese tourists to the Maldives, hoping they will come happily, have fun and return safely.
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Mausoom told Xinhua at the ceremony that the Maldives earlier forecast 1.8 million tourists for this year.
The minister said the country also expect at least 10 per cent increase from the original forecast.
This is so because Chinese tourists, who had contributed to the tourism market of the Maldives, are arriving again.
China had remained the largest source of tourist arrivals in the Maldives for years before the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2019, nearly 300,000 Chinese tourists visited Maldives, accounting for around 17 per cent of total tourist arrivals that year. (Xinhua)
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