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VOL 07 | FEBRUARY 2017 |




Experience the ultimate speed nationwide



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Air China Takes Off To The Maldives


he Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives Wang Fukang recently announced that the Chinese national airline, Air China, is preparing for direct flights between Maldives and Beijing. The Ambassador added that the Chinese Embassy in Maldives is supporting this endeavor and that he hopes to see operations commence soon. He also expressed his confidence that Chinese tourists visiting Maldives will increase exponentially with the new flights. Two airlines currently operate direct flights between Maldives and Chinese capital Beijing, Mega Maldives (local)

and Capital Airlines (Chinese). Several other airlines operate charter flights between the two countries. Air China has huge network of destinations that it currently operates to, ranging throughout Asia to the Middle East as well as Western Europe, and North America from its main hub at Beijing Capital International Airport. The airline also has a huge fleet of planes operating to its 201 destinations throughout the world. Its direct flights to the Maldives will see an upsurge in the number of travelers from the Chinese mainland to the Maldives which is currently the biggest source of visitors to the small island nation.

Oman Air removes weight-based excess luggage charges


man Air will introduce a new policy on baggage, moving away from the traditional weight based allowance and excess baggage charge to a more simple policy based on number of bags being checked-in, that will save money for traveling guests. The new policy will come into effect on January 9th. Under the new policy, Oman Air guests will continue to receive a free baggage allowance to all destinations as follows:

• Economy class guests: one piece of baggage of up to 30kg. • Business and first class: one piece of baggage of up to 30kg, plus 1 additional piece of baggage of up to 20kg. Oman Air’s Silver and Gold Sinbad members will get even more free allowance giving a total free baggage allowance as follows: • Economy class guests: one piece of baggage of up to 30kg, plus one additional piece of baggage of up to 20kg. • Business and first class guests: one piece of baggage of up to 30kg, and one additional piece of baggage of up to 30kg. In addition to the free allowances, a new low cost, flat-rate fee will be introduced for guests wishing to carry more baggage on board. The old, traditional excess baggage charge of up to OMR11.6 per kg will be abolished and guests can now purchase

extra baggage starting at only OMR16 for a 20kg bag. “This new extra baggage policy is designed to take the worry of packing too much away from our guests by providing a simple, convenient and very low price solution to allow Oman Air’s guests to carry the baggage they need,” the airline said in a statement. Initially, guests will be able to purchase up to one extra piece of luggage on routes within the GCC, Middle East, Africa and Indian sub-continent. However, guests on our long-haul services to Europe and the Far East will be able to purchase up to four extra pieces of baggage, all at the same lowprice flat rate. To complement the new policy, Oman Air will also be introducing pricing for specialist cargo which includes items such as pets and sporting equipment.

Sri Lankan Airlines Starts Operating flights from Oman to Gan, Maldives.


riLankan Airlines has launched scheduled flight operations between Gan, Addu City and Oman. It is reported that scheduled flight operations between Gan and Oman was launched on 26th December 2016.

SriLankan Airlines started its operations with four weekly flights and is the only international airline which operates to Gan International Airport. It started scheduled flight operations between Colombo, and Gan on 1st December 2016 as well. Manager of SriLankan Airlines in Oman reported to Muscat Daily that area where Gan is located was comparatively unexposed territory, providing a golden opportunity for tourists who wished to discover the beauty of the tropical country. SriLankan Airlines noted that resorts in the area ranged from luxury to low-budget hotels, and that the airline offered itinerary and other travel services needed by

tourists. SriLankan has flights to 102 destinations in 47 countries across the globe. The commencement of services to Gan is part of the recent strategic shift by Sri Lankan Airlines to heighten its focus on its network of operations in South Asia to countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and the Middle East as well as the Far East including Japan, China, Malaysia and Thailand. The initiation of international flights to and from Gan in the south of Maldives by Sri Lankan Airlines is expected to ease its customer’s travels to any destination in the world as well as to different parts of the Maldives. Sri Lankan Airlines is one of the biggest airlines operating in the Maldives and has a global network of 102 destinations in 47 countries and more than 1,000 destinations under the one world alliance. Gan is one of 11 new destinations in the Asia-Middle East region to which Sri Lanka’s national carrier has commenced services in the fourth quarter of 2016.


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Victoria and Melanie Spice It Up For A Reunion @Amilla Fushi Ex Spice Girls members Victoria Beckham and Melanie Chisholm started the new year in style with a mini-reunion in the Maldives. The former Spice Girls bid farewell to the year 2016 as Posh Spice and Sporty Spice joined on stage to entertain the guests at Amilla Fushi resort at the New Year’s Eve in Maldives. Throwing it back to 1996, the ladies stole the hearts of their audience, as they performed their pop hit “2 Become 1” at the fashion designer’s New Year’s Eve rendezvous on the mesmerizing island of Maldives. Victoria and her family were celebrating the New Year in the Maldives, with countless other celebrities such as Cara Delevigne and Gordon Ramsey. The tropical island nation has been buzzing with celebrities all year round and the New Year and Christmas Festive celebrations saw an extra influx of global superstars to the country.

MATATO To Exhibit At WTM Connect Asia 2017


ATATO has invited its members and industry partners, to take part in the WTM Connect Asia 2017, which is planned to be held from the 17th to 19th of May 2017 in Penang , Malaysia. MATATO expects the partnership with WTM to bring opportunities for its members and local travel companies, in addition to exhibiting at WTM connect as well as exclusive and tailor-made events to host leading travel business, at reduced rates for exhibition. The format of the WTM connect Asia focuses on pre-scheduled meeting sessions, additional appointments

opportunities, networking sessions, seminars and pre-build stand/pod set up with the aim to maximize the reach of the exhibitors with the elite, high quality buyers and creating visibility for these markets in order to create lasting personal and business relationships. The show format was also structured to assist clients in both saving on time and cost to maximize their ROI. Through partnership between MATATO and WTM, MATATO will be hosting a destination pod/pavilion at WTM connect Asia 2017 with a limited number of 6 co-exhibitors.

