Amira Fathimath – Auckland University of Technology
Simon Milne – Auckland University of Technology
MARKETING MALDIVES BEYOND ‘THE SUNNY SIDE OF LIFE’: A ROLE FOR FOOD?
Local food is used to enrich tourist experiences and differentiate destinations and can play an important role in tourism marketing. This study evaluates the role of local food in Maldives tourism promotion. The success of Maldives tourism is based on the promotion of its environmental features, but with few differentiating factors and limited attractions, Maldives tourism is vulnerable to competitors with similar products. What Maldives tourism needs is broader visitor experiences that enhance product attractiveness. Through analysis of printed and web-based tourism marketing materials, this study reveals food is not featured as an attraction. However, surveys of operators and industry experts indicate considerable benefits can be expected from linking food and tourism. These stakeholders believe there is a desire among tourists to experience local food. Some constraints that hinder linking local food with tourism are revealed, including under-developed transportation and logistics, shortages of skilled staff and a lack of communication between producers and tourism operators. Suggestions on linking local food to tourism are presented, including potential local foods and food-related events that could be successfully integrated into the tourist experience.
Key words: Maldives, tourism, marketing, local food.
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