Special flight to link Mumbai to Maldives

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 14:56

Maldives, known for its exotic locales and breathtaking beauty, can now be accessed by Indian tourists through a special charter flight from Mumbai, to be launched in October this year.

The flight between Mumbai and Gan, the southern part of the Maldives, will commence operations on October 2 as part of an initiative by a leading travel company, which is offering special holiday packages for this country.

"Initially it will be a twice a week flight from Mumbai to Gan, whose operations are expected to be scaled up at a later stage," Keyur Joshi, co-founder and COO of MakeMyTrip, told reporters here yesterday.

The company is offering special holiday packages in association with the Tourism Ministry of the Maldives from October 2010 to February 2011 with the starting price of Rs 29,990 in a bid to boost the tourist arrivals from India, where people perceive this country as a high-end destination.

"This exotic destination has been relatively inaccessible to Indians as it is perceived as an expensive holiday destination. With this campaign we plan to fly in about 6000 Indians into the Maldives," Joshi said.

"With the Maldives hosting the next SAARC Summit in 2011, we hope to draw in a large number of tourists," he said, adding the tourism sector can help give a boost to people-to-people relations between the two countries.

Indian High Commissioner Gyaneshwar Muleh said that India has invested in the health and education sectors in the Maldives but Indian tourists are still not coming here in a large number. He hoped that with the new initiative, more people from India will enjoy their holidays in the Maldives.

In 2009, a total of 15,850 Indian tourists visited the Maldives, which has almost 1200 islands, with only 200 of them inhabited.



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