Maldives Border Miles (MBM), a loyalty program initiated by Maldives Immigration in collaboration with key government stakeholders, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with global digital travel platform Agoda to boost tourism in the country.
The partnership will utilise Agoda’s global network, technology and travel expertise, integrated marketing capabilities, intelligence tools and resources, to optimise traffic/bookings and drive more awareness to the MBM programme.
The agreement was signed on 22nd November 2021, in the presence of John Brown, CEO of Agoda and dignitaries from the Maldives Tourism Ministry, Deputy Minister, Dr Naushad Mohamed, Controller-General of Immigration, Mr Mohamed Ahmed Hussain, and key stakeholders from the Tourism Ministry, Maldives Border Miles, Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) the Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC). This marks the first high-level interaction between the Minister of Tourism and the Controller-General of Immigration and Agoda.
A world’s first destination loyalty program for tourists, the free to join, three-tiered MBM program accumulates reward points for travellers to the Maldives based on their accommodation booking and chosen in market activities. Members will need to earn a specific number of points to reach each tier (Aida, Antara and Abaarana), each offering a different range of privileges to its members, which can be utilised during current and return visits to the country.
Under the MoU, the first to be signed by MBM with a global OTA, both parties will mutually agree to undertake shared promotional efforts via branded landing pages, digital promotions via owned channels, special accommodation/booking discounts on Agoda for MBM members, technical consultancy, sharing of expertise and more. The 12-month contract is designed to expand loyalty to return visitors, achieve greater customer acquisition and ultimately reinvigorate the travel landscape in the Maldives.
“The Border Miles program was set up in 2020, to incentivise the post-pandemic return to travel. In less than a year, our member base has grown to over 50,000 signups, half of which have come through in the last two weeks alone. It's clear that demand is high and our partnership with a global digital platform like Agoda will only accelerate this growth to a much wider global audience, reaching previously untapped origin markets. I believe this partnership will bring prosperity to the program and we have so much to learn from one another and together, we can make this world’s first program truly recognized globally.”, said Mr Mohamed Ahmed Hussain, Controller-General of Immigration, Maldives.
According to Agoda’s inbound search data, the Maldives has seen a 5x uplift (400% increase), since two weeks to prior to the opening announcement on 1 July to date, indicating a clear demand for the destination. The country’s earlier than expected vaccination roll-out and effectiveness of its COVID-related policies has led to the first signs of recovery by July 2021. The governments initial benchmark to bring in 900,000 tourists by the end of the year was surpassed when it hit its one millionth tourist in October.
“We applaud the Ministry of Tourism in Maldives and the Controller-General of Immigration for spearheading such forward-thinking initiatives to aid in the country’s rebound. Agoda strives to be a supportive partner to the governments and communities we operate in, this time in the Maldives, to leverage our technology and robust marketing strategies to help stimulate the tourism economy. We are optimistic of the benefit this will bring to the Maldives’ tourism industry and are honored to play a contributing part in this.”, said John Brown, CEO of Agoda.