More than a year has passed since the Maldives reopened its borders. Tourists from all over the world have visited the island archipelago. Experts have called the Maldives’ road to recovery the biggest international tourism success story. World Travel Awards honoured the Maldives with the title of the World’s Leading Destination of 2020.

The island nation has earned various accolades and prestige since reopening its borders in July 2020. All of this is possible thanks to the tourists who put faith in the safety measures placed by the government of the Maldives and resorts in the country. Looking through the list of where these tourists come from, one country among the leading markets stands out: Russia.

Tourists have continuously arrived from Russia every month since the Maldives reopened its borders. While India has been credited as the leading source market of 2020 with 62,905 arrivals, Russia was closely tied with 61,388 arrivals; a small difference of 1,517 visitors.

Russia is also currently the Maldives’ leading source market. From 1st January 2021 to 28th July 2021, Maldives recorded 140,824 arrivals from Russia. Comparing this figure to the same period of 2019 (pre-pandemic), tourist arrivals from Russia have grown by a staggering 195.1%. Likewise, compared to the same period of 2020, this is an increase of 385.7%.

Many might argue that the duration tourists spend is a better way to measure the success of these markets. Even still, Russian tourists spent more nights in the Maldives than an average tourist. “On average our Russian guests tend to stay around 12 nights,” Carissa Nimah, the Chief Commercial Officer of Soneva told Nikkei Asia.

Tourist arrivals from Russia will also play a crucial role in the Maldives’ goal to welcome 1.5 million tourists this year. By 28th July 2021, Maldives recorded 600,252 arrivals. Russia takes a share of 23.5% of this figure.

Feature image by InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort