Maldives Promotion House

Maldives’ first JW Marriott resort to open on Nov 1

Marriott International has announced the opening of JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa on the island of Vagaru in Shaviyani atoll, on November 1, 2019.

Headed up by General Manager Marc Gussing, the first JW Marriott branded hotel in Maldives will feature 60 spacious villas starting at an enormous 234sqm, all with private pools. Exceptional dining is a at the resort’s core; it will showcase one of the most impressive culinary offerings in the Maldives with five restaurants and chefs from some of the world’s top restaurants, including Nobu. 

Located a 55-minute seaplane flight to the north of Male, JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa will place a strong emphasis on privacy. Private decks and pools are designed so they can’t be seen from outside the villas and in-villa dining will be on offer for couples or families looking for meals in a private setting.

The resort will feature one of the most impressive culinary offerings in the Maldives with five restaurants, three fully-serviced bars with 98 different types of rum, an expansive wine cellar with over 300 labels and a chef’s garden – an exceptional offering for a private island with only 60 villas.

Guests will be able to feast on a wide range of cuisine that goes beyond classic Maldivian dishes. This includes vibrant Thai dishes in a treetop restaurant, Japanese Teppanyaki, poolside Woodfired pizzas, local Maldivian dishes and seafood in a fine-dining, overwater setting. Meals will be complemented with a choice of sake, Japanese whisky, rum cocktails, smoked cocktails, and both new and old-world wines. There will also be a 24-hour in-villa dining service and destination dining experiences.

The ultra-expansive villas are designed to look like inverted Dhoni boats, and there are four villa categories to choose from. The Duplex Beach Pool Villas will feature two bedrooms, an upstairs lounge and direct access to the beach making them ideal for families, whilst the Duplex Overwater Pool Villas will offer the ultimate indulgence with unsurpassed views of the Laccadive Sea and private plunge pool. One-bedroom Beach Pool Villas with direct beach access and Overwater Pool Villas with a choice of sunset or sunrise view will also be available.

Situated in the untouched northern atoll of Shaviyani, the island’s surrounding natural reef is just metres from the shore and teeming with sea life. An on-site marine biologist will ensure the pristine reef remains untouched and in perfect health whilst overseeing aquatic expeditions including diving and snorkelling.

An iconic Spa by JW, overwater gym and an open-air yoga pavilion will offer cutting-edge and indulgent spa treatments and a daily schedule of yoga and fitness activities.

The iconic FAMiLY by JW Kid’s Club called Little Griffin’s, with a 13m pirate’s ship, kid’s sleeping areas, a servery, games, and educational animated activities will keep little ones entertained for hours.

For adults looking for some peace and relaxation an adults-only, infinity swimming pool on the tip of the island is the stuff of Instagram dreams and a chic adults-only club house with cigar room, shisha room, a billiards table, games and more will be available to guests over the age of 18.

This opening marks the debut of Marriott International’s premier luxury brand in the Maldives, and the world’s largest hotel chain’s fifth property in the island nation. Marriott’s brands already present in the Maldives include St. Regis Hotels & Resorts (The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort), W Hotels (W Maldives), Sheraton Hotels & Resorts (Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa), and Westin Hotels & Resorts (The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort).

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Dusit Thani Maldives appoints Swiss hospitality veteran Thomas Weber as General Manager

Dusit Thani Maldives has appointed Thomas Weber as its new General Manager.

Thomas joins Dusit Thani Maldives from Planhotel Hospitality Group, where he had served as the General Manager for the Swiss hotel company’s two resorts in Maldives — Diamonds Athuruga and Thudufushi — since 2016, and later as the Regional General Manager for the Maldives.

The Swiss hospitality veteran, who grew up in a small ski resort in Switzerland, brings almost three decades of experience in the hospitality industry. He started his career as an apprentice chef after school, working in different kitchens. From there, he went to hotel management school, which marked the beginning of his formal career in hospitality.

Thomas left Switzerland in 1991 to work at Hilton Hong Kong as a Restaurant Manager. After that, he went onto work as the Senior Assistant F&B Manager at The Table Bay Hotel Cape Town in South Africa, followed by an F&B Manager posting at Hilton Nairobi. After about four years in Africa, he went to India to work as the Executive Assistant Manager at Leela Palace Kempinski in Goa. He spent a little over three years there before going back to South Africa in 2003 to take up his first General Manager position at Kurland Hotel and Polo Club.

Since then, Thomas had served as the General Manager at Movenpick Resort Al Nawras in Jeddah, Movenpick Hotel and Spa in Bangalore, Oberwaid Kurhotel and Privatklinik in Switzerland, Diamonds Thudufushi and Athuruga in the Maldives, and now at Dusit Thani Maldives.

Located on Mudhdhoo Island in Baa atoll — the Maldives’ first ever
UNESCO biosphere reserve — Dusit Thani Maldives blends gracious Thai
hospitality with the unparalleled luxury setting of the Maldives. This
luxury island resort comprises 94 villas encircled by white sandy
beaches, a stunning 360 degree house reef and a turquoise lagoon. With a
unique combination of beach and lagoon accommodation, Dusit Thani
Maldives provides an unmatched luxurious escape for all travellers.

