Interviews Maldives

Marathon Tourism in Maldives

January 23, 2018

“Sports tourism” is taking Asia by storm, but will Western runners want to traverse through Maldives’ geographically dispersed islands?

Spectator sports tourism enjoys a high priority, especially with the magnitude of media coverage given to some of the most popular sporting events. But infrastructures such as stadiums and arenas required to hold such sporting events are costly to build and operate. The outcome of investing on such projects may not always be justifiable in terms of economic benefits to the destination or as a sports tourism strategy. Participation sports tourism is not as popular as spectator sports tourism in terms of infrastructure, but it covers a broad array of activities for all ages and tastes, ranging from individual participation to competition. Events based on its size and level could be aligned to fit a destination’s resources and capacity.

There is plenty of evidence to show that people are increasingly travelling across the globe to take part in mass participation sports events, and running has been topping the list. Furthermore, they are frequently accompanied by non-participating friends or family members, increasing the benefits to the destination in a tourism perspective. That being said, running in Maldives has also received widespread attention among the local population as well as visitors since its inception in 2007, “Dhiraagu Maldives Road Race” is now held annually and named after its organizer and the country’s largest telecommunications service provider, it is also recognized by AIMS (Association of International Marathons and Distance Races).


Dhiraagu Maldives Road Race is the first International Run held in the Maldives.

So, Does Maldives have a potential for marathon tourism? I managed to find answers from two of the country’s prominent figures in the field of  tourism:

Kate← Yoosuf Riffath, President, Association of Travel Agents (ATA)
Of course, there is so much scope and potential for marathon tourism in the Maldives, specially in islands like Canareef Resort Maldives situated on Herathera Island, Addu city; and Laamu atoll with the country’s longest asphalt road connecting the four neighboring islands of Gan, Maandhoo, Kahdhoo and Fonadhoo.

Expert Vagabond

Abdulla Ghiyas, President, Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) →
The brand “Maldives” itself sells as a product out there. Majority of global travelers see Maldives as a great destination and always have it on their bucket list. So, if they ever get an opportunity to travel to the Maldives, whether as a tourist or for work, or in this case to participate in a marathon, I am sure they would not let that opportunity pass by. The brand Maldives can be just associated with anything.

Here are some exciting runs lined up for 2018 in Maldives!

Coca-Cola runinlaamu26 - 27 JanuaryLaamu atoll
In it for the LONG RUN03 FebruaryHulhumalé
Coca-Cola Long Run 201820-AprHulhumalé
BML Wow Kidz Run 20184-MayRasfannu area, Malé
runnamaari araane22-Jun-
Minute Maid qalourun 201826-Jul-
Coca-Cola runinaddu10 - 11 AugustAddu city
Dhiraagu Maldives Road Race 2018-Hulhumalé
Ooredoo Color Run 2018-Hulhumalé

A series of eco-friendly marathons held throughout the year to encourage the Maldives population to exercise and stay healthy can also be both challenging and rewarding, and it is more than just a mere competition. It could also help to promote Maldives across the globe, especially among the more health-conscious travelers. While the participants have to endure humid temperatures during the race, the visitors especially, can also get to discover some of the island nation’s natural beauty and the scenic ocean views from Addu and Laamu atoll.

As the old saying goes, “Always take the scenic route”. So, check the Maldives race calendar and pack your running gear to hop on a flight to the Maldives. Ready? Set. Run!

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