Velana International Airport, Rebranded With Huge Aspirations


he year 2017 for the Maldives began with a blast with the country rebranding its main international airport to Velana International Airport. Formerly known as Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, it was officially re-named as “Velana International Airport” and inaugurated by the President of Maldives Mr. Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom at 12 am on January 1. At a ceremony held at Hulhule’ island, the Aerodrome license of Velana International Airport was handed over to the Maldives Airports Company Limited by the Maldives Civil Aviation Authority. President Yameen decided to re-brand the airport during a cabinet meeting held last Monday after Cabinet consultations which focused on the transformation of the airport in line with the Administration’s economic vision. According to the President’s office, Ibrahim Nasir International Airport was renamed as part of the efforts being made by the administration to make the airport a gateway for future

development and growth. The government has huge aspirations for the airport with an ongoing project to develop the airport which will see the tourism sector benefit with a significant amount of growth while at the same time will transform the airport into a major hub for long distance travel with the completion of this project. For the vital role played by the late president and former Prime Minister of the Maldives Mr. Ibrahim Nasir in the development of the airport, it was renamed as Ibrahim Nair International Airport in 2011, but the re-branded name will still represent him, as “Velana” is still a reference to him. This is the third time Maldives has changed the name of its airport. The initial name “Hulhule Airport” was changed to “Male’ International Airport” in early 1980’s and then it was changed to “Ibrahim Nasir International Airport” during former president Mohamed Nasheed’s administration.

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Amari Havodda Welcomes Seaplane Transfer From Gan, Addu Atoll.


mari Havodda Maldives, a luxury private island resort located in one of the most pristine atolls in the southern part of the Maldives, became the first resort in the Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll to offer a direct seaplane connection. Up till now, guests to Amari Havodda Maldives and the other nearby resorts arrive and depart via a domestic flight connection between Velana International Airport and Kaadedhoo Domestic Airport, with the remaining part of the journey completed through a 10-minute speedboat transfer. “Amari Havodda Maldives offers a location, setting and experience which

is unparalleled, and we are extremely delighted to be the first resort to offer this trial seaplane service only weeks after the Sri Lankan Airlines announcement as the only international carrier to service Gan,” said Christoph Leonhard, General Manager, Amari Havodda Maldives. “Providing seaplane transfers to Gan as a complement to our domestic flight arrangement via Kaadhedhoo, and offering our guests additional travel options, will be one of our top priorities for next year as we work with the relevant partners on developing a regular seaplane service. No matter where our guests are coming from,

they can be assured of a more seamless connection in the near future, which means more time exploring the magic of our island and experiencing true paradise,” he added. “We had the most amazing opportunity to fly by seaplane from Amari Havodda Maldives to Gan and connect with the new service to Colombo operated by SriLankan Airlines. What an unforgettable experience with scenic views and the best trip yet! It was just perfect and made the travel connections a lot more seamless,” commented one of the passengers on the inaugural flight.

Maldivian Airways to fly from the beautiful Amari Havodda Maldives in the southern region of the Maldives, fuel the growth of connectivity and support the development of tourism in this region.” said Mr. A.U.M Fawzy, Chief Executive Officer, Trans Maldivian Airways. More details on the direct seaplane service between Amari Havodda Maldives and Gan Island will be shared in the near future as the resort work towards establishing the most optimum flight schedules in collaboration with the relevant partners and operators.

“It was a great moment for Trans

Bandos Maldives Reopens its Revamped Clubhouse


andos Maldives, one of most popular resorts in Maldives, has reopened their Clubhouse after the completion of some major renovations at the facility.

The Clubhouse, known as Paradise Club will present itself with various extravagant activities such as a gym, table tennis, steam/sauna and a game room as well as the “Kokko Club” a daycare center. As the families are seen as some of the most important patrons of the resort, the management recently renovated and upgraded the services available at the clubhouse by converting it into a stylish and modern two-storey building. The ground floor of the Clubhouse comprises of a sprawling playground for kids, a luxurious lounge and entertainment area equipped with TV and board games, a ping pong table (table tennis), and a foosball table. The upper floor of the clubhouse includes a fully-equipped gymnasium decked with state-of-the-art equipment and staffed by qualified and friendly instructors. Guests can also enjoy free aerobics sessions with professional instructors in the

spin class which is also located on the top floor. The Steam Bath and Sauna are located on the ground floor for those who want to relax after a workout at the gym upstairs or after a game of badminton or squash in the flood-lit courts, which are also located inside the Clubhouse. Beach volleyball or tennis is also available. The daycare center “Kokko Club” has also been improved to include a game room and nursery, and is staffed by professional childminders and babysitters to ensure you can enjoy your holiday comfortably knowing that your children are safe and in capable hands. Free babysitting at Kokko Club is available for children aged 3-12. An hourly babysitting fee will be charged for children younger than 3 years. Bandos Maldives has indeed revamped its Paradise Club in style, and the clubhouse is sure to be a major hit for the guests visiting the country to relax and let go of all the worries of the world.


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Array Of World Famous Fast Food Franchises Expected At Velana International Airport


the new terminal of VIA currently being developed. The company is currently developing new jetties along the area of the new terminal, with some already in use.

MACL has also decided to allow the franchise operators to open branches in

Speaking at a press conference, the company’s Managing Director Mr. Adil Moosa announced the plans to develop new F&B outlets at Velana International Airport’s (VIA) waterfront. He disclosed construction of the steel building’s framework, in a land plot of 14,000 square feet, which has been awarded to a firm from Singapore. The project will

he Maldives is planning to bring the top fast food franchises in the world to Velana International Airport, including McDonald’s, KFC, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts and Hard Rock Café. Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL) expects that at least four international franchises will be established at the airport, which is undergoing a huge development phase within this year.

be underway within this month. “Our timeline aims to complete this building by June or July. We’re working to finish the work within that period and establish international food franchises there,” said Adil. Mr. Adil also stated that the franchises will be managed by regional licensed operators of the respective fast food brands instead of MACL directly. Hence, MACL will open bids for fast food franchise operators this week.

