Corporate Maldives Magazine

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Managing Director & CEO

Akhmeem Abdul Razzaq

Director - Content Creation

Mohamed Khoorsheed

Managing Editor

Zeek Ashraf

Managing Editor

Nashama Mohamed

Assistant Editor

Aminath Suha Mohamed

Assistant Marketing Manager

Raaya Abdulla

Associate Editor

Fathimath Shaaira

Marketing Executive

Rawhaa Ibrahim

Senior Designer

Thoo Nazim

Designer Mohamed Lihaz

Senior Content Creator

Ma’aan Abdulla

Marketing Executive

Iyasha Arif


Ali Sageef Ibrahim

Director - Digital Strategy

Ibrahim Areef

Chief Operating Officer

Ahmed Nasir

Chief Design Officer

Zaya Ahmed

Design Manager

Hamdhoon W.

Manager – Content Creation


Editor’s Note

Welcome to the February 2023 edition of the Corporate Maidives Magazine, a bimonthly print publication dedicated entirely to the business community of the Maldives.

Our Corporate Maldives Spotlight this month is on Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), the government body mandated with the promotion of Maldives as a tourism destination. Here, we shine the spotlight on the various marketing activities carried out by MMPRC, as well as its procurement department. We also sat down to have a chat with Thoyyib Mohamed, the CEO and Managing Director of MMPRC, to gain further insight into their operations.

As usual, our news segments touch on various industries and business sectors of the Maldives, including tourism, construction, banking, technology, trade, fisheries and agriculture, among many others.

Happy reading!

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4 Corporate Maldives | February 23
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MMPRC is the World’s Leading Tourist Board 2022!

Reflecting on 3 years of setting global tourism standards

10 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC

Many may see marketing as simply communicating the value of a product. However, conceiving a product, ensuring its evolution to suit generations of customers, while maintaining its unique character, and adapting to the ever-changing technology in this field of work, remains the essence of successful product marketing. As the national tourism office of the Maldives, responsible for carrying out promotional activities to become the most preferred destination of the world, the work of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives) is perpetual.

Winning the title of World’s Leading Tourist Board in 2022, for the first time in the history of the Maldives, has been an affirmation of the hard work and dedication of the team at MMPRC, under the watchful direction of its board, and with the support of its partners in the Maldives and worldwide. MMPRC’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Mr. Thoyyib Mohamed, provided all the guidance, resources and leeway for his team to contrive creative solutions for latent hurdles and innovative ways to engage its target audiences.

The team itself expanded over the last few years as it tapped into potential markets and segments, and utilised every opportunity it could to show visitors around the world why the Maldives is a leading destination and what makes a vacation in the Sunny Side of Life special. MMPRC successfully constructed a gender-positive environment, affirming its belief in the capacity of women to enhance, enrich, and elevate this industry. The majority of the corporation’s 69 staff are female, and women hold several key positions within the upper management. There are 17% more female workers at MMPRC than there are male, and not just in junior, soft, or ‘feminine’ positions; 67% of the Heads of Departments in MMPRC are women and; 87% of the marketing department comprises self-driven and tenacious female workers.

had reached such incredible arrival figures. The priority given by the administration of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih towards easing the foreign investment opportunities and infrastructure development avenues, and increasing the budget allocated for tourism marketing and promotion during the last few years, had been key to achieving record arrivals in 2019. These changes, along with the effective policies and guidelines implemented post-covid, have also been instrumental in the remarkable recovery from the impacts of the pandemic over the last few years.

The President has not only supported destination marketing by tripling the annual marketing budget but continued to keep a close watch on activities and the overall performance of the industry. The autonomy granted to MMPRC by the government also helped cut down red tape, so that action can now be taken quickly, to suit evolving market conditions. The administration’s enactment of a minimum wage law benefitted the lives of over 13,000 tourism sector employees. The law governs a 10 per cent tourism industry service charge, of which 99 per cent is distributed to tourism sector staff.

Under the Considerate Counsel of the Government

Over the last three and a half years, the current administration has given permits to open 426 tourism facilities increasing the capacity by over 14,000 beds. There are currently 107 resorts in various phases of development across the country, with 22 new properties expected to open by the end of 2023, which would expand our capacity by approximately 5,000 beds. The current government is also actively working towards increasing the capacity of Velana International Airport (VIA) to keep pace with the industry’s growth. The completion of the VIA passenger terminal, which is currently under construction, would increase the terminal’s capacity to 7.2 million passengers per year. Additionally, the development of more airports in the atolls would help broaden tourism reach by easing accessibility to outer atolls where many resorts, hotels, guesthouses and liveaboards operate.

MMPRC has been conducting a wide range of activities to market and promote destination Maldives in the global travel trade, especially since 2019, to great effect. The Maldives welcomed over 1.7 million visitors in 2019, a milestone for the entire nation, as this was the first time the Maldives

On July 3rd 2022, President Solih ratified the 11th amendment to the Maldives Tourism Act. One of the major changes this brought forward was empowering local councils to determine the market value of land under their administrative jurisdiction, and councils are now able to utilise their land being leased for tourism development in the most profitable way they can.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 11 Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC

2020 — The Year of Adaptation

As 2020 rolled around, things were looking bright. Maldives had a 14% increase in tourist arrivals in the month of January. However, come March, the country was hit with the same issues as the rest of the world with the onset of the global pandemic. Arrivals decreased by 63% by the end of the month and the onset of the pandemic resulted in a border closure and halting of flight operations.

As borders closed worldwide, most of the traditional activities conducted by MMPRC ground to a halt, leading it to formulate and adopt a crisis management strategy called "React, Rethink, Recover". During the initial stages, MMPRC, government authorities, and stakeholders from the industry got together to brainstorm and strategize contingency plans and recovery guidelines to subvert the effects of the pandemic. Along with this, MMPRC planned for various scenarios which would come with the reopening of borders and resumption of travel.

By analysing the situation unfolding across the globe, it was forecasted that a number of source markets would be closed temporarily for travel, that only some markets would be open, and the possibility of travel bubbles between countries. The perseverance of the Maldives throughout history has proven one thing. The tourism industry thrived throughout the last 50 years, overcoming challenges to rise as a trendsetter, adapting as necessary in critical circumstances, and introducing innovative products and world firsts. As such, MMPRC was able to rethink and shape its activities to impress, attract and invite visitors to the Maldives’ safe shores, experiencing something truly unique when they choose this island paradise.

Under these strategies, the work at Visit Maldives began with renewed fervour as it shifted its campaigns to the digital sphere and online platforms to keep the destination fresh in the hearts and minds of travellers worldwide. At first, during the initial stages of the border closures across the world, MMPRC had to be smart to maintain destination momentum yet encourage travellers to prioritise safety by

12 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC

initiating a marketing campaign, ‘stay safe now and visit Maldives later’. Risk assessments were carried out for the ever-changing situations in the Maldives and the world. People were given the chance to explore immersive experiential content virtually in order to continue the positive image of the destination. Notable achievements were also highlighted in promotional activities to further build confidence amongst potential visitors.

In September 2020, the Maldives was awarded the Safe Travels Stamp by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), recognising the efforts in implementing enhanced health and safety measures, in line with the WTTC Global Safe Travels protocols, and creating a safe, gradual plan and ensuring a coordinated approach in reviving the tourism industry. It was the world’s first-ever Global safety and hygiene stamp, endorsed by the World Tourism Organization and more than 200 travel companies. This was the result of the united efforts put in by government authorities, industry stakeholders, and PR agencies working with MMPRC across several continents. MMPRC campaigns such

as "Maldives, The Sun Will Shine Again", the national-level vaccinations campaign for tourism sector employees "I’m Vaccinated", and the Maldives Border Miles programme initiated by Maldives Immigration in partnership with MMPRC and other stakeholders as well as other activities spearheaded by MMPRC and partners. The means of communication may have changed, but it laid the path for a more effective channel between agents, partners, and customers across various key markets for those who were willing to adapt swiftly.

The economic downturn experienced in the Maldives, and throughout the world, as a result of the global pandemic in 2020 had led to uncertainty in the global travel trade. The future of the Maldives’ largest and most powerful industry was rife with ambiguity. The pandemic tested its strength, but the Maldives came out stronger, with a great determination for growth and success.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 13 Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC
14 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC

Even amidst the pandemic, the nation welcomed over half a million tourists in 2020, a milestone unto itself as other destinations remained closed, and other countries struggled to achieve even close to these figures. MMPRC conducted a multitude of events on various online platforms – marketing events and roadshows targeting different countries and markets, and webinars for travel agents through which valuable information about Maldivian tourism products was provided. MMPRC reached millions of people in all corners of the world (with its team working remotely) right to their homes, social media feeds, and mobile phones. It was a challenge as the Work-From-Home concept was new, but regardless of the obstacles, MMPRC continued to persevere and achieve many more milestones.

MMPRC carried out over 412 different types of marketing activities in 22 global markets, partnering with its international PR agencies to ensure that every visitor in every market still continued to see the beautiful sights of the Maldives despite global border closures. A total of 314 activities were carried out during this pandemic as part of the crisis recovery plan;

some of these include fairs (online as well as offline), webinars, FAM trips, online roadshows, outdoor campaigns, digital media campaigns, and more. The total reach of all MMPRC activities for the year was 5,278,961,375.

All these campaigns, hard work, and the joint efforts of the entire tourism industry of the Maldives culminated in the nation securing the title of ‘World’s Leading Destination’ for the first time in 2020. The win gave MMPRC renewed vigour to continue its efforts to promote the Maldives, its safety, unique geographical aspects, natural beauty, and unmatched hospitality, to visitors from around the world.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 15
Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC

2021 — The Year of New Opportunities

In 2021, MMPRC decided to take the opportunity to tap into under-utilised market segments of tourism, as recommended through data-driven research. Extensive market research and studies had to be conducted to understand the best ways to augment its travel trade according to the boundaries set by evolving new norms.

It was with optimism, earnestness, and confidence that the corporation took its first steps into revitalising MICE tourism in the Maldives with the ‘Redefining MICE’ campaign. The MICE segment is a trillion-dollar industry and one of the most profitable endeavours in the industry right now and the Maldives is in a unique position to redefine the way meetings,

incentives, conferences, and events were sold. MMPRC targeted the MICE travel segment, as travellers around the world began to experience the inevitable ‘zoom blues’. Boardrooms on the beach, team building on a secluded sandbank, AGMs on a private cruising liveaboard, these are the kind of MICE experiences offered in the Maldives. The ‘Redefining MICE’ campaign was a great success and prompted even more travellers to see that the Maldives is truly a destination with something for everyone. Several other marketing activities and campaigns were carried out in 2021, providing a platform for tourists from around the world to relive their happy memories and rediscover the wonders of Maldives.

Another notable achievement of MMPRC’s work amidst the global pandemic is that tourism helped to maintain and keep the Maldivian

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Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC

economy afloat as the main contributor to the GDP. Its marketing activities helped to bring in numbers that reflected positively towards the country’s economic recovery post covid. Once MMPRC started to physically attend events, and participate in fairs, and exhibitions, many of its global travel trader partners, including travel agents, tour operators, PR agencies, and tourism-related businesses expressed gratitude and positive remarks on how MMPRC and Maldives continued work throughout the pandemic provided them with the opportunity to stay afloat during economically testing times.

MMPRC carried out 209 different marketing activities in 24 global markets in 2021. These include 110 marketing campaigns in 24 markets, 63 fairs and virtual events, 11 roadshows and 31 familiarisation trips. With interviews and other participation, over 400 activities were conducted

in 2021. This led to hitting a landmark 1.3 million arrivals in 2021, an unprecedented number as many nations still remained with closed borders following the pandemic. Maintaining a digital presence and advertising in both traditional and digital media platforms was crucial during the pandemic. Records reveal that MMPRC digital media campaigns have reached more than 61,995,090,549 with a media value of over USD 239,190,730.

In 2021, the Maldives triumphed at the World Travel Awards again, securing the World’s Leading Destination title for the second consecutive year.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 17 Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC

2022 — The Year of Setting Standards for Tourism Boards Worldwide

If 2021 was the year the world turned the tide against the pandemic, the need to adjust to new realities dominated in 2022, both in areas reshaped by the crisis and as deeper trends reasserted themselves. Traditional source markets were strong, and markets that were previously hit were now clearly recovering. The Maldives tourism industry’s capacity, in terms of accommodation and facilities, was increasing, with an operational bed capacity of over 50,000. We were also more connected to the world, with over 27 airlines operating in the Maldives. With the success of the vaccination campaign, over 95% of Maldives resort workers were fully vaccinated.

Most countries have now re-opened their borders for international travel following the Covid-19 pandemic, and have accordingly initiated extensive campaigns to revive tourism in their respective countries. This meant that work had to be further bolstered to match the competition. MMPRC continued its efforts with no hesitation, even though the difficulties posed due to the Russia-Ukraine war put a damper on some of the top and emerging markets. MMPRC adapted swiftly, shifting attention to other potential top sources, such as the Middle Eastern, Nordic, and Indian markets.

As of the fourth quarter of 2022, MMPRC had conducted over 171 marketing and promotional activities including 90 marketing campaigns, 44 Fairs, 06 Roadshows, 09 Virtual Events, 19 Familiarisation Trips, and 10 other events worldwide to promote Maldives as a tourist destination. One of the key focuses of its strategies was to maintain brand visibility in the global markets. In addition to promoting the Maldives as a premier luxury destination with various affordable options and diverse experiences, its messaging was clearly

communicated to build confidence in the destination. MMPRC augmented this with the Tourism Golden Jubilee messaging, to veer visitors towards the celebratory mood in the Maldives tourism industry in 2022, to great success.

Since the beginning of the year, MMPRC aligned its marketing campaigns towards promoting experiential tourism, based on emerging travel trends, coinciding with the introduction of homestay tourism in the Maldives. The corporation also launched a series of books titled ‘Tales of Maldives’ to share some of the unique stories and folklore native to the Maldives, as part of its efforts to branch out and expand tourism segments, such as cultural and experiential tourism. MMPRC concentrated on marketing initiatives that promote the natural beauty of the Maldives along with events to network with its industry partners and get their feedback on the best ways to promote the Maldives further as a destination with consistent messaging, to work towards the mutual goal of maintaining the Maldives as a leading destination. The Tourism Marketeers Evening 2022 which was hosted in late 2022 was one of the many joint activities conducted with industry stakeholders in order to reach common goals.

Regardless of the small size of the MMPRC team compared to those of other tourist boards that competed with MMPRC, its work has been effective enough for representatives from the largest nations to consider Visit Maldives the de facto benchmark for decisive, dynamic, and efficient destination marketing. The fruit of the hard work was seen as the Maldives once again won the World’s Leading Destination Award, for the third consecutive year, in a moment of triumph for the entire nation.

Visitors and tourism organisations around the world also recognised the hard work, diligence, and dedication with which MMPRC has promoted the Maldives through some of the most uncertain times of the modern age. As such, the corporation won the title of World’s Leading Tourist Board in 2022.

18 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC
Corporate Maldives | February 23 19 Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC
20 Corporate Maldives | February 23
Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC
Thoyyib Mohamed CEO and Managing Director of MMPRC

Thoyyib Mohamed is the CEO and Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC), also known as Visit Maldives. As the government body mandated with the promotion of Maldives as a tourist destination, MMPRC undertakes the full spectrum of marketing and PR activities including research, surveys, master plans, campaigns, advertising and exposure in various forms of media.

Our team sat down with Thoyyib to find out more about his career in tourism so far, and to delve deeper into MMPRC’s strategies for maintaining the Maldives’ image as the world’s leading destination.

The Maldives recently won the prestigious accolade of World’s Leading Destination for the third consecutive time. Could you describe MMPRC’s role, especially in the post-covid era, in helping achieve this?

Since the beginning of 2022, we at MMPRC have aligned our marketing campaigns based on emerging travel trends in the post-covid era of travel. We have learned a lot during our time at international fairs, roadshows, and conferences, and we are putting what we learned into practice. We also recently held our 2022 edition of the Visit Maldives annual ‘Marketeers Evening’ to bring the travel trade under one roof and discuss our strategies and listen to their comments, feedback and concerns. Our marketing efforts are built upon their invaluable feedback.  Travellers are becoming more conscious of their footprint and it is important that each journey matters. Experiential tourism and eco-conscious travel are on the rise.


you tell us a bit about your career thus far?

I started my career 34 years ago as a producer trainer for Television Maldives. Since then, I have spent over two decades in media production, management, strategic planning, marketing, and international networking. My first experience in the tourism industry came when I was Chairman of MMPRC and the Minister of State for Tourism, Arts and Culture in 2009.

I was appointed to the current position by H.E. President Ibrahim Solih in 2018, and since then, I have helped navigate MMPRC through some of the greatest challenges faced by the tourism industry in the Maldives. With my dedicated team, we helped the Maldives achieve the highest tourist arrival figure in Maldives’ history in 2018, secured the position of the World’s Leading Destination for three consecutive years, and achieved the World’s Leading Tourist Board in 2022.

As of the fourth quarter of 2022, MMPRC had conducted over 171 marketing and promotional activities including 90 marketing campaigns, 44 fairs, 6 roadshows, 9 virtual events, 19 familiarisation trips, and 10 other events worldwide to promote Maldives as a tourist destination.  One of the key focuses of our strategies was to maintain brand visibility in the global markets. In addition to promoting the Maldives as a premier luxury destination with various affordable options and diverse experiences, our messaging was clearly communicated to build confidence in the destination.

Of course, the achievement is the product of each and every single person working in the tourism industry. One of our mandates is to provide a platform for our tourism partners on an international platform. It is through these platforms that our industry partners promote their breathtaking properties and establish the Maldives as the World’s Leading Destination.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 21
Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC

Since last year’s ‘Redefining MICE’ campaign, what other activities have been carried out to market the Maldives as the ideal MICE destination?

‘Redefining MICE’ wasn’t our introduction to MICE tourism, the Maldives has been a popular MICE destination for many years. This campaign was simply aimed at promoting how the Maldives is the perfect destination for a completely unique style of ‘Redefining MICE’. We are now at a stage where we can host events that can visibly demonstrate how the Maldives can pull it off.

On the sidelines at WTM 2022, we held a media conference titled ‘Maldives Media Meet’, during which we announced the Visit Maldives Storytellers’ Conference 2023. I can’t spoil all of it just yet. You are going to hear a lot more about it in the weeks to come!

What are the biggest challenges faced by MMPRC in destination marketing right now?

One of our biggest challenges is moving beyond the image of Maldives as a purely ‘honeymoon’ and ‘luxury’ destination. We are steadfast in our commitment to promoting the many sides and segments of the Maldives.

We are also competing in a rapidly shifting and highly competitive market. We are confronting a new level of competition and we have to set new measures for success. Our competitors are no longer only beach destinations in the Indian ocean. Popular destinations in the Caribbean, Europe, and Southeast Asia are also competing directly with us. It is imperative that we stay ahead of the game and maintain our position as the World’s Leading Destination. We can only do so by strengthening the Maldives brand.

What strategies does MMPRC have in place to reach the ambitious target of 2 million tourist arrivals in 2023, and what are your plans for the future?

Whichever target is set by the government, we will do our absolute best to make sure we meet that target. Some of our strategies for 2023 include:

• Maintaining the perfect balance between online and offline activities for B2B and B2C activities,

• Focused advertising and promotion on individual products and experiences,

• Increase awareness of MICE properties available in Maldives, dive markets and sustainability/wellness practices,

• Building greater capacity in MMPRC to conduct effective localised campaigns with an emphasis on conducting activities in the local language of the source markets, and

• Maintaining a good partnership with travel service providers and airlines.

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Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC

A Look into the Perpetual Marketing Activities Carried Out By MMPRC

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives) is the Maldives’ national tourism office, responsible for carrying out promotional activities to make the Maldives the world’s most preferred destination.

The marketing and promotional activities carried out by MMPRC mainly consist of 4 areas: destination marketing, social media, content and graphics along with projects. MMPRC is responsible for carrying out marketing and promotional activities to showcase the destination visibility for major tourist source markets of the world.

The marketing campaigns are aligned based on emerging travel trends while concentrating on the natural beauty of the Maldives. As such, in 2022, MMPRC launched a series of books titled ‘Tales of Maldives’ to share some of the Maldives’ unique stories and folklore as part of their effort to branch out and expand their segments, such as cultural and experiential tourism.

One of the key focuses of MMPRC’s strategies is to maintain brand visibility in the global markets, therefore, they further create and deliver motion and static graphics for several media platforms.

In addition to this, planning, building, and implementing corporate advertising campaigns across multiple channels and platforms including Google, Linkedin and Twitter are also part of this strategy. Executing corporate digital marketing strategies across these channels and platforms is crucial to achieving the overall marketing goals in an integrated marketing communication approach.

As of the fourth quarter of 2022, MMPRC had conducted over 171 marketing and promotional activities including 90 marketing campaigns, 44 fairs, 6 roadshows, 9 virtual events, 19 familiarisation trips, and 10 other events worldwide to promote Maldives as a tourist destination. Through the marketing activities, MMPRC had a total reach of 10,687,640,269.

Along with events to network with the industry partners, they also liaise with PR representatives to get their feedback on the best ways to promote the Maldives further as a destination with consistent messaging. Research for strategic opportunities is further carried out by identifying and evaluating changing trends in the assigned markets and contributing to activity planning to maximise the exposure for the Maldives.

The success of the marketing and promotional efforts by MMPRC is seen as the Maldives successfully secured the title of the World’s Leading Destination for the third year in a row at the World Travel Awards 2022. In addition to this prestigious title for the Maldives, MMPRC attained the title of the World’s Leading Tourist Board in 2022 for the first time competing with 28 other prominent tourism boards.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 23
Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC

Procurement: An Essential


to MMPRC’s Marketing & Promotion Activities

Procurement plays an essential role in marketing and promotion, as it ensures that the process is transparent and streamlined to realise each and every activity. Undoubtedly, procurement is a major contributor to marketing and other departments in the organisation, and is involved in most processes that go on through the daily workday.

At Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives), the nature of the procurement work done is different compared to other procurement departments in most organisations. Since the corporation is fully service-based, the department doesn’t just buy the required materials; everything it does is customised.

24 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC

So, what exactly does procurement entail for MMPRC?

In general, the tasks of its procurement department include customs clearance, freight forwarding and logistics tasks as per requirements. It also involves activities related internal consumption material, such as repair and maintenance, as well as procuring stationery and office supplies.

Procurement for marketing activities is also a major component of the department’s tasks. While campaigns are decided by marketing, procurement takes over the board approvals and the processes for activities to begin as per organisation policies. The department is tasked with the production of promotional materials distributed at fairs and events for brand visibility. Managing promotional materials, such as stock keeping, distribution and warehousing is also an important task.

For fairs, roadshows and events, the procurement department is responsible for ticketing, including ticketing for FAM trip participants, as well as venue hiring for roadshows in different markets across the world as per marketing requirements.

In addition, it hires PR agencies to represent MMPRC in various markets around the world, including for FAM trips and roadshows. This

includes hiring parties, evaluation, tender, awarding, and signing contracts. It also hires parties for stand constructions for fairs too, which is a similar process to hiring PR agencies.

Procurement is an instrumental component of MMPRC’s operations, aiding other departments in carrying out their work and achieving their targets. The combined efforts by MMPRC led to its attainment of the title of World’s Leading Tourist Board in 2022, a historic first for the nation.

One of our biggest challenges is moving beyond the image of Maldives as a purely ‘honeymoon’ and ‘luxury’ destination. We are steadfast in our commitment to promoting the many sides and segments of the Maldives.

We are also competing in a rapidly shifting and highly competitive market. We are confronting a new level of competition and we have to set new measures for success. Our competitors are no longer only beach destinations in the Indian ocean. Popular destinations in the Caribbean, Europe, and Southeast Asia are also competing directly with us. It is imperative that we stay ahead of the game and maintain our position as the World’s Leading Destination. We can only do so by strengthening the Maldives brand.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 25
Corporate Maldives Spotlight: MMPRC
26 Corporate Maldives | February 23 MIRA Collects Record Revenue of MVR 22 Billion in 2022 Government & Economy

Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) collected a record revenue of MVR 22 billion during the year 2022. This figure is a staggering 40% increase compared to the total revenue collected in 2021, which amounted to MVR 15.7 billion.

According to the authority’s latest monthly revenue collection report, MIRA collected a tax revenue figure of MVR 16 billion in 2022. This is an increase of 34.6% compared to the MVR 11.9 billion in tax revenue collected in 2021.

Furthermore, MIRA collected a non-tax revenue of MVR 5.99 billion in 2022, an increase of about 56% compared to MVR 3.8 billion collected the previous year.

The total revenue collected by MIRA in 2022 was MVR 22 billion, which includes USD 889 million. This is the highest-ever dollar income collected by the authority.

Some of the highest contributors to MIRA’s revenue in 2022 include TGST (30%), Income Tax (19.9%), GGST (14.5%), Lease Period Extension Fee (8.9%), Tourism Land Rent (8.7%), and Green Tax (4.4%).

Corporate Maldives | February 23 27 Government & Economy

World Bank Group and Maldives Enhance Cooperation Through New Country Partnership Framework

28 Corporate Maldives | February 23
Government & Economy

The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors has discussed the new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) 2023-2027 for the Maldives, which aims to support the country to achieve a green, resilient, and inclusive highgrowth future.

The new five-year strategy lays out key areas for work by the World Bank Group’s member organizations, including the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which focuses on the private sector in developing countries and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) which offers political risk insurance and credit enhancement guarantees.

The new CPF aims to achieve three high-level objectives: increased access to economic opportunities, improved human capital outcomes, and improved resilience to shocks. To achieve these objectives, the CPF will focus on strengthening the quality and reach of education and health systems, enhancing the protection of the vulnerable population, ensuring efficiency and transparency in the fiscal space, leveraging natural resources to increase growth while protecting natural assets like coral reefs and mitigating climate risks, and investing in new frontiers like digital technologies to enhance service delivery and to provide new opportunities for the people especially women and youth.

The current World Bank program in Maldives includes 9 projects financed by the International Development Association (IDA) and one IDA guarantee operation for a total net commitment of $178 million. The projects are focused on renewable energy, youth resilience and employability, digital development, urban development, solid waste management, COVID-19 response, health, education, and social protection. The World Bank also provides analytical support in macroeconomic monitoring and analysis, the financial sector, social protection, and poverty.

Maldives became a member of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a sister organization of the World Bank focusing on private sector development and a member of the World Bank Group, in 1983. Since then, IFC has invested over $200 million, including mobilization from other institutions.

"Unlocking the potential of the private sector is key to helping spur economic transformation for the Maldives. Promoting private sector-led growth, with an increased focus on the digital economy, will help diversify the economy, delivering benefits for all people. Over the past two years, IFC has accelerated its work in Maldives with key investments in the financial and digital infrastructure, supporting economic transformation and boosting resilience. We remain committed to continuing our support and look forward to working with the government and other partners to implement the CPF over the next five years," added Hector Gomez Ang, IFC Regional Director for South Asia.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 29
“Our new Country Partnership Framework with the Maldives reflects the close collaboration and consultation with the government, civil society, development partners, and other stakeholders in the country. We believe this partnership will support Maldives in achieving its development goals and building a green, resilient, and inclusive future for all Maldivians,”
Government & Economy
said Faris Hadad-Zervos, the World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka

Government Repays USD 18 Million in Debt During the First Week of 2023

The Ministry of Finance has disclosed that the government discharged a total of USD 18 million in debt obligations in the initial week of 2023.

As per data from the Finance Ministry, the government disbursed USD 43 million between January 1st and 5th, of which USD 18 million was allocated towards debt repayment, a substantial increase when compared to the USD 1.2 million allocated towards debt repayment during the previous year.

Additionally, the statistics reveal that USD 5.8 million was allocated towards the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) in the first week of the current year, while USD 19 million was allotted for recurrent expenses.

The government also received USD 4 million in revenue, consisting of USD 1.5 million in tax revenue and USD 2.5 million in non-tax revenue.

30 Corporate Maldives | February 23
Government & Economy

Key Agreements Exchanged Between the Maldives and Cambodia

The Republic of Maldives and the Kingdom of Cambodia have exchanged six key agreements, demonstrating a pivotal point of progress in bilateral relations between the two countries.

The agreements exchanged are:

1. The Agreement on Visa Exemption for Holders of Diplomatic, Official, and Ordinary Passports between the Maldives and Cambodia.

The agreement was signed by Foreign Minister, H.E. Abdulla Shahid, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, H.E. Mr Prak Sokhon. The agreement will ease existing travel restrictions for holders of diplomatic, official, and ordinary passports of both the Maldives and Cambodia and strengthen the socio-economic relationship between the countries.

2. Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Bilateral Consultations between the Foreign Ministry of Maldives and the Foreign Ministry of Cambodia.

The MoU was signed by Foreign Minister, H.E. Abdulla Shahid and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, H.E. Mr Prak Sokhon. The agreement will invite discussions to build relationships between the Maldives and Cambodia in various fields.

32 Corporate Maldives | February 23
Government & Economy

3. Agreement on Economic Cooperation between the Maldives and Cambodia.

The agreement was signed by Economic Minister, Uz. Fayyaz Ismail, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, H.E. Mr Prak Sokhon. The agreement seeks to strengthen, promote, and develop economic cooperation between the Maldives and Cambodia based on equality and mutual benefit.

4. Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Health Cooperation between the Maldives and Cambodia.

The MoU was signed by the Health Minister, H.E. Ahmed Naseem, and the Health Minister of Cambodia, H.E. Prof. MAM Bunheng. The agreement will assist the Maldives in seeking support to enhance healthcare facilities, train healthcare professionals, and carry out prevention and advocacy programmes.

5. Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tourism Cooperation between the Maldives and Cambodia.

The MoU was signed by the Tourism Minister, Dr Abdulla Mausoom and the Tourism Minister of Cambodia, H.E. Mr Thong Khon. The agreement will help advertise tourism, provide training, further investment opportunities, and facilitate travel between the Maldives and Cambodia.

6. Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce.

The MoU was signed by a board member of the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Mohamed Ikram Ibrahim, and the President of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, H.E. Mr Neak Oknh Kith Men.

The agreement will open possibilities for building trade relations, increasing trade, expanding investments, and further enhancing industrial, business, and economic cooperation between the Maldives and Cambodia.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 33
Government & Economy

Maldives Expected to Remain the Fastest Growing Economy in the Region

34 Corporate Maldives | February 23
Government & Economy

The World Bank has revealed that the Maldives is expected to remain the fastest-growing economy in the South Asian region.

According to its January 2023 Global Economic Prospects, growth in the Maldives is expected to moderate to 8.2% in 2023, which is below previous projections, as the post-pandemic boost fades. Nonetheless, Maldives is expected to remain the fastest-growing economy in the region, benefiting from an increase in tourist arrivals and infrastructure investments.

The report also highlighted that tourism in Maldives rebounded robustly in 2022, returning its GDP to its pre-pandemic level more quickly than previously expected; growth for the year is expected to be 12.4%.

The World Bank stated that the growth in the South Asia region is projected to slow to 5.5% in 2023 on slowing external demand and tightening financial conditions before picking up slightly to 5.8% in 2024. The pace reflects robust growth in India, the Maldives, and Nepal offsetting the effects of the floods in Pakistan and the economic and political crises in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Additionally, rising interest rates will squeeze non-interest spending in small states with sizeable existing stocks of variable-rate debt, such as the Maldives. The island nation is among the 20 countries with the highest estimated stocks of debt owed to entities in China as a share of their GDP, added the report.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 35
Government & Economy
36 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Government & Economy

MMA Q4 Survey Shows Expansion in All Major Sectors, Tourism Leads

Businesses in all major sectors showed progress in Q4-2022, according to the recent Quarterly Business Survey conducted by the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA). Despite a moderation in the construction and transport and communication sectors, all sectors reported an expansion in activity.

Employment levels rose for businesses in all sectors, with the tourism sector registering the largest increase for the second consecutive quarter. The continuation of the tourism peak season in Q1-2023 led to a positive outlook among respondents in the tourism sector, although they expect activity to moderate going forward. Businesses in the wholesale and retail, construction and transport and communication sectors also expect activity to improve in Q12023.

Price developments indicated heightened upward pressures in Q4-2022, with elevated input and selling price indices for businesses in all sectors. The wholesale and retail trade sector observed the most notable increase in input prices, while the tourism sector exhibited the most significant rise in selling prices. However,

prices in the tourism sector are expected to moderate in Q1-2023, due to lower expected demand.

The financial situation of businesses improved for all sectors except for the construction sector in Q4-2022. All sectors expect their financial situation to improve in Q1-2023. Despite this, credit conditions remained tight for all sectors in Q4-2022 and are expected to further tighten for the construction and wholesale and retail trade sectors in Q1-2023.

The Quarterly Business Survey is carried out by the MMA with the aim of obtaining a quick assessment of current business trends and expected future economic activity. In Q4-2022 survey forms were sent to 194 large enterprises in the tourism, construction, wholesale and retail trade and transport and communication sectors. The survey sample is taken from a list of companies provided by the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA). A total of 132 enterprises responded during the survey period which represents an overall response rate of 68%.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 37 Government & Economy

Maldives Welcomes Back Chinese Tourists After 3-Year Hiatus

The Maldives has welcomed back Chinese tourists after a nearly three-year hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. On January 18th, the Maldives received 198 Chinese tourists who arrived on the first flight from China operated by Beijing Capital Airlines. This marks the first time a Chinese airline has operated a direct flight to the Maldives since March 2020.

The arriving tourists were greeted with traditional boduberu, and a special gift pack along with flowers in celebration of welcoming the first visitors from China to the Maldives in the past 3 years. The event was joined by a high-level delegation, including Ministers, Ambassadors and other high-level executives from the Government of the Maldives and China.

Tourism in the Maldives is expected to receive a significant boost once Chinese tourists start returning to the country. In 2019, 267,875 Chinese tourists visited the Maldives, making up 17.5% of the record 1.7 billion tourist arrivals to the island destination that year. According to the Ministry of Tourism, China is expected to account for at least 10% of total tourist arrivals to the Maldives in the coming months.

China remains the world’s largest outbound travel market, with Chinese tourists spending USD 255 billion globally annually. The lifting of travel restrictions has spurred a surge in bookings as Asia’s tourist hotspots prepare for a boom and airlines seek to quickly ramp up capacity.

38 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Tourism & Aviation

‘Urban Isle’ by HDC — An Integrated Tourism Megaproject Posed to Diversify Maldives Tourism

Over the past five decades, the Maldives’ tourism industry has flourished and evolved at an unprecedented rate, cementing the nation’s name as the globe’s leading destination. What was once known as a small fishing archipelago is now renowned the world over for its idyllic beaches, crystal clear waters, and ultra-luxe properties emerging by the dozen.

While the one-island-one-resort concept has proven highly successful, new entrants to the market are toying with the idea of ‘integrated tourism’ as an equally viable model. As such, in an effort to diversify the Maldives’ evergrowing

tourism sector, Housing Development Corporation (HDC) has disclosed plans to launch an integrated tourism megaproject in Hulhumale Phase II, dubbed ‘Urban Isle’.

Positioned to offer something for everyone, Urban Isle is situated in the north of Hulhumale’, separated from the rest of the city by a water canal. Located close to the Sheraton Full Moon Resort, a 1,03,421 square metre footprint of land has been set aside for the Urban Isle project, which aims to stimulate various types of tourism.

40 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Tourism & Aviation

The Urban Isle project is to be developed independently of the Hulhumale’ development project. It consists of the following:

• Three medium-sized, 10-storey hotels — an area of 19,103 square metres

• Three high-end, 10-storey hotels – an area of 50,681 square metres

• Four 8-10-storey city hotels — an area of 2,850 square metres

• 21 six-storey guesthouses – 9,224 square metres of land

• 11 three-storey luxury villas – an area of 5,083 square metres

• 10 plots for construction of serviced apartments in 8-12 storey towers – 7,006 square metres

Nine plots of land – 9,474 square metres for business development

The integrated tourism island presents an expansive range of properties to invest in. The island welcomes every type of traveller, from international and domestic visitors, to budget travellers and those seeking an extravagant stay. The properties are positioned to offer shortterm stays for transit purposes, as well as longterm stays for residents and digital nomads.

What’s more, the commercial spine of Urban Isle is set to add value to the visitor experience by offering complementing amenities. The commercial spine itself offers many investment opportunities. The development will include over 30 outlets, offering visitors both international and local retail and dining experiences.

The business models proposed by Urban Isle include the lease model, fixed lease model, and JV model. Investor proposals are not restricted to any model, and investors have the opportunity to propose any business model.

There is a number of benefits for investors, including:

• No restrictions on the repatriation of profits and capital proceeds

• Provision of a legally backed investment guarantee

• Long-term lease and grace period for investment recovery

• Ease of accessibility – land connectivity to Velana International Airport and Malé

• High demand for transit tourists in the region

• Island-wide utility network

• Green transportation throughout the islan

• Open Access Network

• Smart infrastructure

• Sustainability (Building research establishment environmental assessment method (Breeam) and green network)

Not only would Urban Isle benefit investors and visitors, but it would also propel the Maldivian economy forward by creating job opportunities and driving infrastructure development in the region, thereby raising the standard of living overall.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 41 Tourism & Aviation
42 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Tourism & Aviation

CROSSROADS Maldives Introduces Direct Transfers from Hulhumale’

CROSSROADS Maldives, the first fully integrated leisure destination in the Maldives, has announced the introduction of direct transfers from Hulhumale’ to CROSSROADS Maldives, effective 10th January. This move is aimed at providing greater convenience to valued CROSSROADS guests, in line with their commitment to delivering outstanding service and hospitality.

As per the new ferry schedule, from Sundays to Thursdays, there will be five transfers between Male’ and CROSSROADS Maldives, with the earliest transfer departing from Male’ at 10:45 am. From Thursdays to Saturdays, there will be eight transfers between Male’ CROSSROADS Maldives, with the earliest transfer departing at 10:45 am, and the latest return transfer departing at 23:45 pm. Additionally, from Thursdays to Saturdays, there will be one transfer departing from Hulhumale’ at 11:30 am and returning at 17:30 pm.

Departure from Hulhumale’ to CROSSROADS Maldives will be from Lakudi Jetty 1 & 2, while departure from Male’ will be from the new Ticketing Lounge in collaboration with Art Gallery Malé, located on Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male’. The CROSSROADS Maldives Ticketing Lounge is a welcoming space for travellers with reservations or those looking to book on arrival.

The lounge offers services and amenities to give guests an unforgettable experience and features artworks by the Art Gallery Malé. It is designed to give guests a taste of CROSSROADS Maldives’ signature hospitality and encourage relaxation before their journey to the destination.

The Marina offers affordable Marina ticket prices for both locals and tourists, making the destination highly accessible to all. For locals, the ticket prices for adults are set at MVR 200, and for children aged between 4-12 years, the price is MVR 100. Children below the age of 4 can travel for free. For tourists, the ticket prices are USD 20 for adults and USD 10 for children aged between 4-12. Similarly, children below the age of 4 can travel for free.

First opened in 2019, CROSSROADS Maldives is home to an exceptional collection of recreational facilities, including two internationally branded five-star resorts, eclectic restaurants and lounges, world-class wellness, speciality shopping, cultural attractions, energising activities and a large marina, all surrounded by powder-soft sands, turquoise lagoons and shimmering seas. Located in the South Malé Atoll just 15 minutes from Velana International Airport, this is an outstanding destination for global explorers seeking a short or extended escape in paradise.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 43 Tourism & Aviation

Maldivian Welcomes Two Additional ATR 72-600 Aircraft to Its Fleet

The national airline and leading domestic carrier, Maldivian has welcomed two additional ATR 72-600 aircraft to its fleet.

Island Aviation purchased a total of three aircraft which were initially set to join the Maldivian fleet in October 2022, which got delayed due to manufacturing issues. Apart from the two ATR 72 series aircraft, an ATR-42 series are among the new vessels. The vessels will cost a total of

USD 60 million (MVR 925 million), according to Island Aviation. The ATR 72 aircraft seats 74 passengers, while the ATR 42 aircraft seats 50.

Mohamed Mihad, Managing Director of Island Aviation, stated that Maldivian will purchase three more ATR aircraft early this year. He also stated that all vessels used by the airline on domestic flights will be replaced within the next two years.

44 Corporate Maldives | February 23
Tourism & Aviation

Maafaru International Airport Sees an Increase in Private Jet Landings in 2022

Island Aviation Services Limited (IASL) reported that 228 private jets landed at Maafaru International Airport in 2022.

According to IASL’s latest data, a total of 1,571 tourists arrived in the Maldives and 1,493 tourists departed from Maafaru International Airport in Noonu Atoll during the previous year, with the majority coming from Europe and a significant number coming from the Middle East.

The state-owned company’s statistics also showed that 228 private jets landed at the airport in 2022, compared to 297 in the previous year.

Maafaru Airport was developed with a grant aid of USD 60 million from the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. The airport can accommodate large aircraft such as Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. The airport was developed by a Singaporean company.

The airport has a 2,200-meter-long runway and is 40 meters wide. Its significant facilities include a modern state-of-the-art terminal with a VIP lounge.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 45
Tourism & Aviation

Maldives Expects Increase in Tourism with Arrival of 9 Cruise Liners This Year

The Maldives Association of Yacht Agency (MAYA) has announced that nine cruise liners are expected to arrive in the Maldives this year, bringing approximately 12,000 tourists.

These cruise liners will dock at Male’ City, Addu City, and Haa Alif Atoll. Tourism Minister Dr Abdulla Mausoom has stated that the cruise liner industry is a major focus for the Maldivian tourism and economic sectors, particularly because it can benefit businesses located in and around the capital city of Male.

Tourism Minister further stated that cruise liner passengers typically do not spend the night at resorts and hotels because they have already planned to spend money on the cruise liner. "However, if the Maldives can offer appealing ways for these passengers to spend their money while in the country, it has the potential to increase revenue," he added.

The largest of the nine cruise liners scheduled to arrive in the Maldives is the MS Costa Deliziosa, which has a capacity of 2,826 passengers and is set to arrive next month.

Cruise liners scheduled to arrive in the Maldives this year include:

• 23.01.23 – MS Artania (MALE), pax capacity 1280

• 02.02.23 – MS. Oceania Nautica (MALE) –pax capacity 684

• 17.03.23 – MS Silver Shadow (ADDU), pax capacity 388

• 04.02.23 – MS. Costa Deliziosa (MALE), pax capacity 2826

• 07.04.23 – MS Seven Seas Mariner (MALE), pax capacity 700

• 06.11.23 – MS AIDAbella (MALE), pax capacity 2050

• 01.12.23 – MS. Vasco da Gama Nicko (MALE), pax capacity 1512

• 16.12.23 – MS. Fred Olsen Bolette (HAA LAIF) pax capacity 1400

• 18.12.23 – MS. Fred Olsen Bolette (ADDU), pax capacity 1400

46 Corporate Maldives | February 23
Tourism & Aviation

MFMC Launches Extensive Tourism Development Project in Addu City

Maldives Fund Management Corporation Limited (MFMC) has introduced an extensive tourism development project for Addu City, called the Hankede Integrated Tourism Project.

The project consists of developing 1,041 rooms with a diverse range of accommodation options, each with a unique design. MFMC stated the project will revitalise Addu and enhance the tourism experience, and that it will create an opportunity for residents of Addu to benefit from integrated tourism through jobs, and by creating a favourable environment for small and medium businesses.

The government aims to bring 8,000 tourism beds into operation in Addu. Hankede is one of the regions in Addu that is specialised for tourism and includes hotels, guesthouses, and other tourismrelated businesses.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said that funds have been secured for the Hankede Integrated Tourism Project and that final preparations are being made to begin the fieldwork. He said the project is part of the government’s pledge to add 8,000 tourism beds in Addu.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 47 Tourism & Aviation

Hanimaadhoo International Airport Expansion Project Inaugurated

A function has been held in Hdh. Hanimaadhoo to mark the inauguration of the Hanimaadhoo International Airport expansion project. The project was inaugurated by President Solih and the Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

Addressing the function, President Solih stated that the region would see economic prosperity by completing the airport expansion project. He added that it would increase tourism facilities, including guesthouses and city hotels, drive job creation in the northern atolls, and transform the region into an economic hub.

The historic project is the largest and most significant infrastructure project initiated outside the Malé region. Funded through an MVR2.1 billion

loan from the Exim Bank of India, the project is contracted to India-based firm JMC Projects.

The project will see the development of a new 2,460-meter runway and facilities to cater to large aircraft. The new terminal is designed to accommodate 1.3 million passengers annually. Speaking about the revolutionary developmental progress spearheaded by the administration, President Solih described the developmental project as well-planned, studied and executed. He added that numerous developmental projects are currently underway across the country, and while many have been completed, 41 islands in the northern region have already been connected via the  RTL high-speed ferry service. Projects to develop water and sewerage networks in all inhabited islands are also progressing.

48 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Transport & Construction
Corporate Maldives | February 23 49 Transport & Construction

The President also highlighted airport development projects progressing across the country. While Hoarafushi Airport and Faresmaathoda Airport projects have been completed, President Solih noted that the administration had mobilised resources for the Maafaru International Airport project. He also announced that the administration had secured funds for airport projects in Bilehfahi in the Shaviyani Atoll, Thulhaadhoo Island in the Baa Atoll and Vilufushi Island in the Thaa Atoll.

President Solih also noted that numerous projects were being carried out across the country with assistance from the government of India and described the neighbour as an important development partner for the Maldives. The agreement to develop the Felivaru Cold Storage Complex was also signed as part of the ceremony. Cabinet ministers, senior government officials and members of Parliament joined the President and Dr Jaishankar at the function.

50 Corporate Maldives | February 23

MTCC Completes B. Dharavandhoo Shore Protection Project

Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) has revealed that the B. Dharavandhoo shore protection project has now been completed. The Planning Ministry handed over the project to MTCC on November 25, 2021. The project is worth MVR 22.14 million.

As part of the project, 10,800 cubic metres of sand have been laid on the beach, 490 metres of outer fencing and 96 metres of revetment have been laid.

Dharavandhoo has long endured the fear of erosion. As a result, large portions of the north and west sides of the island have been swallowed up, and the beach has eroded. Due to erosion, many trees fall every year.

MTCC said that the Dharavandhoo shore protection project will protect the erosion zone of the island and solve the long-standing problems and hardships of the people.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 51
Transport & Construction

BML Appoints CEO Karl Stumke as New Managing Director

52 Corporate Maldives | February 23

Bank of Maldives has announced the appointment of current CEO Karl Stumke as the new Managing Director.

Karl joined the Bank as CEO on 23rd October 2022 and was appointed by the government to the Board of Directors on 10th January 2023. The decision was made during the Board meeting held following the Extraordinary General Meeting.

Karl Stumke brings over 36 years of experience leading retail and corporate banks at the Executive and Board levels in the Middle East, Africa, Indian Oceans and the United Kingdom. He was previously CEO of Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait in United Arab Emirates.

Karl joined Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait as the General Manager of its International Banking division in 2010 where he oversaw a wide corporate portfolio before being appointed as CEO of their UAE

operations in 2017. Prior to joining Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait, Karl held the position of Regional Corporate Director at Bank Muscat International Bank in Bahrain and was responsible for its Corporate, Commercial, SME and Islamic banking propositions. Karl was also the Regional Managing Director, Indian Oceans at Barclays Bank Mauritius.

He has held Executive Directorships at Barclays Bank Tanzania as well as non-Executive Directorships in various institutions including Money on Demand, Barclays Leasing and Barclays Bank Seychelles.

Karl is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (South Africa), holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting Science from the University of South Africa and has completed executive programs in France, Switzerland and South Africa.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 53 People

IFC Appoints New Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives

IFC has appointed Alejandro Alvarez de la Campa as the new Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives. Based in Colombo, Alvarez de la Campa will lead IFC’s strategy in building a diversified portfolio and increasing impact in both countries, while helping strengthen sustainable private sector development and promoting inclusive growth.

A Spanish national, Alvarez de la Campa joined IFC in 2004, and has extensive experience working across the World Bank Group. Prior to this appointment, he was the Manager leading IFC’s Creating Markets Advisory teams in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, managing strategic engagements with governments and private sector partners to improve the investment climate across regions and industries. Alvarez de la Campa was also a Practice Manager for Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation (FCI) and Finance and Markets (F&M) in Africa in the joint World Bank-IFC Global Practice group.

Bringing in years of experience leading teams that supported policy implementation and reforms for private-sector-led development agenda, Alvarez de la Campa’s top priority will be to strategically lead IFC’s investment and advisory engagements in Maldives, pushing for stronger, progressive steps towards improving private sector-led growth which can deliver jobs and opportunity for people in Maldives.

54 Corporate Maldives | February 23
“IFC’s focus on the Maldives revolves around supporting sustainable and inclusive private sector-led growth. With Alejandro’s multi-regional experience in working across private and public sectors, I am confident IFC will lead the way in delivering high-impact investments and strategic engagements in the country,”
said Hector Gomez Ang, IFC Regional Director for South Asia

Commenting on his new role, Alvarez de la Campa said:

In the Maldives, IFC has been supporting the private sector since 1983—with over $200 million in investments so far. IFC’s strategy in the Maldives revolves around three pillars: sustainability; inclusion; and connectivity. Under these strategic pillars, IFC’s program for Maldives seeks to promote inclusive and sustainable growth with a focus on tourism, food security, gender, infrastructure and climate smart solutions.

While boosting tourism is a key priority, and a mainstay of the economy, IFC is also looking at opportunities to promote inclusion through disruptive models of digital finance, improving access to financial services for micro, small and medium leading to more and better opportunities for Maldivians.”

Alvarez de la Campa also iterated on the importance of having close collaboration with the private sector, government, development partners as well as the World Bank.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 55
“As the Country Manager for IFC in Sri Lanka and Maldives, I look forward to deepening our partnerships in Maldives to diversify IFC’s investments and support private sector-led growth, while also paving the path towards a greener, resilient and inclusive future for the benefit of the country’s people

Administration Aims to Ensure Inclusive Education on Every Atoll and Island: President

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that his administration aims to ensure inclusive education for all children in every atoll and island. He made these remarks while speaking at the golden jubilee function of Feydhoo School in Addu City.

Speaking on the history of Feydhoo School, President Solih announced that the administration would soon launch the project to develop a new school building. Stating that the administration introduced higher secondary education in all atolls last year, the President described it as a historical achievement in education sector development. The administration introduced higher secondary education in Vaavu Atoll in 2022.

The President spoke about the administration’s efforts to educate children and develop human resources across the country. He emphasised

the success of the administration’s free degree programme, the reduction of administrative fees for student loans and extending student loan repayment duration by 25 per cent.

President Solih also spoke about the administration’s significant strides in the education sector’s progress. He said the administration started implementing the country’s first-ever Education Act in 2021 and introduced a satellite school system. He added that the administration ensured substantial pay raises for education sector staff, introduced special duty allowances and facilitated training programmes for teachers and principals.

56 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Education & Training

for 14 Years and Beyond

58 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Health Medtech Maldives –Empowering the Maldives Healthcare

Medtech Maldives is one of the most experienced and prolific suppliers of healthcare, medical, and pharmaceutical products in the Maldives. Medtech Maldives has been dedicated to connecting the Maldives’ healthcare industry with the forefront of medical advancements since its establishment. The company has built an esteemed reputation as a leader in the industry, through its team of seasoned healthcare professionals and executives.

The company’s leadership team is composed of experienced professionals in the healthcare industry. One of the key members of the Medtech Maldives team is Ahmed Haikal, Medtech Group Chairman. Ahmed Haikal has extensive experience in the procurement and distribution of medical supplies and equipment, and his expertise is instrumental in ensuring that Medtech Maldives is able to provide its customers with the highest quality products and services.

In addition to Ahmed Haikal, the team also includes Mubah Rafeeu as the Medtech Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director. With over 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry, Mubah is responsible for marketing and distribution operations. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with global partners, which have helped Medtech Maldives establish partnerships with over 70 prominent medical brands.

Another key member of the Medtech team is Ahmed Abdul Rahman, Medtech Group Chief Technical Officer. Ahmed is a respected

figure in engineering and technical support of medical equipment and is responsible for the installation and maintenance of critical equipment and infrastructure throughout the Maldives. His expertise and experience in this field help ensure that the medical equipment supplied by Medtech Maldives is of the highest quality and is properly installed and maintained.

