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24 new resorts in 2018... can we keep the momentum?

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The hottest resort openings in 2018

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Much Addu About Something

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The mighty Lhos trees of Maldives

Jonas Amstad on enhancing, enriching guest experience at LUX* South Ari Atoll

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Kurumba Maldives’ young Operations Manager Ali Farooq

Looking ahead‌

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Transformational travel: get on board with the next big travel trend

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CREDITS Publisher Ismail Faseeh Publishing Director Ibrahim Mahudhee

Dear readers,

Content Director Ali Naafiz

Welcome to the third issue of Maldives Insider Travel & Tourism.

Writers Ali Naafiz Xavier Romero Frías Mohamed Visham Daniel Bosley James Roberts

It’s a tough time for everyone in the industry. With a combination of newfound domestic political turmoil and unprecedented expansion across all segments, there are voices of concern as well as optimism within the industry.

Layout and Design Moobeen Jaleel Sales and Marketing Ismail Faseeh Ibrahim Mahudhee Moobeen Jaleel Ali Naafiz Photography Aishath Naj Ibrahim Asad Resort photos: courtesy of the respective resort Cover Photo Carpe Diem Beach Resort & Spa Contributors Nasrulla Adnan Abdulla Saaid Moosa Rameez Ahmed Hameed

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Maldives Promotion House Pvt Ltd Unit 1B, H. Meedhoo, Finihiya Goalhi Male’ 20066, Maldives Tel: (960) 3000760 mail: info@maldives.net.mv maldives.net.mv

In light of these events, we thought it would be good to look ahead and touch upon the developments taking place in the industry. The third issue of Maldives Insider Travel & Tourism looks at the current as well as new trends in travel and tourism, told through experts and professionals in the Maldives hospitality industry. We spoke with Jonas Amstad, the newly appointed General Manager at LUX* South Ari atoll, about the transformation of his lifestyle resort and the industry as a whole. To put things in perspective, we have given an overview of the new Four Seasons Maldives Private Island at Voavah, the first exclusive-use private island retreat by world-renowned hotel chain Four Seasons. We have also curated a list of the most anticipated new resorts opening across the Maldives this year, while taking you through the development of tourism in the southernmost Addu atoll. As we make new strides with this bi-monthly publication, we are also introducing a special section to promote local talent in the industry. Through this section, which debuts with the story of Kurumba Maldives’ dynamic Operations Manager Ali Farooq, we hope that more young locals will be inspired to join this ever-expanding industry. Enjoy reading. — Team

w /maldives.net.mv b @maldives @MaldivesInsider Page

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REVIEW

The Maldives will welcome an abundance of new hotels in 2018 PHOTO: KADINMA

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


24 NEW RESORTS IN 2018‌ CAN WE KEEP THE MOMENTUM? by Ali Naafiz

W

hen it comes to tourism in Maldives, it seems there isn’t enough. Almost every day, we here the announcement of a new resort by renowned international hotel chains as well as seasoned local hoteliers and entrepreneurs. As one hospitality executive put it, everybody wants a piece of the pie! But can we keep the momentum? The Maldives will welcome an abundance of new hotels in 2018, expanding its already well-established portfolio of luxury resorts. In his presidential address to the inaugural sitting of the parliament for the year, President Abdulla Yameen Abdulla said 24 new resorts and two new city hotels will open this year. With these new resort and hotel openings, the number of beds in the country will increase to more than 5,300, he added.

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OVERVIEW

“In the past year, the tourist arrivals in the Maldives have increased by eight percent, with more than 1.3 million tourists visiting. This is a huge achievement for our tourism industry,” the president said. President Yameen has on various occasions reiterated his electoral pledge of opening 50 new resorts in the Maldives during his first five-year term. Keeping with the government’s pledge, 11 new resorts came into operation in 2016, followed by at least 15 new properties last year. Over the past five years, dozens of uninhabited islands have been leased to local and foreign resort developers, resulting in a rapid increase in new resort openings. Singapore’s Park Hotel Group has opened its first resort in the Maldives, while major international hotel chains such as AccorHotels have entered the Maldives with three openings and two in the pipeline. Brands like Hard Rock International, Capella Hotel Group, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Emaar Hospitality Group, Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, Baglioni Hotels, Emerald Collection and Meliá Hotels International have announced their entry to the Maldives as well.

Existing international players are also upping their presence, with Marriott International set to launch Westin brand, Hilton Worldwide to re-introduce its top-end luxury brand Waldorf Astoria, Aitken Spence Hotels and Resorts to introduce its Heritance brand, Minor Hotel Group to introduce its AVANI brand, and LUX* Hotels and Resorts to open its second resort in the Maldives. Centara Hotels and Resorts has also signed a management agreement for its fourth resort in the tropical destination. Leading local hotel groups, including Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts, Sun Siyam Resorts, and Crown and Champa Resorts, have also announced expansion plans. The first integrated tourism developments in the Maldives — Emboodhoo Lagoon project and Rah Falhu Huraa lagoon project — are also underway. However, this rapid expansion of supply has resulted in a slowdown in growth in tourism, after years of double-digit growth. The government has set an ambitious target of attracting 1.5 million tourists by the end of this year, but the country has been struggling to create demand amidst a significant increase in bed capacity.

Central bank projects ‘firm growth’ Performance in the Maldives tourism industry is expected to firm up during the year despite the current political instability, the country’s central bank has said. In its annual report, Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) said the brisk performance of the tourism sector is mostly stemming from the increased number of tourists from the European market, reflecting improved growth prospects for that region. Premised on this positive outlook for the sector, bed nights growth is projected to firm at seven percent this year, it added.

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The central bank’s projections are in line with growth trends reported by other authorities as well as independent research firms. According to official figures released by the tourism ministry, total arrivals for the first five months of the year increased by 10.6 percent to reach 632,729 compared to the 572,318 in the same period of last year. Meanwhile, data compiled by leading global market research and analysis firm STR has shown that Maldives posted the highest occupancy level for a Q1 since 2014 thanks to the highest Q1 demand increase in the destination since 2010.

MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


According to STR’s Asia/Pacific hotel performance report for Q1 2018, occupancy in the Maldives during the January-March period stood at 76.7 percent — a year-overyear increase of 7.6 percent. This represents the highest absolute occupancy level for a Q1 in Maldives since 2014 thanks to the highest Q1 demand increase in the country (10.6 percent growth) since 2010, it said.

STR data also showed that Average Daily Rate (ADR) in the Maldives increased by 1.6 percent to MVR 12,569.93 (USD 815.10) in Q1, while Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) in the destination also recorded a 9.4 percent growth to reach MVR 9,637.91 (USD 624.97) during the first three months of the year.

Q1 2018 STATISTICS

76.7%

7.6%

815.10

$

occupancy

ADR

1.6%

624.97

$

9.4%

RevPAR

Politics gets in the way The new year began with a flurry of good news for the Maldives; occupancy was at a record high after years of negative growth and tourist arrivals were showing double digit growth for months straight. Then politics rocked the nation, and the industry was back to square one. Maldives has attracted a wave of bad publicity following the recent declaration and extension of a state of emergency, which ended in March. However, the political turmoil is strictly restricted to the capital city, away from the resorts and local islands where holidaymakers stay in. In its annual report, MMA also admitted the downside risks of forward booking cancellations following the domestic political tension at the turn of the year. However, overall risks to the sector outlook are broadly balanced, as the high frequency data pointed to the impact being mild, the authority said.

“The projections may even tilt towards the upside if the healthy performance seen in the first quarter of 2018 continues throughout the year,” the report read. The political turmoil has affected arrival numbers, with the destination reporting a decline in tourist arrivals for two consecutive months – the first negative growth in years. Official figures for the month of April released by the tourism ministry show that a total of 119,713 tourists visited the Maldives during the month — a 0.1 percent decrease over the 119,774 tourists in April 2017. In May, a total of 92,913 tourists visited the Maldives — a 0.6 percent decrease over the 93,491 tourists in May 2017. Asia, the second largest regional source market, has been the hardest hit, as arrivals from Asia decreased 4.6 percent in April and 8.8 percent in May.

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OVERVIEW

Arrivals from China declined by 27.1 percent to reach 16,927 compared to the 23,225 in May 2017. This decline, which came after declines of 27.5 percent and 28 percent in March and April respectively and another 15.8 percent in January, offset the rare gain in arrival numbers from China in February and led to a 10.9 percent decline in arrivals from the Maldives’ single biggest source market for the JanuaryMay period. Despite an overall growth of 2.2 percent in April, several individual European markets also felt the negative impact of the political turmoil during the month. Arrivals from Germany were down 18.8 percent, while Italy and Spain posted declines of 2.5 percent and 17.1 percent respectively. However, after double digit declines in April, major European markets rebounded in May with significant

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gains of 22 percent, 18.2 percent, 4.1 percent and 29.9 percent in arrivals from Germany, France, Italy and Spain respectively. The coming months are crucial as the Maldives deals with the traditionally low summer season associated with the rainy South-West Monsoon, or Hulhangu as it is called in local Dhivehi language, which runs from May to October. To cope with the low arrival numbers and occupancy levels during this season – factors that have been worsened by the rapid increase in supply – resorts in the Maldives are announcing summer offers with hefty discounts and a host of other complimentary benefits. With the non-traditional factors of growing supply and politics in play, can Maldives tourism keep the momentum?

MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018

OBLU Select at Sangeli: One of the newest resort to open in Maldives PHOTO: ATMOSPHERE


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REVIEW

The HOTTEST RESORT OPENINGS in 2018

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


tourism has flourished, witnessing a great rise in the standard of service as well levels of accommodation PHOTO: NAUTILUS MALDIVES

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ne of the most idyllic places on earth, Maldives boasts turquoise waters, powder soft white sand beaches, vibrant coral reefs with thriving marine life – the makings of the ultimate holiday destination.