“We were in talks with the franchises even before starting this venture directly. Most of them have already expressed interest in proceeding with operations here [VIA].” The company has yet to disclose the expenses for this project. Adil said that the details will be finalised after evaluating bid proposals. Velana International Airport already features a number of international fast food franchises including Burger King, The Coffee Club, Thai Express, The Pizza Company and Dairy Queen.

Hospitality Industry in the Maldives


by Janete smailes

he Maldives is known for the turquoise sea and crystal clear water that is home to a stunning eco system with beautiful coral and a myriad of colourful fish, plus the promise of sunshine, white sandy beaches and glorious sunsets to make it an idyllic tourist destination. This is what attracts the tourist population, but it is the people and culture that make it a truly memorable and unique experience. Although the Maldivian people are a warm, friendly and hospitable race the hospitality industry does not capitalise on this home grown talent, as it is not seen as a good career choice so the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism does not attract the amount of young aspiring professionals that the growing tourism industry requires.

So what is it about the hospitality industry that puts some people off, yet ignites a lasting passion in others? As someone who has been in the industry for over twenty years I can honestly say it is the most satisfying and rewarding industry to be a part of. Every day is different due to the people you interact with to make it a pleasurable way of life and never a ‘job’. The camaraderie, team work and endless opportunity the industry provides make it, in my opinion, a great career choice. Working in hospitality is a 365 days a year 24 hours a day industry and is not for the feint hearted. Few people truly understand the creativity, passion, dedication, hours of practice that go into producing a meal, cocktail, dessert, table display, event set up or room welcome. Behind each is an extremely organised

team of people whose one goal is to deliver a truly memorable experience for their guest. Even the best chef can only produce amazing culinary creations if they have someone who sources, stores and delivers the right quality ingredients, someone who keeps the kitchen and utensils clean and available for use, someone to ensure the water quality is good, the electricity and gas work, the a/c functions and the equipment works and that’s just the food part A high percentage of the Maldivian economy is derived from tourism and it is expanding, with new resorts and guest houses fuelling the need for hospitality professionals on a regular basis. With the right support and encouragement there is an exciting and fulfilling career path waiting to be explored.

Worldchefs Global Culinary Certification


ear Chef

As you are no doubt aware Worldchefs announced the launch of our newly revamped Global Culinary Certification Platform on November 8th, - we are now open for business. We have worked closely with our partner City & Guilds Group to create this unique and innovative digital platform which allows chefs from around the world to be fully recognised for their experience gained while working in the industry. Using the online application platform, users will be able to submit their evidence and verify their expertise at nine different levels which include professional cook, master chef, master pastry chef and culinary educator. The WORLDCHEFS Global Culinary Certification enables experienced chefs, cooks and culinary educators, as well as culinary students who are

embarking on their career, to have their skills and experience validated by industry professionals at WORLDCHEFS earning the stamp of quality that the City & Guilds brand assures. More importantly the Culinary certification will be recognised globally, literally serving up a world of opportunities for chefs who want to travel and work internationally.

have gained over the years. We also want to recognise the fantastic work done by culinary educators who nurture and inspire the future generation of the chefs. This programme has been created for you and I would earnestly encourage you to consider becoming a Worldchefs Certified Chef and in doing so you will be joining the standard bearers of our Global industry.

As Worldchefs President, I am incredibly proud of the work we have done with our accreditation partner City & Guilds. There is no other Chefs organisation that can offer this opportunity to their members and it is a unique development for our global hospitality Industry which has been seeking standards that reflect the highly mobile nature of the culinary workforce. There are millions of highly talented chefs and cooks just like you from around the world who cannot afford to take time out from their busy jobs, but still want the chance to demonstrate the wealth of experience they

To apply for your WORLDCHEFS global certification please go to: Certification or contact our Education Director John Clancy at for more information. With Culinary Regards, Thomas A. Gugler – Worldchefs President -Janet Smailes

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Huruelhi Island To Be Developed As A Resort


he Ministry of Tourism of the Maldives has put up the island of Huruelhi in Alif Dhaal atoll for sale for USD 3.6 million. Situated close to the island of Maamigili and its airport, Huruelhi is expected to be developed as a resort.

Police Service. In a publication issued by the ministry, it stated that the acquisition cost of the islands mentioned in the list are estimated and could only be confirmed by a survey of a quality which the ministry approves.

The reasons for selling Huruelhi, measuring just 6.3 hectares, were however not disclosed by the Tourism Ministry. The Tourism Ministry had previously put up 11 uninhabited islands as well as two lagoons of Kaafu Atoll for biddng on October 31st, including the island of Feydhoo Finolhu which was used by the Maldives

According to a recent amendment passed under the Tourism Act, the islands to be developed into a resort should be published in a list set by the President’s Office, while the islands will be awarded only after the full payment of acquisition cost.

PearlSands by Chavana




havana Spa has entered into an agreement to operate a spa facility at PearlSands at Huraa, located in North Male Atoll, Maldives. Operations were commenced on December 29, 2016, and are expected to be completed by mid-2017. PearlSands Spa by Chavana features a welcoming reception and a glimmering retail area, one double room, two single rooms, and separate shower facilities. The spa will feature Chavana Spa’s range of signature body treatments, facials and packages inspired by the freshness of a Balinese garden and the healing nature of our therapists’ touch. A range of Elemis Spa-therapies from the luxury British spa and skincare brand are anticipated to be introduced during 2017, inviting guests to indulge in results-driven treatments using superior ingredients combined with scientific solutions for skincare concerns.