The resort offers a 360 degree vibrant house reef compliment with a
turquoise lagoon, a 750-square metre infinity swimming pool with a lush
Banyan tree in the centre, five restaurants and bars with breathtaking
views and a Kids Club that is committed to making children’s dreams come

The award-winning Devarana Spa at Dusit Thani Maldives encompasses
six deluxe treatment pods, which sit elevated amongst the island’s palm
trees. For those who prefer to keep their feet firmly on the ground, the
spa has also developed two stunning ground level treatment rooms.
Manicure and pedicure-dedicated area, private outdoor pool, steam and
sauna are exclusively available for spa guests.

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Maldives hosts ‘Journey to the Sunny Side’ roadshows in Germany, Austria

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) has kicked off dedicated roadshows in Germany and Austria as part of its “Journey to the Sunny Side” roadshow series.

The roadshows are being held in three prominent cities in Germany, including Cologne, Frankfurt and Munich from September 16-18, and in the Austrian capital of Vienna on September 19.

The four-city roadshow aims to maximise the Maldives’ brand exposure in the German speaking market. This event serves as a platform for industry partners to showcase their products and network with top travel trade partners, in a bid to increase tourist arrivals from these target markets.

Seven companies from the Maldives’ tourism industry have participated in these roadshows to create potential opportunities and to further strengthen the relationship with German and Austrian tour operators.

In addition to the destination presentation and one-to-one networking sessions, a raffle draw winner is chosen from each city to spend a complimentary holiday in the Maldives, with sponsorship from LUX* North Male Atoll.

The roadshows in Germany and Austria are the sixth event in the “Journey to the Sunny Side” series, a marketing campaign launched by MMPRC in 2019.

“MMPRC has received excellent support from Maldives industry partners to the ‘Journey to the Sunny Side’ series roadshows in 2019,” a statement issued by MMPRC read.

Based on the arrival figures for first half of this year, Germany is ranked fifth amongst the highest performing source markets, accounting for 7.2 per cent of the total arrivals with 71,479 tourists. This is a 10.4 per cent increment over the first six months of 2018.

With a total of 13,415 tourist arrivals, the Austrian market also recorded a growth of 9.3 per cent in the January-June period compared to the same period last year.

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Jumeirah Vittaveli appoints Abhijith Ghosh as General Manager

Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts has appointed Abhijith Ghosh as the new General Manager at Jumeirah Vittaveli in Maldives.

Abhijith joins Jumeirah Vittaveli this month.

Originally from India, Abhijith brings a wealth of 19 years’ hospitality experience gained during his time working with Six Senses, Hilton and Soneva. Throughout his successful career, Abhijith has demonstrated efficient leadership and people management skills with strong experience in managing multi-cultural teams across Jordan, Thailand, India and Vietnam.

Abhijith’s appointment follows the appointment of Amit Majumder, previously General Manager at Jumeirah Vittaveli, as Regional Vice President, Boutique Resorts, for Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts.

In Amit’s new role, he will be based in the Dubai Design District at Jumeirah Group’s headquarters. His new mandate will include oversight of Jumeirah Vittaveli, and the development of expansion plans for high end luxury boutique resorts within the Jumeirah brand.

Located a short 20-minute ride on board a luxurious motorised
catamaran from the main Velana International Airport, Jumeirah Vittaveli
offers unmatched diversity, subtle luxury and personalised exploration,
whether you are seeking a romantic getaway or an exotic destination for
your family.

The 3,500 square metre Royal Residence can accommodate 14 people,
with prices from USD 35,000 per night. This lavish private retreat
comprises private beach, dedicated restaurant, spa, two swimming pools,
an overwater sundeck, jetty, chef, butler and golf buggy chauffeur.
Guests can enjoy a private yacht transfer to the residence and spacious
accommodation, which comprises the main Sanctuary, two Guest Villas and a
double-storey guest house. An abundance of lounge and seating spaces
provide the opportunity to spend quality time together. Each stay at the
Royal Residence comes with a host of benefits such as daily evening
canapes and champagne, personal fitness trainer as well as wellness
consultant and 24-hour resident butler service. Wellness treatments can
be enjoyed in the private Talise spa room inside the Sanctuary complex.

In addition to the Royal Residence,
Jumeirah Vittaveli comprises 89 villas and suites each with their own
swimming pool and direct access to the beach or lagoon. The private and
spacious villas are available with one or two bedrooms making them the
ideal accommodation for both families and couples.

Guests can enhance their romantic escape and stay at the picturesque Private Ocean Retreats,
an indulgent hideaway with a loft-style bedroom upstairs, overwater
hammocks, private infinity pool and full outdoor daybed. The villas are
freestanding in the lagoon ensuring maximum privacy while only a
two-minute ride on board the complimentary boat service from the main
island. The Private Ocean Retreats are designed to offer all the resort
services, from in-villa dining and yoga on a open air deck to an
indulgent couple’s massage.

For the evenings, guests have the choice of a culinary journey
through India in the resort’s signature restaurant Swarna, or an
overwater fine dining experience featuring French cuisine at Fenesse.

The Talise spa at Jumeirah Vittaveli has been named Best Luxury
Wellness Spa in Maldives by the World Travel Awards in 2015, 2016 and
2017. Treatments at the spa are inspired by concepts of light and space
connecting with the purity and vibration of ingredients. The team
produces their own island made 100 percent pure coconut oil, which is
used in treatments and available as a take-home souvenir. The garden and
overwater treatment rooms provide romantic spaces for couples who wish
to enjoy blissful relaxation, while the spa menu also includes dedicated
Mother-Daughter and Father-Son pampering sessions.