True to that, the island nation opened up for tourism with the opening of Kurumba Maldives resort in 1972. Since then, tourism has flourished, witnessing a great rise in the standard of service as well levels of accommodation and cuisine – all thanks to a rapid expansion in the luxury resort segment. This year is no different. Both local entrepreneurs and international hotel chains are opening new resorts in the Maldives, making the destination more accessible than ever. In this issue of Maldives Insider Travel & Tourism, we round up the hottest resort openings for 2018, from a big-brand party paradise to an adultsonly boutique hideaway.

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REVIEW

Kudadoo Maldives Private Island by Hurawalhi This small, exclusive private island resort in the northern Lhaviyani atoll embraces all hallmarks of exclusivity and intimacy. Serviced by Hurawalhi Maldives, which is located a mere five-minute away, Kudadoo allows guests to make full use of all the facilities of a larger resort, including Hurawalhi’s signature 5.8 undersea restaurant. Kudadoo, accessible by a scenic 40-minute seaplane ride from the Maldives’ main Velana International Airport, houses 13 Ocean Villas of 300 square metres (one bedroom) and two Ocean Villas of 380 square metres (two bedroom), all with infinity pool, sunset view and personal butler. The Ocean Villas offer privacy, spaciousness and comfort. They feature a contemporary design that resembles the epitome of tropical chic with clean lines, earth tone colours and natural building materials which harmonise perfectly with the surrounding lush, landscaped vegetation on the unspoiled island. Despite being serviced by Hurawalhi Maldives, the private island of Kudadoo will also come complete with its own over-water restaurant and bar. The island’s own haven of relaxation, the award-winning Duniye Spa, inspires both with unpretentious elegance and an emphasis on personalised well-being. Opening mid-2018

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


Joali Maldives Located in the northern Raa atoll, the elegant one- to four-bedroom villas and residences at Joali Maldives are the epitome of sustainable glamour. Each of the 72 villas and residences takes inspiration from individual stories and evokes a sense of unconventional luxury with hand-picked artisanal amenities, curated in-room libraries, music, movies, thoughtful design and deluxe objet d’art. In addition, they have a dedicated Joali butler and private infinity pool. Four restaurants provide inventive fusion cuisine from Asian and Peruvian to Italian and Mediterranean dishes. Guests will have the opportunity to learn and enjoy delicious meals through personalised cooking experiences, and sweet cravings will be satisfied by Joali’s artisanal chocolate and ice-cream. Joali is one of the first and only resorts in Maldives to be immersed in art, with interactive and experiential pieces featuring throughout the island. Many pieces are a collaboration with local artists and artisans, in order to support their community. Art-lovers can indulge their passion at the resort’s art studio, offering interactive events with guest artists and workshops. Joali Spa by ESPA offers the ultimate spa experience and personalised treatments, and guests can enjoy working out while being surrounded by nature at Joali. Opening September 2018

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OPENINGS

Carpe Diem Beach Resort and Spa Adding to Carpe Diem Maldives’ existing three high-end liveaboard cruise vessels is the private island of Carpe Diem Beach Resort and Spa, located in the northern Raa atoll. With an emphasis on an activity-driven atmosphere, the resort’s tagline, Social by Nature reflects an easy-going travellers’ finesse against the backdrop of a healthy house reef and a significantly large lagoon. Each of the 115 private pool villas at Carpe Diem Beach Resort and Spa have sliding doors leading on to a large deck with a shaded seating area and a sundrenched plunge pool. Ten accommodation choices have been designed with a modern and social traveller in mind to offer a vibrant addition to this revered Indian Ocean destination. Introducing a new room category to the Maldives market, five Overwater Pool Villas are dedicated to solo travellers looking to share twin bed accommodation, omitting the need for a single supplement. A full-board stay for all guests at Carpe Diem Beach Resort and Spa includes house wines and beer, as well as access to an inflatable water park in the private lagoon. Bespoke and signature dining choices, a contemporary spa, and an overwater tapas and sunset club with a transparent dance floor combine with a myriad water sport experiences to create a truly unique, forward-thinking resort. Opening September 2018

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


Hard Rock Hotel Maldives Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and Hard Rock Cafe Maldives are part of the first phase of the highly anticipated Emboodhoo Lagoon project, which is undertaken by leading Thai developer Singha Estate as the first integrated tourism destination in the Maldives. The first phase consists of a USD 311.5 million investment that is expected to stimulate tourism, offering vacationers a rich combination of world-class offerings such as hotels, entertainment, retail and fine dining. Inspired by local Maldivian culture, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives will infuse contemporary design features with tropical architecture throughout the property, alongside regionallyinspired, authentic music memorabilia. The hotel will provide guests with exclusive brand offerings and amenities, including The Sound of Your Stay music programme, offering complimentary use of Fender guitars and Crosley record players for in-room jam sessions as well as a renowned full-service Rock Spa, a Rock Shop selling all brand merchandise, Roxity Kids Club and Teen Spirit Club. Guests can also treat their taste buds to delectable on-site food and beverage options, ranging from a pool bar and all-day dining to a beach grill restaurant and in-villa dine experiences. Just steps from the hotel, guests will enjoy authentic American cuisine amidst the ultimate rock atmosphere at Hard Rock Cafe Maldives. With direct boat transportation from the airport and situated within the Emboodhoo Lagoon development, Hard Rock Cafe Maldives will provide approximately 185 seats both indoors and outdoors while offering diners exclusive beach access, taking dining with a view to a whole new level. Opening October 2018

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REVIEW

Emerald Maldives Resort and Spa Managed by Rome-headquartered hotel chain Emerald Collection, Emerald Maldives Resort and Spa is being developed on the island of Fasmendhoo in the northern Raa atoll, which is accessible by a scenic 45-minute seaplane flight or a 30-minute domestic flight from the main Velana International Airport to Ifuru Domestic Airport followed by a 20-minute speedboat ride. The island, which is composed of 20 hectares of land and 100 hectares of lagoon, will boast 120 luxurious villas — 60 on land and 60 over water — with their own private pool and Jacuzzi. The 120 rooms will also include one Royal Villa, two Presidential Villas (one on land and the other overwater) and several varieties of Superior Beach Villas. Four restaurants will offer a variety of international cuisine, including Mediterranean and Asian delicacies, while the Emerald Spa will be a unique facility that offers a full range of spa services tailored to the guests’ every need. Emerald Maldives Resort and Spa will have a sports centre that includes two tennis courts, one squash court and a football field. A dive and water sports centre will also be situated on the beach, allowing guests to use Hobie Cats, kayaks and kite surf under the eyes of the resort’s water sports team. Opening October 2018

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


Baglioni Resort Maldives Located on the private island of Maagau in Dhaalu atoll, Baglioni Resort Maldives is accessible by a 40-minute seaplane flight from the main Velana International Airport. Surrounded by turquoise waters, velvet white sand and the tropical nature of one of the most spectacular Maldivian islands, the resort will allow guests to experience a bespoke stay in the heart of the Indian Ocean with the unique Italian hospitality of Baglioni Hotels. This exclusive five-star resort features 96 villas: garden, beach, overwater or family options along with a three-bedroom Presidential Water Villa. The three restaurants – international, Japanese and Italian – include many ingredients sourced directly from the resort’s own vegetable garden. Designed to minimise the environmental impact with sustainable materials and measures for the maximum sustainability and efficiency, Baglioni Resort Maldives will be the perfect destination for an unforgettable stay between sport and relax, all enriched by a prestigious gastronomic offer for the most exclusive international clientele. Opening November 2018

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OPENINGS

The Nautilus Maldives A privately-owned island in the heart of Baa Atoll UNESCO biosphere reserve, this new boutique 26-room resort is the brainchild of Dr I U Maniku, a Maldivian entrepreneur with over 30 years’ experience in business and resort ownership. Each of the 26 houses is a suite, with separate living room and bedroom. Fifteen one- and two-bedroom houses line the beach, while 11 one- and two-bedroom houses stand on stilts over the lagoon. Daylight fills the rooms and interior design is tropical with a touch of boho chic whimsy. Most of the furnishings custom-built for The Nautilus. At the three restaurants and poolside bar, guests can explore ‘unscripted dining’. The Nautilus is a world where a menu is just a place to gather inspiration and meals are designed for the guest, whenever they want to eat. Dining, for those wishing to follow chef ’s suggestions, include intriguing infusions of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine at the overwater signature restaurant; elegant simplicity with Japanese and Latin-American creations at the grill; and global delicacies at the all-day dining restaurant. On the quiet, unrushed shores of The Nautilus, life moves at a different pace and guests are given all the time in the world to reflect and recalibrate. Opening November 2018

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


Raffles Maldives Meradhoo Set on the private island of Meradhoo, the existing Dhevanafushi Maldives Luxury Resort Managed by AccorHotels is set to be repositioned following major enhancements, and join the iconic collection of Raffles Hotels and Resorts. Raffles Maldives Meradhoo Resort boasts 21 island villas and 16 ocean villas with private pools, three restaurants, a scenic cocktail bar and an array of facilities and activities to relax, rejuvenate and reinvigorate the body, mind and spirit. These facilities include an award-winning luxury spa, overwater fitness centre, yoga programmes, water sports, private dining options, 24-hour butler and private chef service, along with snorkelling and diving at its finest. The resort’s PADIcertified dive centre offers adventures through the wonders of some of most breath-taking coral reefs in the world. A 55-minute flight from the main Velana International Airport and a 15-minute speedboat transfer can access the resort, located on Meradhoo island in Gaafu Alif atoll. Opening late 2018

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REVIEW

Pullman Maldives Maamutaa Located in the southern Gaafu Alif Atoll, Pullman Maldives Maamutaa will be accessible by a 55-minute domestic flight from the main Velana International Airport to Kooddoo Airport, followed by a short 10-minute speedboat ride. The 120-villa Pullman Maamutaa will be a ‘one-island, one resort project’ on the gorgeous, unspoilt Maamutaa Island which spans 195,000 square metres. A destination in itself, it will be one of the most modern resorts in the Maldives, offering guests five-star services and facilities including 80 spacious bungalows set over the water and 40 dotted around the pristine beach. The island will have two swimming pools, a lounge, an all-day dining restaurant, a specialty restaurant, a sunset bar perched over the lagoon, a spa and fitness centre, organic gardens, tennis court, kids club, beach playground as well as a dive centre and water sports centre, so that guests can make the most out of their stay in this spectacular location. Opening late 2018