PearlSands at Huraa is easily accessible via speedboat, as it is located only 25 minutes from the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. The 4-star property offers 32 rooms, located on the north end of the island of Huraa. Chavana Spa offers a streamlined treatment menu that welcomes all to experience the freshness and energy of Balinese spa spirit. The Chavana concept is aimed at four and five star hotels and resorts and is intended to allow guests to enjoy a quality spa experience at a reasonable price. PearlSands Spa by Chavana is the eighth spa operated by the company. Chavana Spa is a member of Mandara Spa and Steiner Leisure Limited, a worldwide provider and innovator in the fields of beauty, wellness and education.

aking your significant other to Hurawalhi Maldives is romantic in itself, with the resort’s amorous essence ascertaining your holiday is sprinkled with moments of happiness on every step of the way. The classic scenarios certainly create a truly romantic mood: hand-in-hand scuba diving on a coral reef; dinner at the spectacular 5.8 Undersea Restaurant; sipping on Devaux Champagne and kissing under the light of a thousand stars. But there is one other deed that is sure to win your loved one’s heart: popping The Question. December saw the very first proposal at Hurawalhi. Faye and Quinson, drawn to the resort for its minimalistic charm and its private sandbank – Dream Island, added the finishing touch to their holiday by getting engaged. The lovely couple will remember their Magical Monday for the beautiful mix of surprise and emotion, as well as for the dreamy backdrop for Faye’s ‘Yes!’. Best wishes to the soon-to-marry couple! At Hurawalhi, there are enough romantic occasions at your disposal to guarantee the answer you are looking for. So, choose the ring, pick the spot and have a unique love story to tell!


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ince joining Gili Lankanfushi, Fabrice Blazquez, our head sommelier, has introduced various different beverage tastings such as Whisky, Gin, Sake, Brandy on top of the Cheese & Wine and Chocolate & Wine that we offer. He has also made improvements to the existing wine selection and made amazing pairing recommendations for our new and improved wine dinners

Fabrice Blazquez is an experienced international Wine Specialist. He is currently a Product Manager for VOM FASS UK. French but with Italian and Spanish parents, his Love of Food and wine has no Limit. After 20 years in France working for Michelin Starred restaurants and Hotels as well as starting in Paris during the fashion show in the 90’s serving names like JPG and Karl Lagerfeld, he came to the UK 11 years ago and has worked for 5 stars restaurants and bars all over UK.He is described as the wine poet due to his fun, relaxed, charming and sometimes unconventional approach to wine education. In spite of the bad Weather, Fabrice says he loves England for its great women and its fine whiskies... Q: Could you give us a brief introduction as to how you got in to the industry? What were your aspirations back then? Born and raised in Bordeaux, wine has always been part of my life because my father owned a wine shop selling high end and special wines in Bordeaux. Being with my father all the time and visiting customers, I gained insightful knowledge about wines. In addition, due to the special relationship my father established with his customers overtime, I was able to try some very special wines such as Talbot 1961, Rothchild 1917 and 1945, and some brandy of 1875, and as a young boy, this has left fond memories etched deeply in my memory till this day. Therefore, with wine being a large part of my life as I was growing up, it was only natural that it draws me to the profession I work in today. Q: What do you think are the most important traits required to succeed in becoming a world renowned sommelier? One of the most important traits is humility, because there will always be something new and you will need to be humble to be able to keep learning. At times, there will be new knowledge that we can learn from a guest, based on their background and profession. Q: What is your favorite wine and what would you pair it with and why? I do have several preferences: Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand paired with a light tuna dish, its Zingy and fresh, fruity and melt in your mouth. Tannat from Uruguay paired with a beautiful and tender piece of reef fish with spices, clean your palate and quench your thirst for more. Sweet wine Vino Santo from Italy with a fruity and fresh fruits dessert as we have here in Maldives, all the fruits in a coating of honey and sun Light and pure Sake Shirataki Jozen Mizunogotoshi – Junmai-Ginjo from Japan with Rose petal and lychee flavor enhancing the pure rice of the sushi, paired with fresh sushi from By The Sea, our signature Japanese Fusion restaurant Q: How are the wines at the Gili lankanfushi selected and imported? What are the most impressive features of the wine collection at Gili Lankanfushi? How often do you manage to touch base and re-taste your wines? At Gili Lankanfushi, everything is about balance and variety. It is a little bit of everything with a touch of craziness such as having the best of Austria and Germany, as well as the classics from Burgundy and Bordeaux plus from Petrus to Pommard where we are able to offer something different every time whilst taking the guests on a journey to discovering the different wines. With regards to touching base and re-tasting wines, as I have mentioned, learning is an ongoing process and it never stops and this ensures that control and quality and consistency of tasting.   Q: What are the most interesting aspects of wines for you?