Jumeirah Vittaveli offers romantic escapes as well as a variety of land and water-based activities, including the destination’s first ice rink,
a PADI Dive base, water sports centre, six restaurants and bars, and
two lounges. An underground tasting room and a wine library will open

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American influencers visit Maldives to promote tourism

Maldives Marketing and Public Relation Corporation (MMPRC) has welcomed a group of influencers from the United States, as part of the official tourism promotion body’s series of familiarisation trips to promote the Maldives.

The influencers, who arrived in the Maldives on September 13, will spend their time in Diamonds Athuruga, LUX* South Ari Atoll and Reethi Faru Resort.

During their week-long trip, they are expected to experience the local culture and colourful underwater beauty, as well as learn about sustainable tourism practices and coral conservation in the resorts.

The influencers will be sharing their experiences via social media and their personal blogs. This coverage is expected to create more awareness about the Maldives in the US.

The US has secured a place amongst the top 10 contributors to Maldives tourism, with 42,901 Americans holidaying in the Maldives in 2018 — a 9.5 per cent increase over the 39,180 in 2017.

That growth is set to continue this year, as arrivals from the US saw a growth of 31.6 per cent in the January-July period to reach 31,681 from 24,078 a year ago.

MMPRC kicked off the series of familiarisation trips in April, starting with a team of Indian journalists and bloggers. The official tourism promotion entity has so far brought in teams from the UK, China and South Korea, as well as countries from Eastern Europe.

This latest visit is the 13th familiarisation trip under MMPRC’s initiative.

Photo: LUX* South Ari Atoll

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Hurawalhi Maldives’ 5.8 Undersea Restaurant introduces vegan menu

Hurawalhi Maldives’ 5.8 Undersea Restaurant has introduced a vegan menu, bringing the global trend of vegan fine dining to the jewel in the resort’s crown.

The inspiration behind this latest addition is a recent work trip by the resort’s Executive Chef Warren Moore. The young, ambitious and creative South African spent time in Switzerland, where he had the opportunity to work alongside two renowned chefs: Stefan Heilemann at Ecco Zürich and Patrick Mauler at Park Hotel Vitznau.

Stefan, who brings two Michelin stars to Ecco, creates magic on the plate by using Asian fusion coupled with full, robust flavours of classic, rich cuisine. Patrick, Chef de Cuisine at Focus right at the banks of Lake Lucern, equally awarded two Michelin stars, bases his dishes on local cuisine and works with a fermentation process, bringing out loads of flavour to his culinary creations.

“Both chefs are as equally as great as the next but what sets them apart are the process and execution skills. Patrick is a chef dedicated to presentation and operates every dish with precision and dominance. Stefan seems to have a radical but cool approach to execution with a full body of flavour to every bite that he serves,” Chef Warren says.

This experience reflects on the the 5.8 Undersea Restaurant’s vegan menu. Chef Warren’s approach to the strictly vegan menu is coupled with both Asian fusion influence as well as fermentation process.

“All dishes for the vegan menu, available for lunch and dinner including all private dining occasions at 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, consist of gaining as much flavour as possible naturally to really bring out the essence of the healthy and natural vegan cuisine,” Chef Warren explains.

One of the highlights of the new vegan menu is Smoked Miso Fermented Aubergine. The fermenting process lasts for five days and thereafter the produce is bathed in a sous vide bath for 90 minutes, capturing all of the smokiness through the aubergine to give off that barbecue grill taste. The dish is then dressed with potato and cauliflower mousse with hints of lemongrass, soiled in a turmeric, coriander and coconut broth with hints of mild Maldivian chili.

Another vegan highlight is the Sweet Pea Tartare – young sweet pea shelled and rested with fusion oil consisting of basil, rosemary and thyme with delicate hints of dried celery salt – quinoa with caramelised onion as the base with a trilogy of pea textures. The dish is sauced with delicate aromatic Asian flavours consisting of galangal, tomato, lime juice, passion, paprika and honey.

Officially inaugurated in January 2016, the five-star
Hurawalhi resort is accessible by a 40-minute scenic seaplane flight
from the main airport, and offers 90 villas, including 60 Ocean Villas
and 30 Beach Villas, for grown-ups who are seeking luxury and
innovation. The villas are stylishly and beautifully conceived featuring
soothing décor, sumptuous linens on king size beds, bleached wooden
floors, and private terraces with panoramic views.

There is an ocean of delights to take in at Hurawalhi: dining at 5.8
Undersea Restaurant, snuggling up with your darling under a blanket or
sparkling stars on the iconic Dream Island sandbank, falling in love
with the plethora of marine life on the island’s doorstep – in fact, one
visit to the resort is hardly enough to experience it all.

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Kihaa Maldives unveils new Beach Suite with Infinity Pool

Kihaa Maldives has unveiled its new Beach Suite with Infinity Pool.

Stretched out in 150 square metres of private space, the luxurious Beach Suite with Infinity Pool is ideal for guests seeking a quiet beach retreat with extra space, private pool and amazing views.

Guests staying in these new villas can relax in their private haven with a view of white sandy beach greeting the turquoise lagoon. They can opt to lounge in the pop-up living area or enjoy the in-villa pool located directly on the beach.

“Kihaa Maldives increased its product offering for the upcoming season, to enhance the guest experience and choice of accommodation, with the introduction of new room categories,” an announcement by the resort read.