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


Mรถvenpick Resort and Spa Kuredhivaru Maldives Set on a private island in the stunning Noonu atoll, Mรถvenpick Resort and Spa Kuredhivaru Maldives will feature 105 luxury beach and overwater villas, all with their own private swimming pool. While designed as a destination for relaxing and rejuvenating escapes offering a high degree of privacy, the contemporary tropical resort will combine comfort and style while featuring an array of onsite recreational facilities to entertain a wide range of guests, from honeymooners to adventurous families. Rich in marine life and excellent diving opportunities, the waters surrounding the resort will play an integral role in its appeal through a variety of above and underwater experiences. The resort will feature a comprehensive dive centre, beach sports activity centre, exclusive guest-only superyacht, as well as a small scale marine research centre and private marina. Exquisite culinary experiences are a cornerstone of the Mรถvenpick experience and the new Maldivian resort will offer five unique dining venues. Amongst these are a welcoming allday dining restaurant, a speciality restaurant with sunset views, a seafood restaurant, a grill bar and private dining room for special occasions. Enticing wellness and recreational facilities will include a luxurious spa with 14 private treatment rooms. Other features include a tranquil yoga pavilion, a state-of-the-art gym, water sports centre, volleyball and tennis courts. The resort will also have a business centre, library and retail boutique to further ensure guests enjoy a convenient and carefree stay. Opening late 2018

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REVIEW

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PASSENGER LAUNCH LENGTH : 47 FT CAPACITY: 42 + 6

AL SHAALI MARINE MALDIVES PVT LTD (960) 664-6066 h info@asmarinemaldives.com www.asmarinemaldives.com w b u /asmarinemaldives

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


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Looking ahead…

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owder white beaches, incredible sea life and, best of all, peace and quiet are things holiday-makers could never tire of. And so, the lure of the Maldives for the rich and high profile remains strong, as the destination is seen to afford both security and privacy away from everything. However, there are some serious concerns that the ongoing expansion of the industry will have a negative impact on appeal of the destination. The number of rooms is expected to rise by over 30 percent by 2020-2021, which according to the tourism ministry’s figures will add to the over 120 resorts in operation. In light of these developments, we speak to top industry stakeholders about the future of tourism in Maldives:

“We’ve a lot of challenges, especially with a lot of new beds coming into the market in a very short period. We need to do things differently from Fiji, Seychelles and all the other island destinations. For that, we need to come together as an industry and see what we can do collectively to support this destination. When travellers make a choice, they don’t first choose a hotel; instead, they first choose a destination and then go on to choose a property in that destination.” Glenn Daniels, General Manager - Dhigali Maldives

“I don’t see the number of new hotels coming up as a threat. With increased entry points and facilities, there will be space for a large enough market to sustain the existing and any upcoming hotels. I believe that the whole infrastructure of the country that supports this industry will also move towards where the Maldives should be.” Amit Majmuder, General Manager - Jumeirah Vittaveli

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


“Global tourism is booming, but we’ve observed a slowdown in growth over the recent years. Individual resorts are doing what they can to fill up their beds, but there’s no effort as an industry to effectively promote the Maldives as a destination. This is where the government and stakeholders need to come together, communicate better and figure out new and creative ways to promote the destination.” Afeef Hussain, Regional Director of Training, Development and Quality Assurance - LUX* Resorts

“Sky is the limit, but we need to have a structured growth process. While we are increasing the number of resorts in a brisk manner, we need to ensure the infrastructure of the destination is also developed parallel and on priority. Accessibility of Maldives plays a key role in expanding our wings worldwide. The current expansion of the international airport will go a long way in increasing flights to the Maldives.” Dinesh Bhaskar, Group Director for Sales and Marketing Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts.

“We’ve to face the facts; in the short run, we all will suffer. We will have to be different and make our own mark. Government will have to set a limit because every uninhabited island can’t be leased for resort development. I think the time for that control is now. The islands that have already been leased are enough. The government should stick with that number and go ahead with the development of support infrastructure.” Suresh Dissanayake, Assistant Vice President for Sales and Marketing Adaaran Resorts Maldives

“Preserving the environment is an ongoing challenge, and I think we need to be very careful about that. The Maldives and its tourism industry exists because of the natural environment. If the corals don’t stay alive, the islands will eventually sink even if the sea level doesn’t rise. That’s what keeps the destination afloat, quite literally, and people are coming for that. If you’ve too many tourists, that will be a challenge. There’s certainly a carrying capacity in the Maldives, and I think it’s not more than four to five million tourists a year.” Sonu Shivdasani, Founder and CEO - Soneva

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REVIEW

JONAS AMSTAD

on enhancing, enriching guest experience at

LUX* South Ari Atoll By Ali Naafiz

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


As a curious young boy of just seven years old, Jonas Amstad had his first stint in the service industry. A chance to work at his godfather’s restaurant at such a young age opened his eyes to the world of hospitality. And he has never looked back! In his nearly 40-year long career, Amstad has landed jobs in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, China, the islands of the South Pacific, and the Indian Ocean, and through a succession of senior hotel roles. Fluent in English, French, German and Russian, the Swiss-born hospitality professional is a true citizen of the world, and has worked in all aspects of hotel management, ranging from food and beverage to operations. He has also developed an exceptional understanding of the needs, tastes and expectations of travellers from a multitude of cultural backgrounds. It is against this background that LUX* Resorts and Hotels in September appointed Amstad to lead the Mauritius based hotel group’s resort in the Maldives, the LUX* South Ari Atoll. At LUX* South Ari Atoll, Amstad is responsible for ensuring that the resort stays ahead of the curve, while enhancing and enriching the guest experience that has earned it a loyal following and a global reputation for excellence. His challenge also includes steering the award-winning resort on its mission to bring the LUX* signature ‘lighter, brighter’ holiday experience to a diverse international clientele. As Amstad returns to the Maldives as the General Manager of LUX* South Ari Atoll, Maldives Insider Travel & Tourism speaks to him about his new posting and his take on the rapid expansion in the Maldives tourism industry.

Travel & Tourism: What were your earliest experiences in the industry? Jonas Amstad: I had my first encounter with the service industry when I was seven years old, in the restaurant of my godfather. I later joined an apprenticeship programme as a cook. From there, I further developed my career as a chef, and later on in different positions in F&B and operations management until I became a GM. I’ve worked in the industry for nearly 40 years. This is my 27th year in a foreign country and my second time in the Maldives.

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INTERVIEW

TnT: What was your first experience in the Maldives? JA: I’ve been in the Maldives before on holiday for about three times. I know what the Maldives looked like and what it has to offer to tourists. That’s probably one of the reasons I accepted my first job in the Maldives.

My first time was at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa in 2015. It was a different experience compared to many of the other locations I’ve worked at. I don’t think there’s any other place in the world where you work with people from so many different nationalities. On this island alone, we’ve over 42 different nationalities. It has a lot of challenges, but it also comes with a lot of excitement because you get to experience different cultures. That was and still is quite interesting to me. I always believe that the more different nationalities you’ve around you, the better you become because everybody has to find themselves at a common ground in terms of respect and acceptance.

I was at Shangri-La’s Villingili for a shorter period than that was agreed because I was promoted and asked to go to China. Since it was the Shangri-La hotel in the hometown of the group owner, it was the most important property in the portfolio.

TnT: What made you join LUX*? JA: Since I knew the Maldives, I was certainly excited to come back. The nice weather, the fresh air and the beautiful surroundings compared to China were an easy catch. The older you get, the more you appreciate the clean air and other benefits that you get to enjoy here in the Maldives. TnT: What makes LUX* different from other brands you have worked with? JA: It’s not so stiff like many other big brands where the framework is a bit stricter in terms of dress code, the target market and so on. Here it’s more relaxed, more guest oriented, and more personalised in terms of service and how we approach the guests. I’d say it’s more of a family connection between employees and guests. I don’t think there’s any other resort in the Maldives where you see so many names of employees mentioned in guest reviews. It’s a remarkable achievement. That proves that there’s a very close relationship between guests and employees.

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Hospitality industry has changed a lot over the past few years. It’s no longer about just providing accommodation or facilities. Guests now look for adventurous holidays, educational holidays, interactive holidays, active holidays and personalised holidays. They want to have a good relationship with the employees. And that’s what LUX* South Ari Atoll offers.

MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


TnT: How would you lead your team in adapting to the changing travel trends? JA: I think we’ve already adapted to the changes. Looking at where we’re standing, I think we’re going in the right direction. But we need to keep on adapting. We’ve to keep listening to the guests because at the end of the day I’m not running the hotel for my own purposes. I’ve to run the hotel in the way the guests like it. TnT: How do you see the rapid expansion in the Maldives tourism industry? JA: It’s a good thing that the industry is growing. We’re all putting our hopes in other investments and infrastructure. The new airport will help all of us in the industry. The Maldives is a unique location that has a lot to offer in terms of scenery and environment. It’s a dream destination. The increased accessibility will help grow the industry.

Tourism is the only industry the Maldives really has and we need to be very careful with the resources we have. I believe we, as owners and operators of resorts, along with the government should focus on developing infrastructure and protect the environment. There are a lot of media reports that say that the Maldives will be underwater in so and so years. I don’t believe that; I think the Maldives will be here in the next 100 years or even more. But we need to take care of the environment, the marine life and the coral gardens.

TnT: In light of the new developments that are taking place, there are concerns of an oversupply. How do you think it will impact the Maldives as a destination? JA: If you’re talking about the five-star segment, there’s an oversupply at the moment. But once the airport expansion is complete and is fully operational, the infrastructure will allow the numbers to increase and offset the oversupply. The airport will also make it more accessible to more markets such as three- and four-star markets whose guests might want to stay for only three or four nights on a lower budget. It’s a good thing that the Maldives is becoming more accessible to other markets because not everybody can afford a fivestar hotel. Middle class people from other markets want to see the beauty of the Maldives as well. It’d be a shame to not allow them just because five-star hotels want to protect their marketshare. At the end of the day, it’s up to the guests to decide if they want to pay 200 dollars a night or 1,000 dollars a night for their holiday.

The ‘Lighter, Brighter’ experience PHOTO: LUX*

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INTERVIEW

Boosting accessibility will also increase the repeat guest segment. For instance, a guest might want to pay 200 dollars on their first trip to the Maldives. Then get a new job and have more money, so they choose a four-star hotel on their next visit. And when then they get older, they come here and choose a five-star hotel.

I don’t see it as a threat. I see it as an opportunity. I think the market will regulate itself. We only need to ensure that we’ve the infrastructure to bring in more people.

TnT: How do you see the increasing competition? JA: Competition is growing everywhere and it’s a good thing. It gives the opportunity for guests to choose between different levels of hospitality. It’s like in nature; the strongest will survive and the weakest will vanish. It’s a natural phenomenon and we’ve to embrace it in the industry. I think if we continue to invest in infrastructure, in people and in our way of promoting ourselves, we’ll survive. TnT: In terms of destination marketing, do you think enough is being done? JA: We need to do more. I was in Japan and South Korea just a few months back. Travel agents and tour operators tell us that marketing is currently done by individual hotels. More should be done by the government. Otherwise, it won’t make a difference even if the government built a fantastic airport and allowed Airbus A-380s to land. You can have the facilities to bring in more customers, but if they don’t know about the destination, they won’t be interested in coming here. TnT: What should be done differently to promote the Maldives as a destination? JA: Local Maldivians need to go out there, to other destinations to promote their country. Who can promote their own country better than their own citizens? When people see a Maldivian promoting his or her country, everyone will see that it’s coming from the heart. It might take a bit of time for these efforts to yield results, but I’m sure the return will be higher. TnT: What’s next for LUX* South Ari Atoll? Are there any initiatives you will be implementing soon? JA: I’ve a lot of ideas in my mind, probably too many. But more than anything, I believe that we’ve to take care of our environment because that’s the only reason guests come here. They come here to see the beautiful beaches, the magnificent marine life and coral gardens.

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So, at LUX* South Ari Atoll, we’re very conscious of what goes in the sea. We’ve also started regenerating our reef by coral planting. We’ll hopefully begin breeding clownfish and other marine life. In the future, we’ll also invest in alternative energy such as solar and wind. I strongly believe that certain monitoring measurements should also be incorporated and implemented in our operation.

MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


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REVIEW

Four Seasons

VOAVAH limitless privacy inspired by natural harmony by Mohamed Visham

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


Four Seasons Voavah: pinnacle in luxury travel PHOTO: FOUR SEASONS

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magine an exclusive-use island in the Maldives’ only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that pioneers both marine-enhancing conservation and life-enriching connections: a pinnacle in luxury travel that doesn’t so much as curate experiences for guests as let them create their own. Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah, Baa Atoll is the evolved realisation of two decades of development and dreaming: of preserving the most protected UNESCO waters in

one of the world’s least explored (and most environmentally threatened) countries, while plunging high-end travellers into the deepest immersions of surroundings and self.

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REVIEW

As the first luxury operators in the Maldives some 20 years ago, forward-thinking Four Seasons Resorts Maldives has been paving the “experiential travel” way with interactive conservation initiatives long before they became mainstream. And as the scale and scope of its collection has expanded, so too has the depth and breadth of its preservation programmes. Today, the opportunities available at the seven-bedroom, exclusive-use Voavah Private Island – the fourth offering in the Four Seasons Resorts Maldives collection – are the perfect ode to the very ethos of its UNESCO Biosphere Reserve surroundings: a place where man and nature unite in harmony, interconnecting and protecting. “Nothing about Voavah is one-dimensional,” explains Senior Director of Marketing Lizah By-water. “It is mindful luxury conceived to expand horizons, spark influence and innovation, and so, continue the evolution.” Conceived as a natural extension of its Baa atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve location, Voavah synchronises style and simplicity, sophistication and scenery. Designed to reflect the travels, temperament and

trinkets of an international globetrotter, the private island residence takes each exclusiveuse booking on a global ‘voyage of discovery’ through hand-selected details that enhance the unassuming ‘at home’ vibe.

Harmonic hospitality Voavah’s buildings and facilities were designed around the island’s existing natural elements – from its vast shallow ‘swimming pool’ lagoon on the western side to its established foliage – to honour and protect the raw site. Surrounded by ocean, the design largely revolves around the water and, with such spectacular views, walls of sliding windows feature wherever possible. “By working with Voavah’s existing beauty, the layout and design effectively revealed itself,” says Cedric Jaccard of Asia-based boutique design consultancy, Avalon Collective. “The Beach House hub is contained in the centre of the island, opening onto the spectacular natural lagoon, around which the rest of the design took shape. By restricting the rest of the accommodations to the edges, we were able to leave the island largely untouched, heightening the sense of guests having their own island to explore.” Elementary in their elegance, Voavah’s interiors do not compete with Mother Nature’s magnificence. Instead they unite with her: the neutral colour palette and lack of walls extend ‘inside to outside’, while a mix of natural materials (copper, leather and rattan) and wood (rosewood, mahogany, ebony and teakwood) create texture and everchanging shadows as they dance

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


with the sun. In keeping with the island’s conservation-mindedness, the use of protected and rare natural materials such as mother of pearl and corals has been avoided.

Voyage of discovery The multi-sensory, globally-inspired design experience extends from the use of carefully considered natural resources to a unique selection of artefacts gathered from Asia and beyond. The result is an enticing and eclectic ‘at-home’ feel, with key pieces to draw the eye and steal the heart. The Beach House is accented with Arabic influences. A swinging day bed for six surrounded by extra large sofas encourages communal lounging. Ornate latticework walls embedded with LED lights and candles make for atmospheric evenings, while the lack of walls allows for unrestricted views and a strong connection to the surrounding nature. Isolated in the middle of the lagoon, The Water Villa feels distinctly Southeast Asian with its high-backed ‘Peacock’ chairs and woven fishing baskets from Malaysia and Vietnam fashioned into lamps and side tables. The Ocean of Consciousness Spa features artefacts that enhance the marine concept and connect to the Indian Ocean, from an ornate Rajasthani mirror to large nautical carvings. Simple yet mystical, the spa design encourages the mind to free from its confines and embrace a place of higher consciousness. The Three-bedroom Beach Villa is beautifully understated, with large open spaces and extreme ocean views on three sides to create a true sense of remoteness. No distant islands mar the perfect ocean views, including the endless vistas from the large bathtub in the master bathroom. Unique touches such as the sundeck submerged in the pool enable maximum ocean-inspired relaxation and repose.

Across the island, an eclectic array of wall art, gathered from international travels throughout China, India, Bali and Thailand, centre on the ocean, largely inspired by Four Seasons Resorts Maldives conservation projects: a large ceramic bas-relief of turtles; an intriguing abstract piece comprising cable ties fashioned into coral shapes to reflect the creation process of the resorts’ coral reef regeneration project (which uses cable ties to attach the coral fragments to coral frames to ‘build’ new coral reefs); and beautiful carvings of octopi, swordfish, starfish and more.

Island adventures for all Voavah, located in the central Baa atoll, opened in December 2016, becoming the world’s first exclusive-use hideaway in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This secluded two-hectare haven transcends the private island experience by being “entirely yours” from the moment of booking, with seven bedrooms, a Beach House, a dive school and a 62-foot (18.9 metre) yacht offering ultimate privacy for up to 20 guests at a time. As the private island is solely available for exclusive-use, younger guests can fashion adventures on a daily basis to keep the energy high. Kids can explore the island reef through personalised snorkeling or swimming classes, or become members of the PADI Seal Team through specialised lagoon-based

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“AquaMissions.” Turtle tours, island safaris in search of baby sharks and fruit bats, crab races and marine biology excursions allow families to deepen their exposure to the Maldives’ vibrant ecosystem. There are also numerous opportunities to adopt a traditional way of life, from learning to fish off the jetty to building jungle dens. Kids can experience the magic of crystal singing bowls in an Ocean of Consciousness Kids Ritual or even join the team on a boat to Voavah’s picnic island, Baathala, for their own exciting Maldives Crusoe adventure. Ocean adventures become a family experience, as beginner and experienced divers can swim amongst manta rays in Hanifaru, one of the world’s most renowned manta ray hotspots, or explore ghostly shipwreck ruins that dot the Indian Ocean seabed. While parents can become nitrox-certified and gain Master Scuba Diver certification through the PADI five-star dive centre, marine biologists and Manta Trust scientists are also available to guide younger guests’ exploration of ocean life, including observing and interacting with resident turtles. At any point in their adventure, families can gravitate towards the private island’s exclusive luxury yacht, Voavah Summer, which can be used for impromptu d o l p h i n

cruises, fishing expeditions, nighttime snorkeling outings, daytime swims and overnight adventures. Families can choose from kitesurfing, Seabobs, parasailing, X-Jetblades, wakeboarding, wakeskating, knee-boarding, jet-skiing, water-skiing, kayaking, and windsurfing opportunities. Kayaks, catamarans, windsurfing boards and paddleboards are available to guests young and old. With expert one-hour, day-long or overnight child care available, parents are free to explore the island and surrounding waters on their own. They can wind down with bespoke overwater spa therapies and rituals, or with yoga, meditation and pranayama (breathing) classes at the on-site Ocean of Consciousness Spa. Ayurvedic physicians, acupuncturists and hair consultants are available on-call to meet with guests for consultations. A 20-minute boat ride away, the Spa and Ayurvedic Retreat at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru is also available to guests, offering chakra blessings and a jungle Night Spa. Romantic possibilities abound: cocktails and secluded picnic dinners are available on a private sandbank or onboard the Voavah Summer. Poolside barbeques and beach parties are available for those looking to dine on a larger scale. Themed events are available upon request, including Bollywood, Lobster Celebration, Maldivian Fisherman’s Feast, and more. With the array of activities available to the whole family combined with the unparalleled service of Four Seasons, Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah, Baa Atoll provides the ultimate private getaway for families looking to elevate their next vacation – all in an exclusive-use island that pioneers harmonic hospitality and life-enriching connections.

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


YOUR FUEL COMPANY,

FUEL SUPPLIES MALDIVES PVT LTD

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FEATURE

Much Addu About Something Words: Daniel Bosley | Photos: Aishath Naj

A

ddu atoll, the southernmost atoll of the Maldives has long been famous for its distinctive character and independent spirit, resulting from its geographical isolation from the rest of the archipelago. While this unique location has made the islands a prime geostrategic asset, hosting British armed forces twice over the past century, the legions of tourists have been slower to make it below the Equator. But, all good things come to those who wait, and anyone posted south today can’t help but notice that things are definitely happening in Seenu atoll. After providing much of the manpower for tourism industry in its first few decades, the Maldives’ second city now has the perfect combination of experienced people, advanced facilities, and eager investors to develop into a southern transport hub as well as a superb mid-market tourism destination. With this in mind, the Equatorial Travel and Tourism Association (ETTA) was recently established to coordinate promotion and marketing activities, identify challenges, raise awareness of opportunities, and generally assist the tourism sector in the south to realise its full potential. “There is a huge potential for growth for tourism in Addu,” explains ETTA Secretary General Misbah Nazeer. “Tourism is definitely the most important economic contributor to the Maldives, and Addu must fully embrace and benefit from this.”

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Runner on the Addu Link Road

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REVIEW

The varied habitats of Addu Nature Park

Seeing Seenu Recent developments in the atoll have seen the introduction of new activities and facilities as well as the renovation of the islands’ best assets. Addu’s infrastructure makes it more accessible for curious travellers than any other atoll, with three of the island’s five inhabited islands linked by the Addu Link Road, and regular bus services now running between Gan and Hithadhoo. The islands of Hulhudhu and Meedhoo are easily accessible by daily ferry services from Feydhoo, and the Southern Transport Link speedboat now skips across the Equatorial Channel to Fuvahmulah four times a week, making Addu the best place from which to pay a visit to the unforgettable single-island atoll to the northeast. Gan airport is the gateway to Addu and is key to ongoing developments. Having grown from an RAF airstrip left by the British, is has become an international facility able to accommodate all sizes of aircraft, thanks to a recent USD 45 million makeover. The resulting seaplane terminal has further increased the atoll’s potential as a travel hub with access to new resorts spring up in nearby Huvadhu atoll. Direct flights from Sri Lanka have been arriving since 2016 and the combination of local developments, along with the area’s still-valuable position on international flight paths, lends huge potential to Gan International Airport.

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But, thanks to the atoll’s innovators, Addu’s transport infrastructure is not all business. The scenic link road, which vies with Laamu’s for the title of longest in the country, makes the atoll a runner’s paradise. The first Addu Marathon event was held with 200 entrants in 2017, and organisers are aiming to quadruple the international attendance for the 2019 edition. Similarly, the flying facilities at Gan are beginning to tempt skydivers to sample the rarified southern air, and this summer will see Sky Dive Qatar drop in on the heart-shaped atoll.

New in Addu After landing in Gan, and running, driving or cycling to the far end of the link road, Seenu’s visitors can now experience the incredible Addu Nature Park – an uninhabited area of forest, beach, wetlands, mangroves and mudflats at the top of the atoll capital, Hithadhoo. The area has been lovingly transformed into a celebration of environment and history under the aegis of the World Bank’s Climate Change Adaptation Project. The new visitor centre, bird-viewing platforms and recreational areas complete what is the only island park of its kind in the country, and a significant step forward in the development of regional ecotourism. “I would like to see Addu being developed in a sustainable manner as a green city, preserving our natural and cultural heritage for all the visitors and the future generations to enjoy,” says Misbah, whose own Discover Addu website has long highlighted the atoll’s rich culture. “Addu has an interesting history and tourists can enjoy exploring the large, connected islands,

Wave Sound by 3S, Maradhoofeydhoo Page

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FEATURE

immersing themselves in the local island culture and becoming one with the beautiful tropical habitats of greenery and mangroves.” Beyond the beaches of the protected park area lie some of the best preserved coral reefs in the country and well-established dive schools in the atoll ensure visitors get the most out of Addu’s many dive sites, including the famous British Loyalty shipwreck. In terms of accommodation, Addu’s iconic Equator Village – now in its 35th year – as well as the more recent island resorts of ShangriLa’s Villingili Resort and Spa and Canareef Resort Maldives are soon to have company. The redevelopment of the 120-bed Dhoogas hotel on Gan has been announced, while the 130-room Ismehela Hera Integrated Resort Development Project, AKA South Palm Resort Maldives, is expected to receive its first guests in early 2019. Within Addu’s local island communities, the guesthouse sector has now spread to every corner in the atoll, with the overall number

of residences reaching into double figures. Ranging from city hotels with towering views of the islands to beachfront hideaways, the options for independent travellers now match any in the county. Overall, this combination of innovation, development and natural assets mean there is much to be excited about in the southern atoll’s tourism sector, with ETTA looking to ensure that the region can continue to produce more happy visitors and a flourishing local economy. “More people are hearing about Addu and the option to experience a holiday in the Maldives on a budget,” explains Misbah. “The atoll can offer a truly authentic Maldivian holiday experience.” As the Maldivian tourism product diversifies from the ‘one-island, one resort’ model, guesthouses, cultural tourism and ecotourism are putting Addu, the country’s last atoll, first on the list for those seeking the full island experience in one complete package.

Note: Daniel Bosley and Aishath Naj are co-founders of the Two Thousand Isles blog, seeking to re-discover the history and culture of the Maldives. www.twothousandisles.com.

Rekidhiye Inn, Hithadhoo Page

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DHIVEHI INSURANCE COMPANY CONTRACTORS’ ALL RISK INSURANCE

Tel: (960) 300 7799 | Fax: (960) 301 7788 E-mail: info@dhivehiinsurance.com

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REVIEW

Through transformation, Kurumba Maldives’ young Operations Manager Ali Farooq sets the bar high by Ali Naafiz

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ike many young Maldivians, Ali Farooq thought he would end up doing a desk job like an accountant after graduating from high school. But while studying for A-Levels in capital Male, he met a couple of friends working in resorts. What they told him completely changed his life! Ali realised that he had been preparing himself for the wrong profession; that no other industry in the Maldives had a brighter future than hospitality. And so, after A-Levels, he pursued a course from Hotel School (now Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Studies of The Maldives National University) and joined Kurumba Maldives in 2001 as a waiter under a six-month internship programme. Since then, it has been one achievement after the other for this young man in his early 30s. Ali has climbed up the ranks to become the Operations Manager -- the second-in-command -- at Kurumba Maldives. He plays a key role in leading the constant evolution of the first resort to open in the island nation.

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Maldives Insider Travel & Tourism speaks to Ali about his career, the transformation of Kurumba and the opportunities for locals in the Maldives tourism industry. Travel & Tourism: How would you describe your first few years in the industry? Ali Farooq: When I joined Kurumba as a full-time waiter after my six-month internship, it was gearing up for a complete reconstruction. Employees were given two options; to stay and help with the project or leave and come back after the relaunch. Those of us who stayed were tasked with support services such as managing the inventory. I was 18 years at the time and in the mood to enjoy life. With no guests on the island, it was more of a picnic than a job. We had so much of a good time that sometimes I wished the project had gone on a little longer.

Kurumba transformed from Kurumba Village to Kurumba Maldives, targeting the high-end clientele. The resort offered the best accommodation options available in the Maldives at the time and introduced butler service in all premium rooms. I was amongst the first four butlers trained by a German expert. It was very complex, but I learned a lot from it. It opened my eyes to the service industry. After the training, I became the first butler in the Universal Group.

TnT: What was your experience as a butler? AF: From 2004 to 2006 were the golden years of Kurumba, as competition was basically non-existent. It allowed us to charge premium rates and butler service was a major component of it.

I had the chance to serve several high-profile personalities such as US presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, then Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and many others. You don’t even believe it yourself when it happens; a nobody from a small country in the Indian Ocean gets the chance to meet and interact with the most powerful people in the world!

I was earning so much as well -- sometimes more than even the General Manager -- that I thought I’d never take up another job.

Thila Restaurant at Kurumba PHOTO: KURUMBA Page

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TnT: How did your career take a turn towards food and beverage? AF: After 2005, a lot of new resorts opened up across the Maldives, including private islands in some remote locations. Demand for premium rooms in Kurumba started dropping, and butlers were sometimes left with no work. I realised that it was time for me to move on.

At the time, Kurumba offered me the chance to enter into restaurant operations. I took up the task, and within six months I was promoted to the post of Assistant Restaurant Manager. From there, I went onto become Bar and Restaurant Manager. I was in restaurant operations until I was promoted to the post of Assistant Food and Beverage Manager in 2014. After two years in that position, I was appointed to the post of Food and Beverage Manager.

Now, after being promoted to the post of Operations Manager from the Food and Beverage Manager position, I have an added responsibility to look after the overall operations of the resort. I serve in a supportive role to the General Manager.

TnT: How has Kurumba transformed over the past 40 years, especially during your career? AF: When I first joined, it was very basic. After the relaunch in 2004, it became a completely new product. In 2014, we carried out a major project to establish our signature Thila restaurant and to revamp our main restaurant. We’ve also established a new Japanese restaurant and reviewed the concept of all of our speciality restaurants.

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I think Kurumba does maintenance and upgrading better than any other property in the Maldives. Every year, something new comes up, be it a new villa category or a new restaurant. We do it because we understand the importance of implementing new and creative ideas, especially in a competitive market such as ours. This constant evolution has become one of our strengths.

We keep a close eye on the latest happenings and trends in the industry. Based on our findings, we keep on changing the interior of our rooms, and keep our food and beverage options up-to-date. But as the first resort in the Maldives, we’ve several traditional service cultures that we follow. So, whatever change we bring about, we make sure that Kurumba’s uniqueness and its traditional values are kept intact.

MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


TnT: With the rapid expansion of the tourism industry, how has Kurumba maintained its position as a leading resort in the Maldives? AF: I think we’re doing very well. Over the past 40 plus years, we’ve established service standards that are on par or sometimes even exceed those of reputed international hotel chains. Whoever comes in to head the resort has a responsibility to maintain those high standards. We’ve been very fortunate to have that kind of leaders with us.

Our achievements can be seen in the number of awards we’ve won, including several prestigious titles at the World Travel Awards, World Luxury Hotel Awards, World Luxury Restaurant Awards and Maldives Travel Awards. Our reputation on online travel websites such as TripAdvisor is also excellent.

TnT: There are concerns that the industry doesn’t provide enough opportunities for locals to reach key positions. What do you think? AF: I’m totally against that claim. There are many opportunities, but we’ve a hard time finding competent locals to fill up those positions. We get 50-100 applications for every job posting, but only a few them come with even the basic mindset necessary for a career in hospitality. Even those that do travel and tourism as a subject for O-Levels and A-Levels want to work only in managerial positions. But this is an altogether different industry. Say for example, a doctor has to start from the bottom before specialising in the field they’re interested in. Likewise, hospitality professionals can only start at the bottom and climb up the ladder. It’s a journey, which will surely pay off.

We try to develop young talent, but high school graduates aren’t ready to work in this industry. Starting from primary school years, students should be given career guidance. What happens now is that students who finish O-Levels and A-Levels aren’t sure which career path they want to follow. This poses several challenges because attitude is key in hospitality. Anyone who has the right attitude can be groomed for whatever job in this industry.

There’s also a problem with the general attitude and lifestyle of our youth. Most of them want to be funky; have long hair, untrimmed beard and unclipped nails. They want to go to Male every night after work, sleep in during the weekend and so on. But like every other service industry, hospitality too has certain minimum standards that can’t be compromised.

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TnT: What should be done to encourage more young people to join the hospitality industry? AF: A great deal of it involves creating public awareness and changing the mindset of the public in general. You might have to be away from your family for a little while, but you save up 100 percent of your salary and allowances for your family. The resort looks after your accommodation, food and everything. But some of our young people prefer to take a job in Male that pays just MVR3,000-4,000 than going to a resort for a job that pays over MVR10,000 as basic salary.

On the other hand, we’re also seeing some positive changes as well. More and more young people understand the importance of tourism for the Maldives and are keen to explore a career in hospitality. If the right push can be applied through our education system, we’ll have a much brighter future where the industry will be dominated by locals.

TnT: What’re your biggest achievements? AF: I’m still in my early 30s and look where I’m today! In the past 15-16 years, I believe I’ve been able to climb a bit higher than I should in my professional career. I’ve achieved every single goal that I set my eyes on.

My involvement in the transformation of Kurumba is also a personal achievement to me. I started my career here. I also started my life here; I met my life partner here and we stayed here for almost two years until she got pregnant and moved to Male. So, it’s special for me in more than one way.

TnT: What’s the next step in your career? AF: I’ve always dreamed of becoming a General Manager one day. I think I can reach that level. I’m surely working towards that goal.

Kurumba: First resort to open in Maldives PHOTO: KURUMBA Page

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With a secret inside. Loacker, pure goodness!

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REVIEW

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The mighty

Lhos trees of

Maldives by Xavier Romero FrĂ­as

A Lhos: One of the most important components of ancient woods

bout 40 years ago, when I lived in Fuvahmulah, Magiedhuruge Ibrahim Didi was my best friend. A wonderful person, I greatly enjoyed his company and visited him as often as I could. He was much older than me and, realising that I was far away from my home and family, he treated me like a son. Our conversations at the beginning were difficult, for we were using mostly broken English. But when I learned the island language, he listened to my many questions and these resulted in long exchanges. Owing to the slow and relaxed pace of island life, I stayed for hours on end at his home. My friend was the only male under the roof, and tea and meals were served in between by the women in the house. There were other interruptions; often he would calmly open his box to chew betel leaf and areca nut and after a while returned to his story – thrilled that I made him think of such unusual things and glad for the challenge of putting them into words.

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HISTORY

One day I asked my old friend, how did the islands of Maldives look like before there were people on them?

must have taken many centuries to grow. Some quite big ones remained in Huvadu atoll when I was young, but old people there claimed that there had been far bigger ones before.” I had never seen a lhos. There was none in Fuvahmulah at the time. So, I asked my friend, what happened to those trees? “Alas! They became weak and died. The giant lhos doesn’t grow well when people are near. Those trees don’t like the smell of people. There were various kinds of birds nesting in the branches. But when humans are there, the birds go and lhos only grows well when there are a lot of bird faeces below. People also harvested the leaves because they are good to eat. In ancient times, leaves and birds were important food items for island people,” my friend said.

Magiedhuruge Ibrahim Didi Fuvahmulah He reflected for a while and finally answered: “The area close to the shore was similar as the islands we know now. There grew the same bushes, such as boshi (Heliotropium foertherianum) and gera (Scaevola taccada), but of course spreading wider because no women were there to cut firewood. No coconut palms were there, for all the coconut trees in the Maldives have been planted by people. The inner part of the island was covered by a forest of massive trees. These were magnificent woods that no human had planted. Not like the scruffy jungle that can be seen now in some abandoned places or in the areas where people plant funa (Calophyllum inophyllum). The most important component of those ancient woods was the mighty lhos tree (Pisonia grandis). It is slow growing, but back then there were truly enormous ones which

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After my friend had fallen silent, my mind went back in time and I imagined dark humid forests of trees with stout trunks and numerous colonies of birds nested in the branches. The ground must have been mushy with bird droppings and the air full of the cries of the countless birds. “The great lhos trees of old times had green leaves, but even now when people try to grow this tree close to their home the leaves stay yellow and people say they don’t taste as delicious. The cultivated lhos trees don’t grow large, but the ancient ones had very fat trunks. Although now there are no lhos trees in our island, we still have in our language the expression, ‘Lhoho aragoho’ for a thing or a person that is robust or sturdy,” I recalled my friend telling me. Not many years later, my old friend and father figure had died, and I was near Male, working at a resort under construction. The island where the staff were housed was a heavily eroded islet, nicknamed “Bushy” because that was the name on the nautical chart. And it was there, on the ocean side of the little island, that I saw my first lhos tree.

MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


Recalling my friend’s stories of the colossal ancient trees, I expected a more impressive thing, but I was disappointed. The slanted naked trunk made this lhos tree look like a small baobab, with pitifully short, thin branches. Some of its roots were exposed to the saltwater. The waves lapped the base of the lhos trunk and it was only holding fast to the edge of the island by virtue of some unseen roots that clung tenaciously to the little piece of land behind it. Its branches had only a few small yellowish leaves at the tips, but I was told that members of the staff regularly used them to make local dishes.

I don’t know the fate of that tree. The islet was enlarged with rubble and sand from the lagoon. A few months later it was filled with new buildings. Then, I never had the chance to visit it again. I wonder if that lhos tree, a pitiful vestige of the legendary ancient Maldivian forests, had managed to survive!

Note: Xavier Romero FrĂ­as is a Spanish writer and scholar who lived 13 years in the Maldives, investigating the origins of local culture and traditions. Currently residing in Bangkok, Thailand, Xavier has published extensive research on folklore and oral traditiosn of the Maldives.

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TRENDS

TRANSFORMATIONAL TRAVEL: GET ON BOARD WITH THE NEXT BIG TRAVEL TREND by James Roberts

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irbnb is ploughing USD 5 million into its experiential travel programme, Airbnb Experiences, it was announced recently. And British Vogue has said that transformational travel will be the next evolution in travel. According to a statement, global weekly Airbnb guest bookings are up over 2,000 percent since the same time last year, and active experience numbers grew by 500 percent. Transformational travel takes experiential travel a step further. It’s a bit more serious-minded – defined by personal development, and a deeper communion with nature and culture. But the trend for doing something meaningful on holiday is set to stay. Anyone involved in the travel industry needs to take note. Back at the end of 2016, when Airbnb bought Barcelona-based start-up Trip4Real, the experiential travel trend really took off. Trip4Real was one of the first to hook up visitors with informal local guides who could show them the real Barcelona, rather than simply ticking off the Sagra-da Família and Las Ramblas. For example, visitors could book a tapas tour with a food-loving local, or a paellamaking class in someone’s home.


Trip4Real weren’t the only ones offering a local connection. Today, the experiential travel market place is booming. Take Cariboo, in France. One of their Paris guides Georges Bazin told a Guardian reporter, “People are looking for far more than museums, culture and restaurants from a city visit, but they may be too timid or not have the opportunity to meet local people. So, we are doing the introductions. Our guides are passionate about their city and are not just doing this for money… This is for people who really want to see the city through the eyes of a local person who knows it.” Viator, which was bought by TripAdvisor for USD 200million in 2014, continues to grow, and is still the gateway to experiences like a local’s foodie guide to Brooklyn, or a selfguided Scavenger Hunt through Santa Monica. It’s also full of more mainstream tours – but there’s room for both in the market. Berlinbased GetYourGuide, which has swallowed up rival Gidsy, offers a similar booking system for worldwide tours and trips. And there are many more – small and large. In the travel industry? It’s time to act… If you’re involved in booking holidays or running hotels, matching visitors with localsled experiences is becoming an essential part of the job. Don’t get left behind – find the new, exciting ones in your area.

I recently spoke to a local Scottish guide recently, who drives the Hairy Coo bus taking Edinburgh tourists into the Scottish countryside. I suggested that he use knowledgeable locals to put an in-depth spin on his trips. It would only cost the customer a little extra (although, interestingly, he operates his one-day tour for free, asking only for tips), and would give the experience extra authenticity. He loved the idea. Most of the resorts in the Maldives operate on a different philosophy; the one-island, oneresort concept. But the Maldives too could use similar approaches to integrate local culture and traditions, and create unforgettable experiences for visitors. I also think tourism boards could step into this arena. It’s a shame that they are often behind the curve on such travel trends. American author James Michener once said about travelling, “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” He’s right – but achieving those realtravel objectives is now so much easier with the evolution of experien-tial travel booking agents.

Note: James Roberts spent four years working for British Airways and its subsidiary British Re-gional Airlines, ending up as a Regional Business Manager. He completed a six-month consul-tancy contract with Siemens as Travel Manager for their business worldwide, and spent four years with a UK-based travel recruitment consultancy before establishing Progressive Travel Recruitment in 2005.

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Al Shaali M a r i n e Maldives success t h ro u g h excellence by Mohamed Visham

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


M

aldives economy has made remarkable progress in the recent past. Buoyed mainly by a booming tourism industry, the ever-increasing resort chains popping up across the archipelago and the emergence of local tourism aside, the support trades have flourished. But none more so than boat building. Similar to most sectors in the Maldives, the thriving new-found trade has attracted several players to the fold.

But one company has brushed aside competition to dominate the apex of a trade, with unparalleled quality, excellence and style. Al Shaali (AS) Marine Maldives, the Maldives’ branch of Dubai based Al-Shaali Marine group, remains refreshingly different with its total solutions, setting it firmly and undisputedly ahead of the pack.

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REVIEW

“If you look at the repair and maintenance service we offer, there’s nothing we can’t do. We have the ability and capacity to cater to vessels from 50 tonnes to the smallest, including engines to out fitting to full customising. We also offer modifications,” AS Marine Maldives’ Operations Manager Ismail Shareef explained. AS Marine’s state-of-the-art boatyard established in the industrial island of Thilafushi is not designated for solely speedboats. AS Marine is more than equipped to build dhonis – traditional Maldivian boats – safe and durable to navigate the tricky channels of the tiny island nation. For larger luxury vessels that cannot be accommodated at the local boatyard, the company builds them at its headquarters in Dubai – truly making the company unique to the market. Its wide array of services is not limited to its own marine vessels. AS Marine welcomes all types of vessels regardless of the brand, with unwavering dedication to provide first-class service to meet the highest customer expectations. AS Marine offers its services to vessels brought in from any corner of the globe. “We get vessels from other Maldivian builders as well. For us, servicing them has always been a pleasure as well,” Shareef said.

Every day a busy day Over 90 staff bustles around the 50,000-square foot compound of the boatyard in Thilafushi every day. The flourishing tourism industry has meant that the yard, which is capable of housing 25 vessels at a time, operates at maximum capacity almost throughout the year. According to Shareef, the greatest demand in recent times has been from the emerging local tourism sector – primarily for guesthouse. “Our dhonis are also very popular along with vessels for ferrying passengers, diving and excursions. The water sports vessel we unveiled at the 2015 local boat show is another hugely popular product. We are receiving a lot of orders for it. This is one of the products available in the Maldives. So, the customer demand has remained extremely high,” Shareef detailed.

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


Recognition of excellence On the back of an ever-widening customer base, AS Marine’s rapid ascent to the top has not gone unnoticed, with the company bestowed with numerous awards in the recent past. At the latest edition of the Maldives Boat Show, AS Marine’s ‘Island Hopper’ bagged the award for the most stylish design. This recognition was an addition to the prestigious ‘Gold 100’ award it won in the past two years after being named one of the leading 100 companies in the Maldives. Despite the adulation, the company’s steadfast aim since inception has always remained the same; to provide its services at the highest quality. Shareef also downplayed the company’s resounding accomplishments, insisting that the high regard the industry had for AS Marine was its ultimate success.

Customer is family As Shareef quite fittingly put, AS Marine’s achievements could not have been possible without its loyal customers. And for AS Marine, customers are and will continue to be the most significant factor in its business. “Our customers are a part of our family. They can contact us at any time of the day,” Shareef said. “But we’re not without challenges. We’re giving the best service possible with the resources, facilities and equipment we currently have.” To overcome the space limitations, AS Marine has laid down a plan for expansion. The company is exploring the possibility of securing a plot to expand its boatyard capacity in a bid to serve more vessels. But more significantly, the company would continue to introduce safe and durable seaworthy vessels combined with ergonomic designs that are simple and natural, thus, blending with the organic beauty of the sea. After all, AS Marine has certainly become synonymous with vessels of the highest quality that match the everexpanding economy of the Maldives and complement the high expectations, and meet the unique demands of a premier tourism industry.

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Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa appoints Paulina Siudym as Director of Sales Originally from Poland, Paulina was previously the Business Development Director for Palm Beach Resort and Spa in the Maldives. With a wealth of international hospitality experience including key positions in Italy and Turkey, she introduced the property to the international market and revamped sales strategies. Prior to joining the hospitality industry, she was in charge of operational management of the Special Sales of Ferrari Clients and the Ferrari Club Italia Events for four years. Paulina holds a Master’s Degree in Organisational and Industrial Psychology from Bologna Uni-versity in Italy. Tucked away from the teeming resorts of the dense northern atolls on a private island in Gaafu Alif Atoll, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa has more than 30 pristine dive sites to explore, all filled with rich marine life, including resident turtles and black-tip sharks. Diving enthusiasts will be spoilt at Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa as the resort boasts pristine waters, owing to its ongoing conservation efforts, which include banning motorised water sports and coral reef monitoring.

The St. Regis Maldives appoints Olda Zitek as Executive Sous Chef Zitek supports the Executive Chef at The St. Regis Maldives in supervising operations at the resort’s six distinct dining venues. He oversees the entire culinary team, which delivers exceptional food and drink experiences to guests. “We are absolutely thrilled to have Olda join us at The St. Regis Maldives. We pride ourselves on delivering unrivalled experiences and exceptional service, so Olda’s background with some of London’s most luxury hotels means he is great fit for our team. We look forward to working with him and can’t wait to see to see his skill set being put to use for our guests,” Alexander Blair, General Manager of The St. Regis Maldives, was quoted in a statement, as saying. Zitek joins one of the most exclusive private island resorts in the Maldives from Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square where he worked as Executive Sous Chef from November 2016. Prior to this, he held the position of Head Chef at Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Ho-tel London, after roles in other five-star London hotels such as Claridge’s and The May Fair Hotel.

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


Kandima Maldives appoints new GM, PR Director The stylish resort island is now managed by Brett Castleman, who brings with him more than 20 years of international hotel management experience. Born and educated in South Africa, Brett boasts a distinguished hospitality career in four and five-star properties across Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean. He completed his Degree in Hotel Management at the Durban Hotel School in 1990, before starting his hospitality career in Richards Bay, South Africa. In 2015, Brett also successfully completed the Harvard Manage Mentor (HMM) course. Anna Karas, the newly appointed Director of Marketing Communication and PR, will be responsible for managing the media relations, marketing, advertising and lifestyle partnerships of the 272-villa resort. With over 10 years of hospitality experience from the Maldives and Middle East, the Polish national brings with her extraordinary experience garnered from top hospitality brands, namely Waldorf Astoria, Anantara Hotels and Resorts, Warwick Hotels and Resorts, and W Hotels.

Villa Hotels makes key leadership appointments 1

Abdulla Fathhey1, who had been serving as the Resident Manager of Paradise Island Resort and Spa, joined Sun Island Resort and Spa as its new General Manager, while Ali Naseer2 was appointed the Resort Manager of Holiday Island Resort and Spa. Meanwhile, Abdulla Saeed3 was named the Resort Manager of Paradise Island Resort and Spa. Mohamed Ibad Abdulla4 was appointed as the new Executive Assistant Manager of the resort.

2

Villa Hotels runs five resorts in the Maldives, including Paradise Island Resort and Spa, Royal Island Resort and Spa, Holiday Island Resort and Spa, Sun Island Resort and Spa, and Fun Island Resort and Spa. The resort operator also has several subsidiaries, including award-winning wellness brand Araamu Spa and dive centre DiveOceanus.

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New domestic airline Manta Air to launch in October

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n official from Manta Air told local media that it has been granted a letter of no objection by the government. Operations will begin with four seaplanes and three 72-seater ATR jets, with flights to Kudahuvadhoo in Dhaalu atoll, Ifuru in Raa atoll, Dharavandhoo in Baa atoll and Thimarafushi in Thaa atoll from the main Velana International Airport, he added. “Our fleet will arrive in Maldives by September. We are hoping to begin operations in October, in time for the peak tourist season,” the official said. Manta Air is an initiative by Reollo Investments, which runs the recently opened Kandima Maldives resort and Dhaalu Airport. Reollo is led by Sanjay Ibrahim Maniku, son of local conglomerate Universal Enterprise’s shareholder Dr Ibrahim Maniku. Maldives flagship carrier Maldivian and business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim’s Villa Air are the only two airlines currently active in the Maldives. Seaplane services are provided by Maldivian as well as privately run Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA), which has the largest seaplane fleet in the world.