Medtech Maldives has a reputation for providing high-quality products and services, and this is reflected in the wide range of products that the company offers. The product ranges include laboratory equipment and reagents, hospital care consumables & dialysis solutions, radiology equipment, blood gas organizers, hospital furniture, medical diagnostic equipment, and surgical instruments & various disposables. The medical devices supplied by the company carry the CE mark and comply with regulations imposed by the Maldives Food & Drug Authority (MFDA).

Some of the brands provided by Medtech Maldives include Abbott, B Braun, HillRom, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Belimed, Merck, Radiometer, ZOLL, Dentsply Sirona, GE Healthcare, Thermofisher Scientific, and Krober. These are among the most respected brands in the medical industry and are known for their high quality and durability.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 59 Health
60 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Health

The company has further provided equipment and services to several notable hospitals and healthcare centers in the Maldives, including IGMH Hospital, Hulhumale Hospital, Regional Hospitals, and Atoll Hospitals. They also have a broad range of customers now, which now range from large hospitals to small community health centers across the country. The company also has opened Medtech HomeCare, where customers can experience the products for consumers, ranging from mother care to elderly care.

As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, Medtech Maldives is poised to take on a larger role in the Maldives’ healthcare ecosystem. The company’s plans for expansion into the healthcare service sector, in conjunction with its current offerings of high-quality products and equipment, solidifying their position as a onestop-shop for all healthcare needs. Furthermore, the opening of Medtech HomeCare, which allows customers to experience the products for consumers ranging from mother care to elderly care, adds another dimension to the company’s commitment to customer needs. Medtech Maldives is well-positioned to navigate the everchanging healthcare landscape and continues to strive to provide the Maldives with the latest and most advanced medical technologies, and services.

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As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, Medtech Maldives is poised to take on a larger role in the Maldives’ healthcare ecosystem.

Swift Work Permit Medical Introduced in Baa Atoll

Getting a medical checkup done in the Maldives has always been a time-consuming and exhaustive undertaking for anyone, especially expatriates. On top of complicated and confusing paperwork filings, and long hours in queues at various government agencies, one must run to a licensed clinic or hospital several times before getting the mandatory medical examinations done to submit the work permit paperwork. It is both physically and mentally demanding.

Advance Diagnostic Centre (ADC), a state-of-theart private clinic based in Baa Atoll, is aiming to change all this. They want to make medical

checkups as affordable, simple, swift, and hasslefree as possible.

Work permit visa applicants can now quickly obtain their medical fitness results at ADC’s new clinic in Baa. Eydhafushi, which opened in October of last year.

The clinic has a private blood collection room, an x-ray/radiology room, and a fully equipped laboratory, and is run by a highly experienced team that includes a specialist physician. ADC, which is accredited by all required authorities, offers health checkup options that are more affordable than those available at public hospitals and health centres. The clinic’s cost-effective and quick services have already made it a favoured medical service provider among prominent resort operators in Baa Atoll.

62 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Health
Elegant, stain-resistant ceramic products with exquisite designs. Ideal for modern home decor. e: m: 3333 881

Vilunü Collaborates with Two Resorts to Create Bespoke Scents Inspired by the Maldives

As Vilunü marked its third anniversary in January, the local brand also celebrated two huge milestones in its business. Vilunü recently collaborated with two resorts in the Maldives to create bespoke scents, thus entering the field of scent marketing.

The first, created for the festive season at the award-winning luxury resort One & Only Reethi Rah, is called Coconut & Pink Sunsets. This calming scent features notes of coconut, rose, brown sugar and vanilla bean, and is designed to remind guests of the white sands and coconutbased cocktails that are synonymous with luxury and relaxation at the resort.

The second custom scent, named Island Garden, was formulated for Villa Haven, part of the newly rebranded Villa Resorts & Hotels. This fresh and floral scent includes notes of jasmine and

creamy coconut, and was inspired by the dappled sunshine and evening breezes that waft through Maldivian flower gardens.

For One & Only, the scent was created into a room and linen spray, available for guests to take home with them, allowing them to take a piece of their resort experience with them. For Villa Haven, a room spray in the bespoke scent was gifted to their Partners at the International Luxury Travel Market Cannes 2022.

The creation of bespoke scents is a service that Vilunü offers to brands, resorts, and hotels looking to differentiate themselves and offer their guests and partners a unique and immersive scent experience. As a Maldivian-founded brand, Vilunü is also able to offer these resorts a unique perspective on authentic Maldivian scents and their links to Maldivian history and traditions.

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Scent has a powerful ability to bring about feelings of nostalgia and memories of past experiences, making it a valuable tool for the hospitality industry in creating a memorable experience for guests. By collaborating with Vilunü, these resorts are able to offer their guests a way to bring home a piece of their experience through the use of scent. Vilunü is also known for its retail collection of scents and products called the Scents of Maldives. Inspired by the nostalgia of slow island life and the flora of the Maldives, these scents aim to remind visitors and locals of their memories of time spent on the islands. The products are available for purchase at multiple stockists in Male’, Velana International Airport and various resorts.

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BCC to Rent Kiosks at SME Hub for Food Vendors

Business Centre Corporation (BCC) has announced that it is accepting registrations for the leasing of kiosks in the SME Hub for food businesses. Due to the high level of interest in these kiosks, located on the first floor of the SME Hub, the corporation has decided to create a list of individuals who wish to rent the kiosks in the future.

Interested parties may register by completing a form online, and selection for the kiosks will be determined by lottery among registered individuals. Should a waitlisted applicant

decline the opportunity to rent a kiosk when one becomes available, registered applicants will be considered with a drawing to be held if more than one individual expresses interest.

The SME Hub, situated on the third floor of the Allied Building in Male’ City, is a three-story commercial hub featuring kiosks for small and medium enterprises to showcase their products and services. In addition to food kiosks, the hub also features a staging area for performing arts and entertainment, as well as a bookstore.

66 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Retail

Maldives’ First Adidas Outlet Opens in Male’ City

The Maldives’ first-ever Adidas outlet has opened in Male’ City, located on Chaandhanee Magu.

The new Adidas store is a two-story retail space designed to be a one-stop destination for sports and style enthusiasts. The store offers a unique shopping experience and showcases an extensive collection of footwear and apparel. The store aims to provide an immersive brand experience for customers and cater to their sports and lifestyle needs.

The outlet features a wide selection of Adidas products, including the recycled Originals "Court Turino" shoe and sports-specific shoes like the

Ultra-Boost 5.0 sneakers for runners, the Pro Nex 2021 for basketball players, and the laceless Predator Edge Point 3 Society for footballers.

The store also sells various lines of sports lifestyle shoes, such as the Super-Star and Torino RF, as well as sports apparel and other lifestyle merchandise for men and women. There is also a space dedicated to Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi in honour of his triumph at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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SIMDI Group Celebrates 22nd Anniversary

SIMDI Group has celebrated its 22nd anniversary.

Founded in January 2001 by Chairman Mr. Ibrahim Mohamed Didi and CEO Dr. Mariyam Shakeela, SIMDI Group is backed by a history of knowledge, experiences, and expertise dating back to 1972. Since then, it has diversified immensely with an enviable reputation and as a reliable and trusted provider of world-renowned products and services in a wide range of categories.

Their product categories include beverages, fastmoving consumer goods, office automation, resort ware, machinery, and appliances spread to over 15,000 products and services and representing 200 brands, including holding exclusive distributorship of world-renowned brands, such

as Illy Coffee, Canon products, Dilmah tea, Monin syrups, Electrolux Home appliances, and more. Furthermore, over the years, SIMDI has extended its service portfolio into Education, Medical, Mental Health, Wellness, Agriculture, Lifestyle, Interior Design, Hospitality, and Leisure. In addition, it has spread its products and services to all 20 atolls of Maldives.

Managing Director Mr. Mishal Ibrahim Mohamed Didi, General Manager Mr. Yooshau Saeed, and other members of the Executive Team lead SIMDI Group today, drawing strength from Chairman and CEO’s extensive knowledge, visionary outlook, and exceptional leadership qualities to ensure that SIMDI stays ahead of its competition.

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Currently, SIMDI Group employs over 380 full-time staff; from different nationalities, with 4 Strategic Business Units (SBU): SIMDI Bev, SIMDI CPD, SIMDI Resu, and SIMDI Tech.

Mishal Ibrahim Mohamed Didi, Managing Director of SIMDI Group said: "We are proud to celebrate 22 years of success and growth. Over the past two decades, we have established strong relationships with world-renowned brands and have helped bring their products to market in new and exciting ways. In addition, our commitment to providing high-quality products and services has remained strong. This dedication has allowed us to maintain our position as a leading player in the industry."

"As we move forward, we are confident that SIMDI Group will continue to grow and evolve, adapting to the changing needs of our customers and the world around us. Our focus remains on providing the highest quality products and services with the best customer service. In addition, we want to create a positive impact in the communities."

"We would like to take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our customers and partners, who have been instrumental in our success. Also, without our employees’ support, hard work, and commitment, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Our employees are the most important aspect of our company. They have made all the difference, and we have only achieved success during the past two decades because of them. Thank you to all the past and present employees of SIMDI Group."

"As we move into the new year, we are excited to announce that we have many new ventures to introduce with many events planned. For example, we recently launched world-renowned Illy Crema, Godox lights, and Ikafyh coffee drinks by boncafe. The year 2023 looks bright, and we can’t wait to share our products and services with our valuable customers in the year ahead."

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BML Lowers Interest Rate for Student Loans to 5 Percent

Bank of Maldives (BML) has reduced its student loan interest from 9 to 5 percent.

At a special event held at CROSSROADS to celebrate its 40th Anniversary, BML Chairperson, Yooshau Saeed highlighted the bank’s pivotal role in the Maldives and its impact on individuals, businesses, and communities alike.

He spoke on the importance of bringing positive changes to the bank’s products and services. At the event, he announced the reduction in the interest rate of the bank’s student loan. "BML Kiyavaa Loan is an opportunity for students to further their studies and I am pleased to share that we will be reducing its interest rate from 9%

to 5% with effect from 1st February. This positive change will be extended to all Kiyavaa Loans, including all existing loans."

Speaking at the event, the Chairperson also reflected on the Bank’s operations when it began in 1982 with just 10 employees dedicated to raising public awareness of general banking, and travelling to the atolls to ensure accessible services. While the bank has developed to be the biggest bank in the country with the widest banking footprint, the largest investment in the industry and the most significant financial sector employer, it began its journey by financing projects to sustain the economic landscape of the country.

