A survey taken by online reservations service Agoda has revealed the Maldives to be the number one honeymoon destination in the world.
Agoda’s Global Honeymoon Survey carried out in January and February asked over 15,000 visitors to choose their ideal destination, with over 20 percent choosing the Indian Ocean nation.
“We know the Maldives is a popular destination for couples but we were surprised that its allure is so global, said Errol Cooke, Global Hotels vice-president.
One in five respondents chose the Maldives, with the Greek islands and Paris coming a distant second and third place, with 7.8 and 7.6 percent of the vote, respectively.
The Maldives tourist industry celebrated over one million arrivals last year for the first time in its history, with an increase in 17 percent compared with the previous year’s figures.
Growing from just 2 resorts with a bed capacity of 280 in 1972, the industry now encompasses over 100 resorts with a bed capacity of around 25,000.
Tourism now directly accounts for around thirty percent of the country’s GDP and has contributed to the Maldives’s rise to become South Asia’s wealthiest nation, with GDP per capita doubling over the past ten years alone.
The current government hopes to expand bed capacity in order to achieve the current Tourism Masterplan’s projection of 1.75 million arrivals by 2021.
Bali, Hawaii, Italy, and the Caribbean followed in Agoda’s list, with results showing that nearly 90 percent of European honeymooners preferred to travel outside of the region. The figure was just 65 percent for Asian travellers
“Among countries where we had more than 100 respondents, only three didn’t pick it as the most popular dream honeymoon destination – the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand,” revealed Cooke.
China’s growth to become the world’s largest outbound travel market in 2012 has been reflected in the Maldives, with Chinese tourists growing from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012.
Unsurprisingly, China became the largest source market for the Maldives largest industry in 2010, amounting to nearly 30 percent of arrivals last, year.
Last year’s Maldives Visitor Survey, conducted by the Ministry of Tourism found that 23 percent of respondents had journeyed to the country for their honeymoon.