The most interesting aspect of wines is the characteristic/personality of each wine, because it is a living thing as some of the best wines comes with age. Each wine also reflects the soul of the country, spirit of the type of grape, and the heart of the wine maker. Wine is not just a drink, it is a discovery of flavours and scents that is being put together during the process to which the wine is made, a burst of joy the individual feels when he or she tastes the wine, and a smile of mother nature who made it possible, as it is the environment the grapes were grown in to obtain the best wines. Q: Can you please tell us some tips for selecting the perfect wines to go with the food? What should we look for when ordering a wine? Firstly, individuals need to discover what they like. Preferences varies between individuals, each one individual has a unique palate, and each individual respond differently to the selection of wines available. Some may prefer wines that are heavy and earthy, others may prefer something light and fruity. Each wine has flavours that provide a different level of pleasure and calmness, if individuals are open to tasting different varieties. There are no rules. It is always safe to order something from the middle range because cheaper wines may have a higher mark and expensive wines are not for everyone. In France, we say that in a bad year you buy from the top winery and in a good year you could buy from everyone. Q-You have a rich heritage of both Spanish, French and Italian, three countries famous for its outstanding wines, how did it shape your perspective of the wine industry? What are the best of the three countries? In my opinion, there are no best countries for wines. It is all based on personal preferences, and it is very much based on the occasion, plus what feels right at that very moment with the food in front of you. It could also change depending on the mood you are in at that very moment, because of the weather or depending on the attractiveness of the company while having the wine. Q: You come from a country famous for its wines and romance, what would you recommend for newlywed couples visiting the Gili Lankanfushi? I would recommend something light such as Champagne as it can be drunk at any time of the day. At Gili Lankanfushi, you could start your day with some sparkling wine at breakfast. There is no better way to enjoy the day with the company of your loved one and a glass of champagne to go with it. Q: Last but not least, what do you think of an international cocktail competition hosted in one of the islands of the Maldives would result in? I think it would be a brilliant platform to show the world that Maldives is not only a beautiful destination for relaxing filled with international visitors, but also an amazing place where some of the best ingredients of the world for both food and beverage is served under the starlit sky. A destination with a blend of some of the best beaches, surfing points and now at the centre of the wine and spirits world.

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BBC Worldwide launches its first bespoke channel for cruise ships



London City Airport breaks passenger records in 2016 London City Airport welcomed a record-breaking 4.5 million passengers in 2016 ahead of £344 million development. Expanding routes, investment in facilities and the continued convenience of the only airport actually in London has led to a record-breaking year for London City Airport. In 2016 the airport, which is located in London’s Royal Docks, welcomed 4,526,059 passengers – the largest number of passengers in its 30-year history, representing five per cent year-on-year growth compared to 2015. London City Airport chief executive Declan Collier said: “More people are travelling and making the right choice by opting for London City Airport. “Our offer of a speedy and efficient passenger experience, just six miles from the City of London, means less time in transit and more time for the purpose of your trip. “With 52 per cent of all passengers travelling for business, the five per cent year-onyear growth demonstrates that the appetite for business travel to and from London remains strong despite the unpredictable political climate, as we prepare to expand the airport in 2017 to meet increasing demand.” Last year was an eventful year for London City Airport with six new routes added, including Bergerac, Alicante, Berlin, Bremen, Cardiff, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Rennes. Most significantly, in summer 2016, the UK government approved planning permission for the £344 million City Airport Development Programme, construction for which begins this year.

BBC Worldwide has announced the launch of a global entertainment channel, BBC HD, the company’s first channel produced exclusively for cruise ships and the wider maritime market. It will go live through Global Eagle Entertainment’s MTN TV network, with P&O Cruises and Cunard being the first to offer this to their guests. Content on the new channel will cover all genres ranging from drama, comedy and factual entertainment to natural history and documentaries. Fans of much loved soaps such as Eastenders, Holby City and Casualty will be delighted to know that these will air on BBC HD close to the UK broadcast so they can stay up to date with their favourite shows as they enjoy their cruise holiday. BBC HD complements BBC World News, which launched on MTN TV in 2010 and is available on cruise ships throughout the world. Zina Neophytou, vice president, out of home, BBC Worldwide, said: “There has always been a strong demand for BBC content within the travel and hospitality sectors including cruise ships so launching a bespoke global entertainment channel on MTN TV alongside BBC World News is an obvious step. “BBC HD will be the one-stop shop for the best of British TV content.” As the launch customer BBC HD will be available on all P&O UK and Cunard ships with the channel also becoming available to the wider cruise industry in due course. P&O Cruises senior vice president, Paul Ludlow, said: “We are delighted that our guests will be able to travel the world but still keep up with their favourite television shows for that touch of home. “BBC HD will be a superb addition to our in cabin entertainment and I am sure will be welcomed by our guests on both P&O Cruises and Cunard.”

Heidi Klum’s Personal Favorite Beach Destinations One of the most recognizable names in the modeling industry, Heidi Klum recently revealed her top destinations for a beach holiday. When asked about her favorite beach getaway, the blonde beauty stated two in particular The Maldives and the Turks and Caicos islands. And it is not hard to figure out why. The Maldives is naturally blessed with crystalclear azure waters and flawless white beaches. It has become one of the world’s top diving destinations with an entire underwater world full of colorful marine life right next to the islands. Heidi Klum made it no secret that the two destinations were some of the most beautiful shorelines she has been to.. With 26 coral reefs, the Maldives offers a wide range of tourist attractions. It has won countless awards for its world class resorts and the amazing experience it provides and was also recently named as the best spa destination by the World Travel Awards.

The development will enable 6.5 million passengers to travel through the airport’s doors by 2025 and add 29,000 additional flights per year. The privately funded investment includes plans for seven new aircraft stands, a parallel taxiway to maximise runway capacity, and a terminal extension to accommodate increasing passenger numbers. In February the airport also came under the new ownership of a consortium of international infrastructure investors: Alberta Investment Management Corporation, OMERS, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and Wren House Infrastructure Management, the infrastructure investing arm of the Kuwait Investment Authority. The ten commercial airlines which operate from LCY serve nearly 50 domestic, European and US destinations, with the most popular routes by passenger numbers in 2016 including Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Zurich, Rotterdam and Dublin. The busiest ever month was also recorded in 2016, in July, during which 421,518 passengers departed or arrived at the airport.

