The Maldives has been named the best beach destination at the 2016 Italian Travel Awards, held in Rome.
Considered the most prestigious award in the Italian tourism industry, the Maldives fended off competition from the Seychelles and Polynesia to win the prize.
A total of 43 awards were given out from 15 different categories, in the spectacular Acquario Romano in the centre of the Italian capital.
Founded by pioneering Italian investors in the 1970s, the Maldivian tourism industry now sees
1.2 million visitors arrive each year. Italy remains a strong market, with more than 65,000 Italian tourists representing 5.3 percent of the total.
After Italian visitors increased by 13 percent in 2015, Italian hotel chain Baglioni Hotels recently revealed plans to launch its first Maldives resort in early 2017, on the island of Maagau in Dhaalu atoll.
The Maldives was also the recipient of the best Indian Ocean beach destination at this year’s World Travel Awards, leaving it in the running to be named the world’s best beach locale at the global awards to be held in Maldives this December.