SO/ Maldives, Bangkok Airways optimistic over Maldives business opportunities


SO/ Maldives and Bangkok Airways report their optimism about increasing their business opportunities in the Maldives, with Thais avid visitors, writes Suchit Leesa-Nguansuk of Bangkok Post.

“Bangkok Airways resumed flights to Maldives after the pandemic in September 2023, seeing the potential of the islands as one of the dream destinations among tourists,” said Chanthip Thongkanya, vice-president’s of the airline’s office of president.

Chanthip added Bangkok Airways is enhancing its strategic partnerships with diverse allies to promote travel to Maldives.

The airline currently operates four direct, full-service, flights per week from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to Velana International Airport (VIA), Maldives.

The flights currently operate on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday using an Airbus A319 aircraft.

“Since resuming this route, we’ve accumulated 22,000 passengers so far as of the first quarter of this year with a load factor over 50%. We aim to increase the load factor on this route to 70% by the end of this year, bouncing back to the pre-pandemic level,” Chanthip added.

Majority of passengers traveling this route are Japanese, Koreans, Thais, and Chinese as well as Maldivians.

Besides Bangkok Airways, SO/ Maldives is also excited over the potential growth in business opportunities owing to arrival growth.

“Maldives is among the leading destinations worldwide, presenting numerous business opportunities, reflected in the increasing number of hotels and resorts,” said Oreste Traetto, the resort manager of SO/ Maldives.

SO/ Maldives is part of S Hotels and Resorts, the global hospitality arm of Singha Estate, which launched its SO/ luxury-lifestyle property in the Maldives in November 2023. It is a USD 60-million joint venture developedin in partnership with Wai Eco World Developer (WEWD), a leading business and real estate conglomerate.

“While SO/ Maldives is relatively new to the Maldivian market, we’re confident in the global recognition of our brand. We believe the Maldives is well-suited to our brand,” Traetto added.

“The most important aspect for us is the ‘human’ one — how our team servces people and their ability to listen and adapt based on the customer’s requirements. We are truly centered around this brand orientation, which embodies the most significant meaning of luxury,” he added.

Traetto also revealed the resort’s commitment on reducing its environmental impact, installing solar panels in 53 of its villas and three outlets, accounting for 45% of its energy load.

“We’re working towards eco-label certifications and have eliminated single-use plastics from our front-of-house operations, with plans to extend this to back-of-house areas.”

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