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


Four Seasons Kuda Huraa completes expanded overwater collection

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he overwater wing at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa now has three exceptional lagoontop suite categories: The Three-Bedroom Water Suite with Pool, Two-Bedroom Water Suite with Pool and the Family Water Villa with Pool. Spanning nearly 800 square metres, the Three-Bedroom Water Suites with Pool (two units) are amongst the country’s top overwater accommodation. Guests can sip on sundowners in the extra-long infinity pool parallel to the sea, indulge in treatments and yoga from The Island Spa on a huge oceanside deck, bring the best of the resort’s dining to the doorstep with intimate dinners in the water-edge living pavilion, or descend the steps directly into the warm crystal lagoon for a moonlit midnight dip. Two-Bedroom Water Suites with Pool (three units) offer a choice of configurations: swim towards the horizon or float adjacent to it with two different pool and deck orientations parallel and perpendicular to the sea. Perfect for older families or two sets of friends, these suites allow guests to enjoy spacious surrounds furnished with loungers, overwater nets plus

huge open-plan living and dining areas inside and out. The one-of-a-kind Family Water Villa with Pool (one unit) offers space and seclusion at the far end of the water villas jetty. Guests can keep a close eye on the little ones in the sunken children’s room a step down from the lounge, with a wall of windows framing the endless turquoise lagoon. A large lounge deck wraps the villa, while it comes with overwater nets, an L-shaped pool, and steps descending into the lagoon for effortless snorkel adventures.

Rihiveli Beach Resort re-opens under new management

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aldives government has recently granted the licence to operate Rihiveli to Save The Dream Maldives Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between Mahal Tours, which is the leaseholder of the island since 1979, and Save The Dream, a French company owned by former guests and enthusiasts of the island. The new operator describes it as a “back to the origins” project by owners and regular repeaters. A popular choice amongst European repeat guests, Rihiveli Beach Resort is set on the stunning island of Mahaanaelhi Huraa in South Male Atoll. Unique to its surroundings are two virgin islands of Sunrise and the Birds within the lagoon, both easily accessible on foot or by canoe. In Rihiveli, guests live at the rhythm of nature with a choice of 48 bungalows, all sunset or sunrise facing.

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LATEST HAPPENINGS

Maldives remains Kuoni top destination for 15th year

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n its Travel Trends Report 2018, Kuoni said the Indian Ocean archipelago is showing no signs of slowing down.

“... the number of arrivals from the UK showed an 18.7 percent year-on-year increase in November 2017, boosted perhaps by the country’s expansion of hotels with at least 27 resorts having opened in the Maldives since 2013. Beyond the honeymoon market, the Maldives has broadened its appeal for families, solo and millennial travellers,” the report read. The Maldives also defended its position as the top honeymoon destination for Kuoni, while the destination was placed third in the list of the Top Wedding Destinations for 2018. The island nation also came at the top in the list of the Top Family Destinations for 2018. Meanwhile, Kuramathi Maldives was named the top long-haul family hotel for 2018.

New airport contracts awarded

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overnment has awarded contracts to develop several new domestic airports across the Maldives. They are:

Q A USD 4.1 million project to Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) to reclaim land for a new domestic airport on the island of Hoarafushi in the northernmost Haa Alif atoll. Q A USD 13 million project to Kuredu Holdings to develop a domestic airport on the island of Madivaru in the tourist hotspot of Lhaviyani atoll. The project involves reclaiming some three hectares of land from the lagoon of Madivaru, building a 1.2-kilometre runway, and a training academy for aviation officials from flagship carrier Maldivian and seaplane operator Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA). Q A USD 8 million project to Island Aviation Services (IAS) to develop an airport on the island of Fainu in Raa toll along with two city hotels, a medical centre, a surgical recovery centre, a hangar to service Maldivian aircraft, and a training academy for Maldivian staff. Q A USD 2.5 million project to Gulf Cobla Tennssor Maldives to reclaim land for a new domestic airport on the island of Fares-Maathoda in Gaafu Dhaal atoll. Over a million tourists from across the globe visit the Indian Ocean island nation every year to holiday in one of the 130 resorts and 400 plus guesthouses located in all corners of the country. The multi-billion-dollar tourism industry, which is the country’s main economic activity, relies heavily on the domestic transport infrastructure, especially air travel.

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


Dusit Thani Maldives increases product offering

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hiefly amongst the improved product offerings is the brand-new Beach Deluxe Villa with Pool, which have been enhanced from the existing Beach Villas by adding a private pool at the front of each villa. There are currently seven new villas in this category with more in the pipeline. The villas are surrounded by the island’s natural vegetation and also offer open-air garden bathrooms at the back, while the terraces and plunge pools are located at the front in a private beach area. Each villa is decorated with contemporary Thai interiors featuring Maldivian influ-ences. Dusit Thani Maldives has also unveiled a new outdoor cinema, offering both 3D and regular film experiences. Set amongst the island’s coconut trees with the Indian Ocean as a backdrop and the starry skies above, guests can choose their favourite films and sit back as the jungle atmosphere comes to life while enjoying popcorn, snacks and drinks, or even a special BBQ dinner. The third addition to the resort is a new welcome sign created by traditional coral limestone carving, which is one of the oldest crafts practiced by Maldivians and was historically used to build temples, mosques, wells and to sculpt statues for worship.

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he month of June is packed with celebrations, as World Environment Day and World Oceans Day – two of the biggest annual events for positive environmental action – as well as Global Wellness Day fall within the month. Resorts across the Maldives organise several activities, from tree-planting and reef clean-up dives to back-of-the-house tours, to celebrate these three important occasions. Here, we look back at some of the notable activities held as part of these celebrations. Park Hyatt

Kuramathi

Vilamendhoo LUX*

Summer Island

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


Kurumba

Vilamendhoo

Kuredu

Meeru

Vilamendhoo

Ellaidhoo Park Hyatt

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REVIEW

Hotel & Resort Supplier Directory Food & Beverage ADK General Trading

Happy Market

59’, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male +960 333 5063 general_trading@adkcompany.com www.adkcompany.com

M. Newplot, Ameenee Magu, Male +960 331 3523 info@happymarket.com.mv www.happymarket.com.mv

Best Buy Maldives

Lily International

Aagé, 2nd Floor, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male +960 332 0850 hello@bb-mld.com www.bb-mld.com

H. Coal Field, 2nd Floor, Kalhuhuraa Magu, Male +960 333 2882 / +960 331 4747 +960 333 7803 / +960 333 2840 info@lily-international.com www.lily-international.com

Cosmopolitan Omadu Fannu Building, 4th Floor, Haveeree Hingun, Male +960 331 0477 jato@wrist.com www.wrist.com

Euro Marketing Ma. Favorite, Chandhanee Magu, Male +960 331 5115 / +960 331 6116 info@euromarketingmaldives.com www.euromarketingmaldives.com

Fantasy M. Velaaluge, 1st Floor, Fareedhee Magu, Male +960 332 4668 fantasy@dhivehinet.net.mv www.fantasy.com.mv

Grape Expectations H. Coal Field, 3rd Floor, Kalhuhuraa Magu, Male +960 300 6714 / +960 300 6715 www.grapeexpectations.com.mv

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Male’ Aerated Water Company Sifa Building, 6th Floor, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male +960 332 6701 info@mawc.com.mv www.mawc.com.mv

Maldives Industrial Fisheries Co. Ltd 389, Hilaalee Magu, Male +960 332 3923 info@mifco.com.mv www.mifco.com.mv

Nams Private Limited Filaa Building, 5th Floor, Koli Umar Manik Goalhi, Male +960 333 7987 shiyaz@nams.com.mv www.nams.com.mv

Seagull Group Chaandhanee Magu, Male +960 332 3617 info@seagullmaldives.com www.seagullmaldives.com

MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


SIMDI Resu

United Food Suppliers

H. Casia, Kasinjee Magu, Male +960 333 4483 resu@simdi.com www.simdi.com/simdi-resort-suppliers

M. Alia Building, 5th Floor, Gandhakoalhi Magu, Male +960 330 0777 info@ufs.com.mv www.ufs.com.mv

SIMDI Bev G. Manaam Building, 8th Floor, Neeloafaru Magu, Male +960 333 4430 bev@simdi.com www.simdi.com/simdi-beverages

Equipment ALIA Investments

Citadel Hospitality

M. ALIA Building, 8th Floor, Gandhakoalhi Magu, Male +960 332 3564 info@aliamaldives.com www.aliamaldives.com

STO Trade Centre, 1st Floor, Orchid Magu, Male +960 334 6821 info@citadelmaldives.com www.citadelmaldives.com

Aqua Chrome

Damas Resort Supplies

H. Merry Side, Ground Floor, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male +960 330 3734 info@aquachromemaldives.com www.aquachromemaldives.com

M. Dhaleena Building, 5th Floor, Orchid Magu, Male +960 333 3000 info@damas.com.mv www.damas.com.mv

Astrabon Maldives

Ecochem

Orchid Magu, Male +960 331 6594 sales@astrabon.net www.astrabon.net

M. IMD Building, 2nd Floor, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male +960 332 9151 info@ecochem.com.mv www.ecochem.com.mv

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REVIEW

Hotel & Resort Supplier Directory

EVO

Maldives Gas

M. Chandhaneege, 2nd Floor, AlhivilaaMagu, Male +960 334 1816 sales@evo.mv www.evo.mv

No. 02-21 STO Trade Centre, Orchid Magu, Male +960 333 5614 info@maldivegas.com www.maldivegas.com

Essentia

Sonee Hardware

H. Ivy, Ameer Ahmed Magu, Male +960 799 6116 ali.rasheed@essentiamaldives.com www.essentiamaldives.com

181, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male +960 333 6699 info@sonee.com.mv www.sonee.com.mv

Hotec

The SCENE by Sonee Hardware

Ma. Favourite, Chandhanee Magu, Male +960 334 1616 info@hoteconline.com www.hoteconline.com

H. Nereen, Majeedhee Magu, Male +960 330 6370 thescene@sonee.com.mv www.sonee.com.mv

ILAA Maldives Lot No: 10637, Zone: M2-24, Onugas Magu, Hulhumale +960 335 5751 info@ilaamaldives.com www.ilaamaldives.com

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018


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P A T I N A GREEN PHILOSOPHY ITALIAN DESIGN

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MALDIVES INSIDER TRAVEL & TOURISM | JULY - AUGUST 2018

Discover more at Essentia Showroom H. Ivy, Ameer Ahmed Magu, Male’ Tel : (960) 334-1616 | Hotline: (960) 798-6116

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Maldives Insider Travel and Tourism : July - August 2018  

Maldives Insider Travel and Tourism : July - August 2018  

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