This latest addition comes a few months after Kihaa Maldives unveiled its 10-bedroom The Kihaa Signature Residence, the largest resort villa in Maldives. The residence comes with its own infinity swimming pool, an outdoor jacuzzi, luxury yacht, private beach and a Kihaa Spa, as well as a well-equipped gym featuring sauna and steam room.

In addition to The Kihaa Signature Residence, there are 124 villas, which combine contemporary and classic features such as elegant furniture, romantic four poster beds and exotic rattan lounge seats.

Set within the sparkling waters of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa atoll, Kihaa Maldives is located on a picturesque 600m-long island festooned with jungle foliage, a white sandy beach which stretches the entire circumference of the island and a lively coral reef.

The resort features an exquisite new infinity pool and bar along with a delightful extension to the Malaafaiy Restaurant. The new cosy Wine Loft and Hanifaru Bay Tea House offers private sand castle dining where guests can expect the same quality of service throughout.

The overwater Kihaa Spa is a serene sanctuary surrounded by soothing views and sounds of the ocean, where guests can fully enjoy tranquility and relaxation. The spa features six spa treatment rooms: three treatment rooms for couples, one treatment room for a person, one room for foot massage, manicure and pedicure, one room for Thai massage. Shared sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi are available, as well as spa relaxation lounge and spa boutique shop. The Kihaa Spa has been twinned with a tranquil garden spa offering a wide range of comprehensive spa experiences.

Scuba diving is one of the most popular activities at Kihaa, which is accessible by a 20-minute domestic plane ride from the main Velana International Airport. Guests can explore the area’s top dive sites featuring mega fauna including whale sharks and manta rays, and also visit the famous Marine Protected Area of Hanifaru Bay for snorkelling.

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Crossroads Maldives to host GM Forum 2020

A Couple on the white sandy beach of Maldives by Asad's Photography

Crossroads Maldives will be the venue for the annual General Manager’s (GM) Forum, organiser Hotelier Maldives has announced.

Organised by the country’s only dedicated audited publication for hospitality professionals, developers and hotel operators, the next GM Forum has been scheduled for April 2, 2020. It will be the fifth in the series that started in 2016 at Hulhule Island Hotel (HIH). Since then, the forum has been hosted at Kurumba Maldives and Bandos Maldives.

The day-long forum and networking event for GMs, hoteliers and hotel suppliers highlights pertinent issues affecting the hospitality industry with a special focus on the Maldives region. The event also attracts speakers from international hospitality brands, internationally based service providers such as STR and dNATA and IdEAS, in addition to principals from hotel suppliers and service providers.

The keynotes and panel discussions are complemented by product demonstrations and product launches by suppliers. In addition, suppliers also get to display their brands on the sidelines of the Forum and networking event.

Previous speakers at the GM Forum have included MU Maniku, Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) and Universal Resorts’ Chairman, Hussain ‘Champa’ Afeef, Chairman of Crown & Champa Resorts, and Ahmed ‘Bandhu’ Saleem, Director at Cyprea Group. Leading C Suite corporate hoteliers representing the hotel chains currently operating properties in the Maldives, including Hilton and Marriot, have also delivered keynote speeches at the forum.

The main themes for GM Forum 2020 are sustainability and human capital. Keynotes and panels will be curated to reflect this and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Whilst the GM Forum is primarily by invitation only, a small number of seats are reserved for suppliers and other stakeholders wishing to attend. These seats are given on a first come first served basis.

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Sheraton Maldives revamps family offering as part of $20 mln upgrade

A Couple on the white sandy beach of Maldives by Asad's Photography

Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa has revamped its family offerings, as part of the resort’s recent multimillion-dollar renovation.

At the heart of the island resort’s wide-scale renovations has been newly designed family services that offer entertainment for young children through newly fitted top-of-the-range amenities.

The Sheraton Maldives boasts 10 different luxury room categories dotted around the island, comprising three types of cottages, all of which feature interconnecting rooms for parents and children. As part of the renovation, the resort hast just introduced a new category, ‘Cottage with Pool’, specifically designed with families in mind and including a private plunge pool for young children to safely splash around and with direct access to the white sandy beaches.

The upgraded Sheraton Adventure Club has been designed for children aged 4 to 12, and provides an abundance of activities all around the resort, ranging from water sports, cooking classes to interactive beach activities.

The resort has also curated a selection of tailored themed evenings for families to enjoy, including several seasonal experiences, such as Father Christmas gate crashing the full-resort festive sandbank picnic on a fly board.

“What sets Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa apart from other Maldivian resorts is, undeniably our family appeal. Since completing our renovation programme we have seen a significant increase in parents with young children or teens choosing our resort for their annual family holiday,” Emilio Fortini, General Manager at Sheraton Maldives, was quoted in a statement, as saying.

“Our offering is so varied from the new range of room categories, the easy access location, our tailored childcare services and our bespoke water sports and wellness experiences. As a result of this, families can spend quality time together without feeling on top of each other – this is also largely due to the strategic layout of the island. We are now starting to see an increase in multi-generational visits too, as our tropical paradise suits the whole team — from toddlers to grandparents.”

Following the USD 20 million renovation, which completed in December 2018, Sheraton Maldives now exhibits beautiful Maldivian architecture with a contemporary twist, as well as exclusive villa host service, reflecting the five-star experience guaranteed at the property.

