Amelia Chee, one of our Senior Destination Specialists for Asia, visited the Maldives, with a stopover in Qatar, earlier this year. We caught up with Amelia to get the latest insight on travel to the Maldives and to offer you tips for selling this pristine island destination to your clients.
1. Where did you travel?
I went to the Maldives for 10 days, with a one-day stopover in Doha, Qatar.
2. What is the number one thing agents should know about the Maldives?
Unlike most other destinations in the world, the Maldives is a one island/one resort destination. It’s a paradise with 50 shades of blue!
3. What is the biggest misconception about the Maldives?
That it’s too expensive and too far to get to. It’s not a budget destination, but it is affordable and there are a variety of convenient ways to get there.
4. What was your favourite hotel?
We stayed at five different resorts during our trip: LUX South Ari Atoll, The Lily Beach, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Heritance Aarah, and You & Me By Cocoon. Of all these great resorts, The Lily Beach and the Conrad stand out the most. At The Lily Beach, we stayed in a deluxe water villa with a pool; the first thing you see is the glass bottom floor, which lets you see right into the ocean—a real wow factor! The all-inclusive Platinum Plan is a great package, including food and alcohol, as well as three complimentary excursions. The Conrad is where luxury comes alive, an oasis that welcomes you with open arms. Your dreams become a reality there. Dining at Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, located five metres below the waves, was incredible. It’s the world’s first undersea restaurant and features panoramic coral garden views. We enjoyed the luxury, natural environment, and the totally pampering experience. It is the essence of quality and luxury.
5. What new things did you learn about the Maldives?
I now understand the reason why this destination comes with a higher price tag than most. Supply is imported from other countries and taxable by the government at about 30%. It’s a one island/one resort spot unlike other destinations, which helps it stand out from other beach spots.
6. What was your favourite local experience?
I loved snorkelling the house reef, swimming with manta rays, and the night meditation over the water, with nothing but the sound of the waves as your companion.
7. What was your favourite individual destination or landmark?
This might be a cheat, but it’s just the Maldives in general. It’s a place where it’s just me, nature, and 50 shades of blue.
8. What were your favourite local dishes or drinks?
The seafood buffet at Lily Maa at The Lily Beach was great, as was the fried spicy seafood rice noodles made-to-order at East Market at LUX South Ari Atoll.
9. What would be the perfect complement as an extension to this trip?
There are a lot of great stopover or extension options on a trip to the Maldives. You can stopover in Doha, Qatar as I did, adding on Experience Doha. Alternatively, you can also pass through Dubai en route to the Maldives. If you’re heading further into Asia, the Maldives pairs well with the Highlights of Singapore. Goway even offers a Paris and Maldives combo tour for the ultimate romantic getaway.
10. What are your top three tips for agents who want to sell the Maldives?
One: I’ve said it before and I’m repeating it again: this is a one island/one resort destination. It’s such a unique appeal. Realize that the accommodation is the destination.
Two: Focus on the value of the package, not just the price tag. You get a lot for your money.
Three; Know the benefits of all-inclusive packaging, which can greatly help you sell the Maldives to clients who may not think they can afford it.