Maldives caters to more Chinese tourists than Europeans
Beijing: With tourists from China overtaking those from Europe, Maldives is now focusing on how to redesign its tourist industry to host the Chinese travellers better, Maldivian President Mohammed Waheed has said.
Chinese food, shopping, gaming, will no longer be difficult to find in Maldivian islands for travellers from China as it is more Chinese friendly now, Waheed currently on a visit here told the state-run China Daily.
The island nation's resorts have traditionally been designed for European tourists, but the Maldives is now focusing on how to better cater to Chinese travellers, he said.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Maldives is rising, and they have quickly become the biggest money spenders of all tourists to the Indian Ocean country.
China has become increasingly important to tourism in the Maldives.
China leapfrogged over United Kingdom in 2010 to become the No 1 source of arrivals for the country's crucial travel industry.
Official figures reveal that China made up 22.2 per cent of all arrivals to the island nation this year, up 14.5 per cent from last year, the Daily said.
In June over 17,800 Chinese visited Maldives representing 30 per cent of the total market share and a 15.6 per cent growth compared to June last year.
Ahead of his visit, Waheed had praised China saying that "China, unlike other influential countries, looks at international affairs of small countries like Maldives from a unique perspective".
"China is a big country, we are very small. But China has been very good to Maldives," he told the Daily.
"China has always treated us as an equal...China believes in non-interference by other countries, China has always been very supportive of our country, in good times and bad times," Waheed said.