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Its vibrant journey has seen significant milestones achieved but has not been without challenges. During turbulent times such as the mid-2000 financial crisis and the recent pandemic, the bank stood as a pillar of support to the economy. Yooshau highlighted that the bank’s financial strength and robust presence played a pivotal role in keeping the economy afloat during the uncertainty of Covid-19. It was the bank’s top priority to ensure uninterrupted essential banking services, provide immediate support to help individuals and businesses weather the storm and together with the government, secure financing support from international funding agencies.

Over the past 40 years of the bank, Yooshau highlighted the many services BML first launched in the country, saying: "All modern financial services that Maldivians are accustomed to have been introduced by BML, from ATMs to card services, internet banking, POS machines and cashless payment methods. With our exceptional reach and presence in the lives of every individual, we are also under continuous scrutiny. I assure our customers of our continued focus on improving, adapting to, and meeting your needs, and in the year ahead, the bank will prioritize digital solutions to ensure the Bank remains your bank of choice."

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“BML Kiyavaa Loan is an opportunity for students to further their studies and I am pleased to share that we will be reducing its interest rate from 9% to 5% with effect from 1st February. This positive change will be extended to all Kiyavaa Loans, including all existing loans.”
Yooshau Saeed, BML Chairperson

USD 97 Million Loaned to SMEs by SDFC

SME Development Finance Corporation private limited (SDFC) has given out USD 97 million targeted to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

These loans were given to 1,203 businesses of which USD 21 million were issued to 301 women-led businesses. SDFC issues loans to businesses in eight sectors, which are agriculture, commercial, fisheries, tourism, travel and transport, manufacturing, industrial, and information technology.

Since the inception of SDFC, the corporation has given loans to businesses situated over 100 islands with the goal of developing island businesses.

SDFC was established in 2019 as a specialized financial institution providing financial products and ancillary services to SMEs and entrepreneurial start-ups with the primary purpose of easing access to finance for SMEs.

72 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Banking & Finance

SmartCom — Inception of a Smart City from Scratch

Despite being a small economy, the smart city initiative undertaken by Housing Development Corporation Ltd (HDC) has set an example of a smart city success story in the Maldives.

The city of Hulhumalé, an ambitious urban development project undertaken by HDC is currently in the early stages of transforming into the first smart city in the Maldives. Working towards the Corporation’s long-term vision of becoming a leader in redefining quality living along with the strategic pillar of "Technology and Innovation", HDC commenced planning its smart city initiative about six years ago. HDC has been working continuously in transforming Hulhumalé into one of the most convenient, safe and sustainable cities and overcoming the city challenges with modern digital solutions.

Although the planning phase and initial discussions of the smart city project took a couple of years, the physical implementation

began about one and a half years ago. And the achievements so far have been impressive.

Laying the foundation of a resilient digital backbone by deploying a city-wide Open Access Network (GPON) was one of the huge initial steps undertaken by HDC in achieving this smart city vision.

Despite many challenges, creating a dedicated brand named SmartCom to carry out the works of the smart city initiative, and impressive milestones were achieved within the first year of service by HDC’s OAN. This gigabyte full fibre OAN by HDC enabled multiple TV and internet service providers to provide fast, seamless and cost-effective services to the communities from one common network.

Moving to the achievements, in less than six months of implementation, four major service providers- Dhiraagu, Ooredoo, Medianet and

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ROL became HDC’s OAN partners, providing their services through this network in Phase II of Hulhumalé. And, most notably, with the service commencement a year ago to this date, over 12,000 service subscriptions have been provisioned through SmartCom’s OAN. Further, to ensure the utmost convenience and connectivity to the citizens of Hulhumalé, the expansion of the OAN is well aligned with the ongoing developments. Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) connections via this network were already completed in Hiyaa flats, STELCO and MACL apartments prior to residents being moved in, and expansion works are ongoing in Hulhumalé Phase II.

The visionary leader behind this inspiring progress of the smart city initiative is the current Chief Commercial Officer of HDC, Ahmed Nafiz. With over 20 years of international and local experience in the telecommunication sector, he navigated the project in the face of many challenges. He has served in managerial

positions for local telecom providers such as Dhiraagu and Ooredoo as well as international firms such as 4RF Communication Ltd in New Zealand.

Despite the limited resources at the beginning, he collaborated with the stakeholders, inspired them by educating them on the possibilities of an open access network and other digital infrastructure, and encouraged them to become smart city partners. His knowledge, expertise, and techno-commercial experience played a major role in successful negotiations and stakeholder buy-in of the HDC’s recently established digital infrastructure, especially the Open Access Network.

Along with this, he motivated and guided the smart city initiative implementation team ensuring that everything is done correctly within a reasonable timeframe, and used an inclusive approach to involve all stakeholders and the whole community.

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SmartCom takes pride in the highly qualified and experienced technical and business team, comprising 100% Maldivian. Sourcing the best talent in the field, the team was formed and expanded within a very short period of time.  Notably, the technical team at the SmartCom Network Operations Center (NOC) did commendable work last year in completing FTTH connections at all units of Hiyaa flats within just a period of three weeks. And within the first year, the Network Operations Center has developed tremendously, currently managing and ensuring the smooth running of the entire network 24/7.

HDC has a holistic approach in the corporation’s smart city initiative and has a broader scope to address all the key areas of a smart city ecosystem, including mobility, building, health and education, utilities and city amenities, safety and security, retail, logistics, manufacturing, construction and environmental sustainability.

During the first quarter 2022, HDC implemented two smart city products as a pilot- a smart pole and a smart bench which proved to be very successful. The benefit of the smart pole became quickly evident, with over 95% reduction in energy consumption. The bench and pole are

a great city amenity that is environmentally sustainable as well. There are several smart city solutions and products in the pipeline that will take us to a more digitalized future.

"It is a great honour to lead and to be part of this aspiring SmartCom team, and together, I believe that we can bring in the best smart city solutions along with our expanding modern digital infrastructure, and continue as pioneers in establishing smart cities in the Maldives," stated Ahmed Nafiz.

It is a known fact that smart cities are not built on their own, it requires strategic planning, effective designing, careful implementation and regular management. Bringing together the right policies, strategic investments with the establishment of city-wide smart infrastructure, building rewarding collaborations and partnerships, and the inclusivity of the whole community are some key ingredients HDC uses in reaching ideal future city goals. In order to foster collaboration and innovation, SmartCom created a platform, where businesses and individuals can join as smart city partners in introducing various smart city solutions.

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About the SmartCom team

The SmartCom team currently has over 30 staff, focusing on two major areas, commercial and technical.

The commercial team is led by Deputy Director, Hawwa Yumna. She joined the SmartCom team during the initial stage of formation. With over thirteen years of experience in business and marketing-related fields, she brought immense knowledge and commercial experience required by SmartCom for its growth. The commercial team members have a combination of five to twelve years of experience in fields ranging from business management, marketing, finance, accounting, CIMA, e-commerce, project management, etc.

The technical team is led by technical field experts, Azeem Shiham, Ibrahim Nashaath, and Hassan Naeem. Azeem has over fifteen years

of experience in telecommunication and ICT Networks, system administration, enterprise business solutions, cloud and hosted solutions, and other IT infrastructure and turnkey solutions, while Nashaath has over fourteen years of experience in network administration, LAN/WAN management, cloud solutions, deploying network firewalls, managing core network infrastructure, Data Center Networks, among others. Together, Hassan Naeem has over twenty-two years of experience in telecommunication network engineering, and his expertise includes microwave and fibre optic transmission systems design and deployment.  In addition, the technical team also has highly qualified and young professionals working in the field.

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Empowering Women in IT — STO’s Efforts in Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

State Trading Organization (STO) places a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusivity within its workforce, particularly within its IT teams. Currently, 16% of the IT team is comprised of women, and the company is dedicated to providing equal opportunities for all employees, recognizing that a diverse mix of individuals can add significant value to the team.

To support the growth and development of its IT team members, STO offers a variety of career development opportunities, including training in technical skills, as well as professional and longterm education. The company is known for being highly flexible when it comes to working hours, particularly for mothers who may have additional responsibilities outside of the workplace. The company also encourages its employees to work remotely, recognizing that a change in the working environment can lead to increased productivity.

STO’s IT team is home to a number of noteworthy members who have made significant contributions to the company’s success. For example, Nazma is

a long-serving developer on the team and a strong advocate for women working in technology. She is also a member of the non-profit organization Women in Tech. Another notable member of the team is Shaheedha, who joined the IT team as an intern for developer training. Through her work ethic and commitment, she was the bestperforming intern and was subsequently hired on a full-time basis.

Zal is another important member of the team who joined STO as an intern to work in the call centre. Within a short period of time, Zal was able to gain a thorough understanding of the entire IT operation and was subsequently hired on a full-time basis. She is currently working on implementing Dhoadhi flow, a work process digitization tool. Zain is another member of the team who currently manages the IT call centre, providing first-level support for tickets raised.

Through its various initiatives, career development opportunities and flexible working arrangements, STO actively promotes the growth and development

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Technology & Innovation

of its team members. The company is committed to providing a positive and supportive environment for all employees to thrive.

The State Trading Organization (STO) is a public company with a diverse range of businesses including petroleum, cooking gas, construction

materials, medical supplies, and pharmaceuticals, home appliances, electronics, supermarket products, insurance and shipping. Since its establishment, STO has become a national leader in business with operations and developments throughout Maldives and also in Singapore.

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Personal Computers - For All Your IT Needs

Personal Computers is the largest retailer and wholesaler of information technology hardware, software & enterprise solutions in Maldives today.

Beginning with a single retail outlet selling just desktops and laptops in 2008, Personal Computers has progressed to provide solutions to corporate and government organizations, while steadily growing brands and products to entertain a diverse clientele.

In the last 14+ years, they have introduced innovative technologies and well-known international brands to the market. Personal Computer’s nationwide reseller network provides warranties and other services to customers throughout the Maldives.

Most recently, Personal Computers launched a T1 distributorship for the Swedish brand that changed the way we interact with the digital world for 40 years: Logitech. With this partnership, Personal Computers anticipates that new brands will follow suit and accept the Maldives as a viable market to include in their regional distribution network.

With the vision of improving enterprise environments through modern technological advancements, Personal Computers has made it its mission to provide you with the solutions you require on time and at the best possible price, as well as delivery and after-sales service. Today, the company is stronger than ever, with resellers spread across various atolls, ensuring better nationwide service.

Personal Computers is the Maldives’ sole distributor for Logitech and Vention. They are also authorized partners of HP, Kingston, Grandstream, APC, Vertiv, and 3CX. They are also the only ICT vendor in the market space that provides OEM warranty directly from the principle to info-communication technology devices including the cables and peripherals. With knowledge of the modern business scope, Personal Computers is on its way to becoming one of the Maldives’ most accessible brands, renowned for its on-time service and product delivery.