Sheraton Maldives is situated on the private island of Furanafushi in the North Male Atoll, just a 15-minute speedboat ride away from the Maldives’ main Velana International Airport.

The five-star resort offers 176 guest rooms designed to blend into the surrounding turquoise waters, pristine beaches and lush greenery. Also boasting seven unique restaurants and bars, the Shine Spa for Sheraton –located on its very own island — and three outdoor tropical fresh water pools, the resort caters for all guests and is the perfect destination for honeymooners, families with young children or teens and solo travellers alike.

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Kuramathi Maldives’ Kobe restaurant rolls out new dessert menu

Kobe, the overwater teppanyaki restaurant at Kuramathi Maldives has rolled out an all-new dessert menu.

The team at Kobe has carved five delightful treats that will be pleasing both to the eyes and palette.

Guests can try Mizu Mochi, a must-try Japanese raindrop cake made exclusively for Kuramathi, will leave you wanting for more with every bite. Hokkaido Milk Aisukurimu, made with the best Japanese Hokkaido milk in the world, is guaranteed to melt an ice cream enthusiast’s heart. And of course, you can never go wrong with a Matcha Green Tea Chocolate Molten Lava Cake.

Kuramathi is one of the first resorts to open in the Maldives and is part of Universal Resorts of Universal Enterprises, a 100 per cent Maldivian company and the pioneers of tourism in the Maldives.

An emerald jewel in the turquoise Maldivian waters, Kuramathi is a stunning island retreat with acres of luxuriant vegetation surrounded by spectacular beaches tapering into an endless sandbank. Villas blend contemporary design and nature, and are set on the beach, amongst lush gardens or over water. Four poster beds, open-air bathrooms, rainfall showers or Jacuzzi, large outdoor decks with inviting daybeds or sun loungers, are just some of the creature-comforts enjoyed by guests.

Dining options are diverse with many restaurants, bars and great-value all-inclusive packages, topped off with Maldivian service – welcoming, genuine and friendly.

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Kurumba Maldives appoints Ismail Isham as Human Resources Manager

A Couple on the white sandy beach of Maldives by Asad's Photography

Kurumba Maldives has appointed Ismail Isham as its Human Resources Manager.

A Maldivian national, Isham began his career in the hospitality industry in 2013 when he joined One&Only Reethi Rah. He worked at the human resources department of the ultra-luxury resort for four years, before joining Dhigali Maldives as its Assistant Human Resources Manager.

Isham’s dedication to bring about constructive changes to has now led his appointment as the Human Resources Manager of the iconic Kurumba Maldives.

Kurumba, the very first resort in the Maldives, is set on a tropical
island in the North Male Atoll, conveniently located a brief 10-minute
speedboat ride away from the main airport.

Kurumba draws on its proud 46 years of history, charismatic
personality and heartfelt service, to offer compelling and diverse
experiences amidst a stunning island setting.

The resort offers an array of eight styles of accommodation, ranging
from comfortable Superior rooms to the spacious Royal Residence, spread
among the island’s lush tropical gardens with easy access to the beach.
With eight different restaurants and four bars to choose from.

Kurumba will charm you with its unparalleled choice of dining
experiences and a wide range of recreation activities and entertainment;
all the while maintaining idyllic spaces of relaxation to create the
perfect balance for a holiday in paradise, perfect for honeymooners and
family alike.

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Utkarsh Faujdar appointed General Manager at VARU by Atmosphere Maldives ahead of Oct 2019 opening

A Couple on the white sandy beach of Maldives by Asad's Photography

Dynamic Indian Ocean hospitality group Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts has appointed Utkarsh Faujdar as the General Manager of its newest property due to open in October 2019, VARU by Atmosphere, Maldives.

Prior to joining the Atmosphere Group in the Maldives, Utkarsh has been in the hospitality industry over three decades.

The past 14 years he was based in the Maldives as the General Manager for the renowned Hulhule Island Hotel. Whilst working for the hotel he spearheaded the tremendous growth and positioning of the hotel and was responsible for the accelerated growth of profit apart from winning international awards.

Before moving to the Maldives, Utkarsh was working as General Manager for Trident Hilton Agra, a 140-room five-star hotel in the North of India – part of Oberoi Group of Hotels.

Utkarsh is an efficient, result oriented and hands on General Manager, adept at creating and leading a team from diverse backgrounds towards meeting organisational goals.

“I am thrilled to be part of the Atmosphere Family and excited to deliver an Authentic Maldivian resort experience here on this brand-new island. I am looking forward to working with newly formed VARU Team, and together we will be ready to deliver an outstanding holiday experience to our guests,” Utkarsh was quoted in a statement, as saying.

The opening of VARU by Atmosphere is the start of the ambitious expansion plans of the Indian Ocean hospitality group. With several new properties being added to the existing four-property portfolio, this appointment will enhance the groups growth within the ‘By Atmosphere’ white-label sub brand – along with the group’s other sub-brands of OZEN, OBLU and OBLU Select.

“I am very excited to have such an experienced hotel industry professional like Utkarsh as part of the Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts. I am confident that with his support and the excellent team; VARU by Atmosphere will soon be a key player in the Maldives resort segment,” Giri Venkata, President and Chief Operating Officer of Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts, said.

