Maldives luxury shotThe politically challenged island nation of the Maldives has emerged as the world’s leading luxury holiday destination – or the most expensive, depending on your perspective – with an average daily room rate of USD683 according to a presentation from STR Global at the HICAP conference in Hong this week.

And despite the already outrageous prices, industry experts believe there’s plenty of scope for further growth.

“We see enormous opportunity and tremendous upside in the Maldives,” Scott Hetherington, CEO Asia at Jones Lang LaSalle, told delegates.

He said the country already has 15 resorts where the average daily room rate exceeds $1000. “And it’s not like they have low occupancies – they are doing 70, 80, 90%.”

Vincent Yeo from CDL Hospitality Trusts said the Maldivian market is being driven by an influx of Chinese visitors, a trend that’s also evened out traditional seasonal fluctuations.

“Statistics now show that one oout of every four visitors to the Maldives comes from China,” Mr Yeo said.

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