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Sounds of Maldives 7th Edition at DRT Singapore



ounds of Maldives is a friendly, nation based traditional music label set in the heart of Maldivian Traditional Music inclusive of modern trend with the aim of promoting the beautiful island world of Maldives through the medium of Music around the globe. Over the last years, Modern day Maldivian Music has established a unique atmosphere that has drawn musicians and singers from throughout the country and the tourists to be attracted with the talent and the style performed by new generation individuals and groups presenting the traditional entertainment of music on various occasions. With this medium, Sounds of Maldives has been placed as a brand which promotes the destination using the culture and talents of Maldivian entertainers and musicians. Sounds of Maldives has been successfully held since 2011 in various destinations and locations including Kuda Bandos, Male' City, Colombo, Kuala Lumpur, Bangalore , Dubai and the 7th Edition scheduled to take place at DRT Expo from 24th - 26th February 2017at Suntec City , Singapore. The brand has presented some of the finest talents in its previous event including Unoosha, Fasy, E.Sa , The 5, Umar , Mira , DJ Vifak, Harubee, Furadhan, Ritte , DJ Ali , DJ Paide, Mummu, The Void Arcadium, Vuradhana Beru, 1 Knight Stand, The K-Ops , Anya , Faththu, Paighde and Nothnegal. The 2017 edition line up includes Habeys Boduberu, Gravity by Habeys, Muazzin, Ritte and DJ Ali who will be performing at the Sounds of Maldives at DRT Singapore Show.






While the 7th Edition is supported by MMPRC and Singapore Airlines , the event has been redesigned having an allocated Zone to promote the Maldivian Tourism. Participants in this zone includes some of the leading Guest House Brands , Resorts, Travel Agents and Dive / Surf Operators.

KAANI HOTELS donates 50 Dustbins to the most high demanded Guest House Island “Maafushi”

A perfect choice for travelers who are looking for a comfortable accommodation with an affordable price. The hotel offers plenty of recreational activities such as shing trips, snorkeling, watersports, scuba diving, dolphin cruises, including airport transfers.


he Managing Director of Kaani Hotels , Mr.Abdulla Nasheed handing over the 50 Dustbins to Island Council.

Candle Light Dinner

Sandbank Trips

Dolphin Cruise

Night Fishing


Kaani Hotels Brand who owns and operates Kaani Beach Hotel , Kaani Village and Spa with Kaani Cruises and own transport fleet based in Maafushi is among the most successful guest house brand in the Maldives. With the growing demand, Kaani Hotels is currently building a 8 storey new hotel namely Kaani Grand Sea View just in front of the beach with all modern facilities and expects to open during 2017. While another new property of 10 storey is in the plan. Maafushi in South Male’ Atoll consists of more than 1000 beds and the Island is just 35 mins by speedboat from the main International airport. Kaani group has always been very supportive to the island and local community while enhancing the lives of locals and maintaining cleanliness to protect the fragile environment is among the key and prime objectives of the brand.


BOOK NOW! Tel, Viber, Whatsapp: +960 9630595, WeChat: +960 7771187 Email:

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The story of one of the best chefs in the Maldives shows just how much courage and passion is needed to succeed in the culinary field. Chef Francis of Jumeirah Vittaveli guides The Island Chief through his incredible journey, from humble beginnings to being one of the best in the industry.


hef Francis first wanted to become a musician in his childhood, mostly because almost everyone in his family played an instrument or sang, he used to play the keyboards in his school years, but his mother used to cook, so Francis while helping her, began to realize that this was his true passion and that it was actually a very good area for him to develop in. He does not like to call being a Chef a job, or his profession, he thinks of it more as his passion into which he puts his heart and soul. it is very different for him, starting from breakfast to dinner, and as an Executive Sous Chef, his main job is to control the production levels, maintain the quality and standards and procuring the different ingredients and items required. His favorite dishes include the ‘Fried Foie Gras’ available from ‘Fenesse’ the French Restaurant of Jumeirah, but he has a dish he regards as his personal favorite, the ‘Fried Hilsa’ which is a type of fish cooked with mustard oil. The dish is quite memorable for Francis, as he learned the recipes and ingredients from his grandmother who used it in her cooking. Chef Francis explained that the recipe behind the Fried Hilsa dish is very simple. A combination of Mustard oil, Sea Salt, sugar and turmeric with the Hilsa Fish are the main ingredients in the dish. It contains strong flavors of mustard oil and the fish has a very unique flavor as well, making the personal favorite of Chef Francis. Chef Francis is also the man behind the introduction of the concept of Friturier to Jumeirah Vittaveli. He explained that is a French word and it signifies an important position in the kitchen hierarchy – the Fry Cook. His aim is to serve delicious bar fare made by the Friturier to all the guests in the hotel who lounge at the bar or the sundeck in the evening as a value added service. Two of the restaurants at Jumeirah Vittaveli under Chef Francis winning awards at the World Luxury Restaurant Awards was described as a very happy moment by Chef Francis who also stated that both restaurants, Indian Swarna and French Fenesse, fully deserved the awards. He feels that both restaurants are doing very well, especially Swarna that only opened in September 2015. The standards and quality levels of the restaurants are kept as high as possible. The French restaurant ‘Fenesse’ comes with two concepts, classic and traditional dishes as well as innovative and modern dishes. Meanwhile, the Indian restaurant of ‘Swarna’, also comes with two concepts. In ‘Swarna’ the first concept is a journey through India with ten different courses consisting of small dishes from different parts of India. The second concept is ‘Thali’ which is a sanskrit word for plate. In ‘Thali’, many different dishes originating from all around India are presented on one elaborate ‘Thali’ plate. Chef Francis gained a lot of experiences by working for hotels such as The Oberoi, ITC Hotels, Accor Hotels, and even Starwood Hotels. He also gained a lot from his travels overseas to countries such as UAE and Singapore. They had a significant impact on his career and skills and helped him become a better chef. As a chef, Francis firmly believes that traveling and experiencing different cuisines is very important and