Located in the north-west edge of Male atoll and easily accessible by a 40-minute speedboat journey from the main Velana International Airport, VARU by Atmosphere will feature 108 luxurious villas. Thirty-nine Beach Front Villas will have spacious interiors and outdoor decks, surrounded by lush green vegetation and just a few metres from the white sandy beach, while 69 Overwater Villas will have signature Maldivian-style interiors and direct access to the turquoise lagoon from the deck.

Both villa types offer minimalistic design styles with splashes of vibrant colours, and come with the option of private pools. Additional resort facilities include a dive and water sports centre, ELENA spa, gymnasium and kids club.

The island’s reef is known to be home to mantas and other vibrant wildlife species, which will allow guests unique snorkelling and diving experiences unlike others on offer in the Maldives.

Atmosphere’s first property, Atmosphere Kanifushi, opened its doors in December 2013. The group opened its second property, OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli, in November 2015; followed by their flagship ‘Lifestyle Luxury’ sub-brand, OZEN by Atmosphere, in July 2016; and then OBLU Select at Sangeli, which opened in July 2018.

The newest addition to the portfolio, VARU by Atmosphere, offering a naturally Maldivian experience, is due to open in October 2019.

Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts offers guest-centric resort experiences through unique Resort Plans, offering guests a range of all-encompassing experiences, with varieties of dining options as well as a number of complimentary amenities and activities that ensure a relaxed, hassle-free holiday experience at each resort, all while staying true to the brand’s core philosophy: ‘The Joy of Giving’.

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Cocoon Maldives to host second International Kite Festival with three world champions

A Couple on the white sandy beach of Maldives by Asad's Photography

Cocoon Maldives has announced plans to host a second International Kite Festival in Maldives with celebrated kite flying champions from around the world.

Continuing from the success of the inaugural festival in 2017, Cocoon Maldives will welcome back Italian kite flying champion Edy Angelino for this year’s festival, which will be held from September 28 to October 4 at three different venues. Eddy will be joined by Brazilian champion Guilherme Linares Palau and Daniel Y. Wu from China.

Organised in association with the official tourism promotion body Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), the first session will take place at the Cricket Stadium in capital Male on September 28, with the second session being held in island of Hinnavaru in Lhaviyani atoll on October 4.

During these sessions, residents will get the unique opportunity to see live kite flying demonstrations by the world-renowned kite flying champions. Attendees will get free goodies, whilst a lucky draw will select a winner from each session to receive a complimentary holiday at Cocoon Maldives.

Meanwhile, Cocoon Maldives will host a Kite Exhibition Week from September 28 to October 3. Open to all in-house guests, this exhibition will showcase the kite imprints used by Eddy, Guilherme and Daniel, and feature kite flying sessions.

Cocoon Maldives, located in Ookolhufinolhu Island in the
northern Lhaviyani atoll, blends the best of Italian design with the
Maldives’ stunning natural beauty. The five-star resort, which
officially opened in March, houses 150 villas that are exclusively
designed by Lago, one of Italy’s finest design firms.

The resort, accessible by a 40-minute scenic seaplane
flight from the main Velana International Airport, features three
restaurants and two bars offering a variety of cuisines from around the
world and romantic dining experiences.

The Cube Spa at Cocoon is located in the heart of the
island to ensure maximum privacy and intimacy, and offers variety of
relaxing and rejuvenating treatments with qualified masseurs from Bali.
Adjacent to the spa is the all-new ‘Garden of Eden’ wellness area, which features a jacuzzi, a steam and sauna room, as well as a kneipp pool.

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FTI, Adaaran Resorts Maldives kick off promotional activity with 100 German tour operators

A major promotional initiative by leading German tour operator FTI and Adaaran Resorts Maldives kicked off Thursday, with 100 German tour operators interacting with tourism industry stakeholders and business professionals.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed, who currently serves as the parliament speaker, officiated the official opening ceremony held at Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi Thursday evening.

Addressing the audience, which included several members of parliament, top government officials and leading figures in the Maldives’ tourism industry, Nasheed highlighted the important role played by tour operators in promoting the destination.

“The Maldives should no longer be identified as an expensive destination reserved for the rich and famous. We have diversified our tourism to cater to budget travellers as well as those seeking the ultimate in luxury,” he said.

The group of 100 tour operators arrived in the Maldives Thursday morning. Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director of the official tourism promotion body Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), together with officials from Adaaran Resorts and FTI’s local affiliate Diethelm Travels welcomed the team at the main Velana International Airport.

Following the official opening ceremony, the team is set to visit resorts operated by Adaaran from September 12-19. They began their adventure at Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi, and will end their visit at Heritance Aarah, the newest resort by Adaaran’s parent company Aitken Spence Hotels & Resorts.

Germany is amongst the top 10 contributors to Maldives tourism, with
117,532 German tourists visiting the Maldives in 2018 — a 4.8 per cent
increase over the 112,109 in 2017.

With a 7.2 per cent market share,, Germany is currently ranked as the
fifth major source market. Arrivals from Germany grew by 10.4 per cent
to reach 71,479 during the past seven months of the year.

Adaaran, a subsidiary of Sri Lankan conglomerate Aitken Spence, runs
five resorts in the Maldives: Adaaran Club Rannalhi, Adaaran Select
Meedhupparu, Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi and Adaaran Prestige Vadoo.
Aitken Spence has also recently opened a new property in the Maldives
under its Heritance brand, Heritance Aarah.

