[IMG=21639-7478]In season 2006-2007 air traffic volume from Moscow to the Maldives has considerably increased, travel market experts say. Last year total air traffic volume on the route was 1300 seats on charter flights, while at the moment a number has increased at around 1850 seats. Charter flights to the destination were announced by Holiday M (IL-62 Rossia, 29.12.06 – 09.01.07), Maldiviana (IL-86 ВАСО, 29.12.06 – 10.01.07 and 02.01.07 – 14.01.07), Spectrum (IL-96 KrasAir, 28.12.06 – 07.01.07 and 04.01.07 – 14.01.07). Furthermore, long charter programs will be operated by Transaero (Puteshestvui! – consolidator, Boeing -767, 31.12.06 – 10.01.07; Boeing -747, 03.01.07 – 14.01.07). Together with scheduled flights by Emirates and Qatar Airways the total volume on the route is assed at 2700 seats.
Meanwhile, increase in charter flights to the Maldives aggravated the constant problem of the destination – how to support air traffic volume with the adequate number of hotel rooms of the archipelago. Thus, Dmitry Gora, Head of the Maldivian Department of Tourbureau Moscow, commented as follows: ‘Tour operators pay for in-country services in advance. Maldives leave no possibility to maneuver the situation for tour operators’. Elena Kuklina, Senior Manager of Spectrum, added: ‘at the moment ‘middle-class’ hotels are difficult to confirm. It is easier to book luxe hotels’. According to Vladimir Stogonenko, Director of Holiday M, hotel base of the Maldives works at the maximum output: ‘we should take into account charters from Great Britain, Italy, Germany. Only the Russian market showed 520-seat surplus’.
It is interesting, that in this season even tourists seem to realize the problem of shortage of accommodation. ‘Bookings for the New Year period started at the beginning of October that is a month earlier than usually’, Kuklina said. Vladimir Strogonenko, confirmed: ‘everything will be booked by December 5th, while last year sales continued until December 20th’. However, he does not exclude that the agiotage around New Year tours to Maldives was sdeliberately provoked: ‘some tour operators managed to persuade the consumer market that chances to go to the Maldives are disappearing’. This version was also mentioned by one more travel market expert, who pointed out that apparently some travel companies create artificial shortage in the Maldivian market’. At the moment a standard tour package with 4* accommodation in the Maldives costs $1200–1300, that is forecasted to increase by 70% during the New Year period.
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