explains that the more you travel the more knowledge, styles, and cuisines you learn. He also described that the main difficulties in his work right now are procuring ingredients. Other than that he doesn’t face much that he and his team cannot handle. He believes that his team is always eager to learn and is very helpful, strong and creative. Most of his team have been here in Jumeirah for a long time and know the resort in and out. They understand him very well and without his team Chef Francis clarified that it is impossible to do what they do so well. Chef Francis also stated that most Maldivians are very skilled and creative in the kitchen which helps them become successful in the industry. When asked how he differentiates himself from other chefs, Chef Francis explained that different chefs have different styles, and the biggest difference between him and other chefs is that he does not think of it as a job, and that he cooks from his heart showing true passion and love for what he does. He clarified that there are two styles in cooking, home style and hotel. He tries to focus more on the traditional and home cooked style of dishes and present something that gives his customers a sense of home keeping things light, tasty and simple. Speaking about Jumeirah Vittaveli, he stated that there is an excellent management in position, who are very flexible. Chef Francis has the freedom to create new dishes from any ingredient as it is more of a service based company. He thanked the management for providing everything he asks for to provide the high quality service and products. He also said that Jumeirah mostly focuses on quality and not cost, making it perfect for chefs. Chef Francis feels that the Maldives is amazing, having travelled a lot to places like Dubai and Singapore, where all the ingredients are easily available, but what is spectacular about the Maldives is that fish are caught straight from the sea and cooked fresh with all the ingredients for a superb meal also available at the same time. It cannot get any fresher than that and that’s what he likes about the Maldives the most, apart from the natural beauty of course. Chef Francis believes that the Maldives is well on its way to becoming famous as a culinary destination. He explained that many top level chefs are here working in the Maldives with almost all the best chefs in the world visiting the country. Furthermore, all the ingredients are available in the Maldives even if they do not grow here and things such as fish are the gold standard in freshness. He believes that the Maldives can still improve with ideas such as the introduction of new colleges and culinary schools in the Maldives and focusing on training young chefs properly. As of now, the Maldives has only a few colleges or schools for the industry such as the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Studies. Chef Francis says that the sky is the limit speaking about the future. The resort already has plans for a new Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant, and the new menus for each year keep evolving and getting better as a result of experimenting by Chef Francis and his team. He made it clear that throughout his career he has had ups and downs. As a chef’s job is very different from others, it was quite hard for him at first. Chef Francis worked under different people with different characteristics in his career. Chef Francis likes to think of himself as someone who never runs behind his career. He enjoys himself and what he does and always tries to maintain the same quality. Chef Francis believes that honesty is very important in his line of work. Honesty and hard work are the two main secrets for success in this field. It is better not to think about the time and challenges of the career, but pour your heart and soul into what you do, fill it with passion and it won’t be nearly as hard as you imagined then. That is what speaking in the language of food is.

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The True Indian Basmati

“More of Everything”


Lily International Pvt. Ltd | H. Coal Field, 2nd Floor | Kalhuhuraa Magu | K. Male’, 20085, Republic of Maldives T: +960 333 2882 | F: +960 333 2893 | E: | W:


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ohinoor Rice is the name of trust, quality and has a rich history starting from 1960. A decade of hard work and commitment led to Kohinoor Rice finally being established in 1970. The brands 53 years in the business are itself a testament to the business credence. The brand prides itself in providing only the finest quality rice and comfortable business experience. Carefully handpicked the rice originates directly from the farmer’s market and from here on the whole journey of rice from rice paddy to white rice is done under the complete supervision of professionals and using state of the art technology. More than fifty years of experience combined with advanced technology has enabled the brand to deliver the quality of rice that is so sought after by purchasers for it’s the minute manufacturing and processing details. A multitude of customers will bear witness to the brand’s rice proficiency. Kohinoor Rice has made a name for itself throughout the world by specializing in premium quality Basmati rice. Basmati rice is the oldest cultivated crop and the crown jewel of rice around the world. Its exotic aroma, delicious taste and excellent nutrition value makes it the ultimate choice of rice lovers across the world. 50 years ago when the brand entered into the very young rice industry of Pakistan there were not many rice mills in Pakistan. Over the years they have witnessed and experienced the rice industry grow. This motivated and renewed their passion to make the finest quality Basmati rice and to be the best of the best. Now, after five decades it can finally take pride in saying that its products have touched innumerable lives and hearts. Rice is part of the heritage of many countries and the brand tries to preserve that heritage everyday by making the most exotic Basmati rice. The rice undergo numerous quality checks prior to packing. Samples are randomly drawn during the process of manufacturing with the grain length, grain width, edges, color and moisture content all being verified. Furthermore, at Kohinoor Rice random samples are also drawn and put to the ultimate test: cooking, leaving no doubts about the quality of rice for the manufacturers. The packing is then done as per client requirements or according to the brand packaging. PADDING SELECTION If low quality grain is used then no experience or machinery can turn that into high quality output. Therefore, after thorough examination only the finest paddy is selected. Absolutely no compromise is made in paddy selection process.

PADDY CLEANING As paddy arrives at Kohinoor Rice, all impurities such as dirt, stones, etc are removed. If there are immature grains found then they are also discarded. DRYING Modern technology is used for efficient drying process of rice paddy. All moisture from the paddy is dried using state of the art dryers. MILLING In the milling section of the process, the husk of the dried paddy rice is then removed. The whole grain obtained in the process is of brown color and it is the first time when the paddy turns into rice. The rice obtained is of brown texture due to bran layers in it. PRE-CLEANING Once again a quality check is done on the rice to make sure that the rice that is going through this process is clean of any sort of impurity (stones, threads etc). POLISHING To give the rice fine and silky texture, the rice is passed through polisher. For this process two polishers are used according to the requirement. GRADING Length grading and Thickness grading is then performed to check the thickness and length of the grain. Uniformity in size is achieved by separating broken and shriveled grains. COLOUR SORTING To ensure the high quality of the product, the discolored and damage grains are separated using state of the art high tech color sorting units, concluding the painstaking process of producing the finest quality of rice. The word basmati, means the Queen of Smell. It is unlike any other ordinary rice and is a unique species of rice that originate from the Punjab region in Pakistan and India, mostly because high levels of nutritional found in the ground. The water from the snow-fed mountains of Himalayas also has a huge part to play in making the land cultivable for basmati rice. Basmati rice also requires specific weather conditions to flourish. The Basmati rice plant is much taller compared to other rice hence more prone to wind damage. All this demands constant care and vigilance by the farmer to bring the delicate little plant to life. This care is further

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2016 was a year of many firsts in the Maldives, with several new events that popped up and made headlines throughout the country. With more exciting events announced for 2017, here’s a list of the top events in Maldives this year that you definitely shouldn’t miss.