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FTI, Adaaran Resorts Maldives organise promotional activity with 100 German tour operators

A Couple on the white sandy beach of Maldives by Asad's Photography

A group of 100 tour operators arrived in Maldives on Thursday to explore the destination, as part of a joint promotional initiative by leading German tour operator FTI and Adaaran Resorts Maldives.

Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director of the official tourism promotion body Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), together with officials from Adaaran Resorts and FTI’s local affiliate Diethelm Travels welcomed the team at the main Velana International Airport.

Aditya Raj Singh, Sales & Marketing Manager and Adaaran Resorts Maldives, said the initiative will help promote the Maldives amongst potential German tourists.

“This is the first time an event on this magnitude is being held in the Maldives. It will prove vital in boosting tourist arrivals to the Maldives as a whole, as Germany is one of the top contributors,” he said.

Kicking off with an official opening ceremony at Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi Thursday evening, the team will visit resorts operated by Adaaran from September 12-19. They will begin their adventure at Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi and end their visit at Heritance Aarah, the newest resort by Adaaran’s parent company Aitken Spence Hotels & Resorts.

Suresh Dissanayake, Assistant Vice President – Sales & Marketing at Adaaran Resorts Maldives, said the team will be treated to the full resort experience, including activities such as water sports. Excursions to nearby local islands will also be arranged, so that the team can explore authentic Maldivian culture and island life, he added.

“Tourism in Maldives has evolved, with the destination opening up to tourists from all walks of life and a variety of markets. The destination needs to be promoted as such. This initiative is a step in this direction,” Suresh said.

Germany is amongst the top 10 contributors to Maldives tourism, with 117,532 German tourists visiting the Maldives in 2018 — a 4.8 per cent increase over the 112,109 in 2017.

With a 7.2 per cent market share,, Germany is currently ranked as the fifth major source market. Arrivals from Germany grew by 10.4 per cent to reach 71,479 during the past seven months of the year.

Adaaran, a subsidiary of Sri Lankan conglomerate Aitken Spence, runs five resorts in the Maldives: Adaaran Club Rannalhi, Adaaran Select Meedhupparu, Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi and Adaaran Prestige Vadoo. Aitken Spence has also recently opened a new property in the Maldives under its Heritance brand, Heritance Aarah.

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Kurumba Maldives appoints Andrew Jansson as General Manager

A Couple on the white sandy beach of Maldives by Asad's Photography

Kurumba Maldives has appointed Andrew Jansson as its General Manager.

Andrew joins Kurumba Maldives from Minor International, where he oversaw three of the company’s hotels in Thailand — Anantara Riverside and Avani Riverside in Bangkok, as well as Avani+ Luang Prabang and Mekong Kingdoms in Luang Prabang — over the past three years.

Hailing from Sewden, Andrew brings over two decades of extensive experience in food and beverage as well as hotel management, having worked with international hotel chains in 14 countries, including the US, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Oman and China.

As Andrew takes charge of Kurumba Maldives, his previous experience working in the island nation makes him uniquely positioned to contribute to the continued strategic development of the historically significant property.

Andrew first arrived in the Maldives in 2009, joining the pre-opening team of Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa as its Director of Food and Beverage. After a four-year break, Andrew returned to the Maldives in 2013 to take up the position of Executive Assistant Manager, Food and Beverage at One&Only Reethi Rah. He spent three years at the ultra-luxury resort, during which he was promoted to the post of Resort Manager.

Kurumba, the very first resort in the Maldives, is set on a tropical
island in the North Male Atoll, conveniently located a brief 10-minute
speedboat ride away from the main airport.

Kurumba draws on its proud 46 years of history, charismatic
personality and heartfelt service, to offer compelling and diverse
experiences amidst a stunning island setting.

The resort offers an array of eight styles of accommodation, ranging
from comfortable Superior rooms to the spacious Royal Residence, spread
among the island’s lush tropical gardens with easy access to the beach.
With eight different restaurants and four bars to choose from.

Kurumba will charm you with its unparalleled choice of dining
experiences and a wide range of recreation activities and entertainment;
all the while maintaining idyllic spaces of relaxation to create the
perfect balance for a holiday in paradise, perfect for honeymooners and
family alike.

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Dhigali Maldives opens new pizzeria

A Couple on the white sandy beach of Maldives by Asad's Photography

Dhigali Maldives has opened a new pizzeria.

Nestled in the jungle, between Hali Bar and Faru Restaurant, the “Pop-up Pizzeria” offers both traditional and unique flavours that will satisfy any appetite. Simply order, pickup and takeaway to whatever quiet location you choose to dine – the choice is yours.

The pizzeria is open for guests from 11am to 6pm daily, and is covered under the resort’s ‘Dine Around’ all-inclusive package.

Dhigali sits in the remote Raa atoll and can be reached by a scenic seaplane journey of just 45 minutes from the main Velana International Airport. Alternatively, guests can take a domestic flight to either Ifuru or Dharavandhoo airport, followed by a speedboat ride to the resort — a journey of about 70 minutes.

The island itself is corralled by 20 Beach Bungalows and 33 Deluxe Beach Bungalows to the south, and 62 Beach Villas which line the north and southwestern beaches. Nestled under a canopy of palms, these beach front sanctuaries provide luxurious intimacy, effortlessly marrying the interior and exterior. Outside, guests can spend their days relaxing in the private deck’s day-bed or opt for one of the 21 Beach Villas with Pool which include a private plunge pool overlooking the sparkling Indian Ocean.