For more information, please visit https:// or shop online by visiting

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The Customer-Oriented Solutions

Personal Computers is a leading provider of personal computing solutions in the Maldives. Their mission is to provide high-quality products and exceptional customer service, which has made them a trusted name among customers in the Maldives and beyond.

One of the key defining factors of Personal Computers is their commitment to customer satisfaction. They have a dedicated corporate department that is solely focused on ensuring that corporate customers receive the best possible experience when they purchase products from the company. This department is staffed by experienced professionals who are passionate about helping customers and providing expert advice on the products that they sell.

Within the corporate department, Personal Computers operates an Enterprise Business Solution Unit (EBS) which offers a range of enterprise solutions that are designed to meet the unique needs of businesses and organizations. These solutions include customized hardware and software configurations, Smart data centre solutions, Redundancy centres, Infrastructure backbone for IT communications as well as expert technical support and training. Personal

Computers is committed to helping its clients find the best solutions for their specific needs, and their dedicated team of professionals is always available to provide support and guidance.

Another defining feature of Personal Computers is their extensive network of resellers across the Maldives. The company has a strong reputation in the industry, and many businesses and individuals are eager to become resellers of their products. Personal Computers is committed to supporting its resellers, and they offer a comprehensive program of training and support to help its resellers succeed.

In conclusion, Personal Computers is a company that is truly dedicated to its customers. Their focus on customer satisfaction and their commitment to providing exceptional service has made them a trusted name in the Maldives and beyond. If you’re in need of personal computing solutions, be sure to consider Personal Computers. The opportunity to become a reseller is still open for some atolls, and it’s a chance to join a company that is truly customeroriented and dedicated to helping its clients succeed.

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Main Challenges

Facing Fisheries Sector to be Resolved Mid-2023: President

82 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Fisheries & Agriculture

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih stated on Fishermen’s Day 2022 that most of the fisheries sector’s challenges will be resolved by the middle of 2023. He made the remarks while speaking with the fishermen on Faresmaathodaa Island in the Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll. The President was on Faresmaathodaa Island to join celebrations to mark Fishermen’s Day.

At the meeting, the fishermen shared a host of concerns with the President, including challenges to sales, delayed payments, and difficulties acquiring ice and fuel. Other topics include challenges to the use of satellite phones and banking limitations.

Speaking at the meeting, the President highlighted that, despite the development and progress of fishing vessels, past governments

had failed to cater to their needs. He then noted that only minimal efforts have been made over the past 10-12 years to further develop the sector.

Speaking about his administration’s efforts to develop the industry, the President assured that the results of these efforts will be seen soon and that the main issues facing the sector will be resolved by mid-2023. He also highlighted the ongoing projects to upgrade and increase the capacity of fish processing plants.

The President also expressed his gratitude to the fishermen for their support of the celebrations in Faresmaathodaa to mark Fishermen’s Day. The Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture, in partnership with the island council of Faresmaathodaa Island, carried out numerous activities to mark the occasion.

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The Hawks Opens New Fuel Station in Hulhumale’ Phase II

Leading fuel supplier, The Hawks has opened a brand-new fuel station in Hulhumale’ Phase II.

Equipped with both manned and self-service fuel facilities, a state-of-the-art motorbike and car wash, as well as a convenience store, this fuel shed marks a new era for the Hawks’ fuel supply.

Prices of fuel:

• Petrol – MVR 15.97 per litre, premium petrol at MVR 19.90.

• Diesel – MVR 16.32 per litre

Prices of car and motorcycle washing:

• Car – MVR 199

• Motorcycle – MVR 80

Along with this, the Hawks introduced the first prepaid touch-and-go card for easy, seamless services.

84 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Trade, Fuel & Shipping

FSM to Sell Fuel to Fishermen at MIFCO Sites

Fuel Supplies Maldives (FSM) and Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO) have signed an agreement to sell fuel to fishermen at MIFCO’s sites.

The contract was signed on behalf of MIFCO by CEO Ismail Fauzy, and on behalf of FSM by Managing Director Mohamed Gasam. FSM began fuel sales at Kooddoo and Addu Fisheries Complexes, while the service is scheduled to start at Felivaru Fisheries Complex on February 3, 2023.

According to MIFCO, the aim of this is to guarantee that fishermen will always be able to obtain fuel from its locations without any problems. In order to overcome the challenges MIFCO vessels face in selling fuel to the fisherman owing to a lack of storage, FSM is currently working to set

up an easy way to obtain oil instead of selling it through ships. Efforts are underway to make arrangements before the end of the first quarter of the year.

In accordance with the agreement, all fishing vessels will enter into a credit agreement with FSM and receive fuel on credit in line with the established rules. During the credit period, fuel payments will be made directly to FSM rather than being subtracted from the fish purchase bill. As a result, fuel will continue to be available to fishermen at a discounted rate.

In November of last year, FSM began selling fuel to fishermen from the Hulhumale’ Fishermen Jetty at the same price that MIFCO does. Only registered fishing vessels would be eligible for the reduced rate, according to FSM.

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WAMCO Bill to be Merged with STELCO Electricity Bill

Due to the enormous number of outstanding payments to WAMCO, the Environment Ministry reports that efforts are being made to add the payment for residential garbage collection service to the monthly electricity bill.

Waste collection is classified as a utility service under the new law, according to Deputy Environment Minister Mohamed Ansar. As a result, he stated, the waste collection will be governed by the Utility Regulatory Authority (URA).

"We believe that a water or energy meter has the largest household reach. Electricity meters are seen everywhere. Therefore, if WAMCO’s bill

is connected to STELCO’s bill, WAMCO will have access to the reach," he explained.

Ansar claimed that WAMCO had approached URA with this proposal and gained approval from the body.

"There are about 25,000 registered households. However, barely 70–80% of those pay the bills. And a large number of households are unregistered. The times for rubbish pickup are widely known, and unregistered homes also put out their garbage too," he continued.

WAMCO has frequently expressed worry about outstanding payments.

86 Corporate Maldives | February 23 Utilities

STELCO Marks 73 Years of Electricity Provision in Maldives

State Electric Company (STELCO) held a function on 20th December 2022 to mark the 73rd anniversary of initiating electricity as a utility service in the Maldives.

Electricity services were first established on December 20, 1949. The state-run service evolved, culminating in the formation of STELCO in 1997.

Speaking at the function, Vice President of the Maldives Faisal Naseem praised STELCO for investing in renewable energy sources and adapting to changes in global fuel prices. Speaking about the company’s numerous renewable energy projects, the Vice President emphasised the importance of expanding these efforts.

He also spoke about the history of electricity services in the country and praised STELCO for carrying out numerous projects through its CSR programme that have positively contributed to society.

Speaking on the efforts by the administration for the sector’s development, the Vice President said that the quality of the electricity service provided had been one of the major concerns of the people when the administration took office in 2018. He said that the administration addressed the concerns through FENAKA Corporation Limited and STELCO combined efforts. The administration has built over 100 powerhouses and dispatched over 300 generator sets to islands.

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MOPA and Partners Expand PET Collection to Addu City

The Maldives Ocean Plastics Alliance (MOPA) and its partners have expanded the NGO’s flagship PET collection project to Addu City, the southernmost and the second most populous atoll in the Maldives.

Launched on December 10, 2020, the Plastic Reverse Logistics Project involves a strong partnership with Male’ Aerated Water Company Limited (bottlers of Coca-Cola beverages), Happy Market Private Limited (bottlers of ‘Life’ mineralised water) and Island Beverages Maldives (bottlers of ‘Taza’ mineralised water) who are voluntarily implementing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in the Maldives to give a new life to the 100% recyclable and versatile PET.

The project began with a daily collection of used PET bottles – all 100% recyclable and has inherent value to the Maldives’ economy – from 263 retail outlets, including eateries, restaurants and cafés in the Greater Male’ area. Since its inception about two years, the PET Reverse Logistics Project has so far resulted in the collection of over 65,000 Kg of PET.

In August 2022, MOPA and Addu City Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

to bring the PET Reverse Logistics Project to Addu City, paving the way to work towards the mutual goal of combating ocean plastics. Over 50% of the eateries in Addu have been enrolled in the project.

"I would like to thank the members of Addu City Council and our partners for their vision and commitment to supporting us in our efforts to reduce ocean plastics in the Maldives. Collaborative efforts such as these are vital to create a circular economy around PET and achieve a more sustainable future," says Mr Thoriq Ibrahim, MOPA Founder and President.

The expansion of the PET Reverse Logistics Project to Addu City is primarily supported by Male’ Aerated Water Company which serves as the collection partner. In addition to PET collection, the project also advocates behavioural changes in PET consumption, disposal, collection, and recycling which will be shared in communitybased programmes to raise awareness of the far-reaching benefits of waste segregation and management.

"We are delighted to expand our partnership with MOPA and continue to support their resultoriented approach to tackling plastic pollution.

88 Corporate Maldives | February 23
Environment & Sustainability

We will continue to explore all avenues to create a circular economy around PET packaging to effectively address plastic pollution," says Mr Sanjay Maniku, Managing Director of Malé Aerated Water Company.

The collected PET bottles – the most widely recycled plastic in the world – are transported to the capital Male’ and handed over to Parley Maldives to be recycled and upcycled into everyday items like branded footwear, swimwear and garments. This national multi-stakeholder partnership project brings together companies with a common vision to create a circular economy for plastic and a better-shared future that makes a difference in people’s lives, communities and our planet.

The Plastic Reverse Logistics Project is one of three key collection initiatives led by MOPA and supported by partners including Male’ Aerated Water Company, Island Beverages Maldives Pvt. Ltd. and International Beverages Company Pvt. Ltd. As a second initiative, the Island PET Collection Project has expanded the collection

to outer atolls, with active operations now in three islands. The latest to launch is the Resort PET Collection Project, which further expanded the collection initiatives to include the resort islands across the archipelago.

"Island Beverages Maldives has a long-standing commitment to doing business right away. We are glad to be working with partners like MOPA to build a better and more sustainable future together. By striving to conduct business ethically, we are dedicated to improving people’s lives, communities, and our environment," says Mr Ibrahim Anwar, Managing Director of Island Beverages Maldives.

"At International Beverages Company Pvt. Ltd., we care about the environment. We acknowledge the responsibility we have as a producer of PET products to lessen and prevent our products from ending up in the seas. We are dedicated to continuing working with partners like MOPA and being part of the solution," adds Dr Ali Ihusaan, CEO of International Beverages Company’s parent company Happy Market.

Corporate Maldives | February 23 89 Environment & Sustainability

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