Maldives Living Expo 2017 Since : 2013 When: 16th , 17th , 18th February 2017 Where : Main Hall, National Art Gallery, Male’ Organized by: Highrise



Maldives Consumer Fair When: April 13th to 15th Where: Dharubaaruge Organized by: Blak

Maldives Finance Forum 2017 Since : 2012 When: May 2017 Where: TBA Organized by: MPAO

Vacations Expo 2017 Since : 2016 When : 6th, 7th 8th July 2017 Where : Main Hall, National Art Gallery, Male’ Organized by : Highrise

Maldives Food & Beverage Show 2017 Since : 2016 When : 18th , 19th, 20th May 2017 Where : Main Hall, National Art Gallery, Male’ Organized by : Highrise

Travel Trade Maldives (TTM) Since : 2017 When: July 12th and 13th 2017 Where: Dharubaaruge Organized by: Maldives Getaways

Gold 100 Gala Since : 2017 When: February 2017 Where: Kurumba Maldives Organized by: Corporate Maldives

Food and Hospitality Asia Maldives (FHAM) When: 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th April 2017 Where: Dharubaaruge Organized by: Dhivehi Expo



Hotel Asia Exhibition & International Culinary Challenge (Hotel Asia) Since : 2005 When: 17th to 20th September 2017 Where: Dharubaaruge Organized by: Maldives Exhibition and Conference Services

South Asian Travel Awards (SATA) When: September 2017 Where: TBA Organized by: Highrise

Maldives Marine Expo When: September 2017 Where: Dharubaaruge Organized by: Blak

Guesthouses Maldives Conference When: September 2017 Where: Dharubaaruge Organized by: Maldives Getaways


CONNECT 2017 When : October 2017 Where : Main Hall, National Art Gallery Organized by : Asaree Services


Maldives Travel Conference When: November 2017 Where: TBA Organized by: MATATO


Maldives Travel Awards Since : 2012 When: July, September, November (3 editions) 2017 Where: TBA Organized by: MATATO



Maldives Boating Awards Since : 2015 When: December 2017 Where: TBA Organized by: UNICA

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living expo ad




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Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation Scheduled Fair List of 2017

NOTE: Information from MMPRC

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TTM is an Essential Event for Maldives Tourism Industry – Mr. Hussain Afeef


aldivian business pioneer Mr. Hussain (Champa) Afeef has praised Travel Trade Maldives (TTM) and highlighted the importance of TTM as a necessity for progress in the Tourism and Hospitality industry of Maldives.

“I think it’s a very positive thing. Because we have to be known. We have to be heard. That’s the only way we can promote ourselves. I don’t think the people in the industry can do all these things together with all the work of successfully maintaining a hotel or resort. We could back up, help and participate but we need people to manage and organize events like TTM for the betterment of the industry.” Mr. Afeef went on to say that TTM, the first fair of its kind in the Maldives, will create waves throughout the world. “I think every step like this is a step forward for sure. It’s a new idea in Maldives, it’s going to create awareness, and the noise is going to go around the world.” Travel Trade Maldives (TTM), slated for 12th and 13th July 2017, is the platform that connects the travel trade community of the Maldives to the global network of travel agents easily and instantly. Staged annually in Maldives, TTM aims to facilitate the tourism industry of Maldives to reach the ultimate target of 2 million tourists with over $3.5 billion in receipts by the end of 2020. More than 300 hoteliers, suppliers, related industries and travel professionals from Maldives and abroad are expected to visit TTM to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends in Maldives.




esorts comprise of people with diverse cultures and backgrounds. Top managements are always on the lookout for creative ways to break the ice and build cohesive teams to perform at their best. For such reasons, quality resorts go the extra mile to conduct various team building activities. The most commonly anticipated such activities include inter-department football and volleyball tournaments where each team works their best to bring home the winning title. Winning takes collective hard work and effort, a true illustration of teamwork. The team players go through some tough times on and off the pitch, testing their mettle. Part of the effort includes acquiring team uniforms that is agreeable to all team members while meeting the budget. On top of that an associate travelling to the stores in Male’, browsing jerseys while passing on Viber photos of different styles and colours adds to the hassle. In addition to the cost of time, customization requirements such as jersey numbers and player names all add to the total cost. Sonee Sports is setting out to change all that. The industry top brands supplied by Sonee Sports is available for purchase at their own website. The customization of these jerseys is now offered for FREE! The teams simply need to go on and follow the simple steps to choose their desired uniform jerseys, get it printed for free and have it delivered at the team’s desired location. Since 1991 Sonee Sports has been the champion of uniform jerseys, specialising in sports performance with fashionable, high-quality and functional team sports apparel. Recognising the need for a better experience in the industry, Sonee Sports has a passion for football and other sports and works closely with global brand partners like Adidas, Nike, and FBT to deliver jerseys that outperform the rest.

Sonee Sports also offers a fast and reliable solution in making payments for these jerseys. Individual teams can make instant online payments on the website and for the resorts ordering jerseys in their name, credit facilities are available online. They clearly understand the need for urgency when it comes to ordering jerseys and they are on a mission to provide the solution for this as well. So why shop for uniform jerseys anywhere else when Sonee Sports provide free printing, delivery and now credit facility too? Sonee Sports has become the ultimate go-to source for uniform jerseys.



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Experience the ultimate speed nationwide

The Islandchief , Travel Tabloid 07| February 2017  

Montthly Travel and Hospitality news