Dhigali’s overwater bungalows dot the island’s azure perimeter. Extending from the southeastern side of the island is a jetty hosting 24 Water Villas, each one rising out of the lagoon on stilts. Similarly, from the southeast of the island snakes a further jetty housing 16 larger Lagoon Villas with Pools.

The singular Dhigali Suite is the pride of the island, featuring an opulent master bedroom, open-air bathroom, beachfront infinity pool and wide sundeck. With sublime ocean views and intuitive luxuries, the Dhigali Suite comes with its own bar and personal butler service, offering pure tropical peace.

Dining experiences at Dhigali are innovative and authentic, with the style and atmosphere of each restaurant reflecting the cuisine. There is a particular focus on fresh Asian dishes, including the specialist Asian restaurant Battuta. Capers is the main restaurant, whilst there is also an upscale Deli, all-day dining at Jade, and freshly grilled meats and fish at Faru. At sunset, guests can make their own way to the upper level of Haali sunset bar with a cocktail in hand.

The Dhigali Spa is a green retreat in the middle of the island, featuring daybeds, an outdoor pool and 12 modern, minimalist treatment rooms that cocoon guests in absolute stillness. Therapies offered by the spa draw on indigenous traditions to heal and reenergise the body and mind, while guests have the opportunity to prolong their visit in the steam room and relaxation lounge, or pamper with a pedicure and a manicure.

In addition to PADI-certified diving, snorkelling and a range of water sports, Dhigali offers island hopping adventures to nearby islands to explore local culture. Access to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Hanifaru Bay in the nearby Baa atoll is available, allowing guests to discover the largest seasonal groupings of manta rays, a variety of stunning corals and huge schools of tropical marine life, as well as the opportunity to spot whale sharks.

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Fairmont Maldives relaunches Jason DeCaires Taylor’s underwater art installation with new sculptures

Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resort has relaunched its famed underwater art installation by celebrated British environmentalist and eco-artist Jason deCaires Taylor, with a series of new sculptures.

The Coralarium, the Maldives’ first and only coral regeneration project in the form of an underwater art installation, was first unveiled in July 2018. However, it was closed off shortly after the sculptures were pulled to the surface for depicting human forms.

Conceptualised by Taylor, the new abstract sculptures are inspired by the natural beauty of the coral reef and have been designed to imitate the ethereal formation of coral colonies. Rising from ten, semi-submerged plinths within the Coralarium, the installation aims to raise awareness of the threatened ecosystem, educate guests about the underwater world and rehabilitate the reef. Rising from the sea into the sky, the tessellated sculptures act as a visual connector between the aquatic world, and the land.

Perched in the largest resort lagoon in the Maldives, Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi plays home to an abundance of marine life, from manta rays and turtles to bottlenose dolphins and over 250 species of tropical fish. Now, guests can get even closer to nature, as they explore these sculptures and the verdant aquatic life that dwells amongst them, accompanied by a resident marine biologist, or as part of the property’s specially curated evening snorkelling tours.

The Coralarium structure, and the sculptures within, act as an artificial reef, encouraging local marine life to make it a home. Up to five metres tall, each one of the soaring sculptures is constructed of more than 500 ceramic ‘starfish’ that have been specifically designed to attract a variety of fish and crustaceans — the hard shells catch and hold biomass, or ‘fish food’, which encourage coral larvae to attach and thrive, whilst nooks and dark cubbyholes in the structures provide a hiding place for a variety of fish and shellfish. Each sculpture is brought to life through its union with the life that attaches to it, transforming them from concrete to textured, living organisms.

As one of the world’s most celebrated ‘underwater naturalists’, Taylor’s works become an integral part of the local ecosystem, created with non-toxic, marine-grade compounds, free from harmful pollutants. The steel Coralarium structure, first installed in 2018, has quickly become inundated with marine life, and adventurous guests eager to discover the thriving underwater world. Hard corals, sponges and thousands of schooling fish now live within its walls that are perforated with a coral pattern to allow beams of light to illuminate the sculptures.

Strategically placed to lead snorkelers into various ‘zones’ of the Coralarium, the sculptures can be explored from a sea-scaped coral pathway, that leads from the 200 metre infinity pool — the longest in the Maldives — at the heart of the island. Diving adventures and snorkelling sessions with the marine biologist showcase Fairmont Maldives’ best diving spots, right at the five-mile-long house reef, home to many manta ray cleaning stations.

Those inspired by Taylor’s installation can even create their own marine-inspired masterpiece in the on-site art studio, or plant their own coral, which they can see flourish as they revisit in years to come.

Having opened its doors in May 2018, Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is an idyllic island paradise dedicated to educating the next generation of eco-conscious travellers. With the coral regeneration project, educational exploration of the coral reef, in-house marine biologists, a water distillery and, in early 2020, the installation of solar panels, the resort strives to protect and restore the wellbeing of local ecosystems.

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Kuredu Resort Maldives introduces mobile app, my.kuredu.com platform for personalised stays

A Couple on the white sandy beach of Maldives by Asad's Photography

Kuredu Resort Maldives has introduced a mobile application and my.kuredu.com platform.

Through the mobile app and web platform, Kuredu offers its guests the chance to not only find out more about the extensive range of epic experiences, activities and adventures that they can enjoy at the resort, but to also start pre-planning and pre-booking any activities that tickle their fancy.

Guests can now start building their own itinerary of things to do during their stay at Kuredu, from the moment that they have a confirmed reservation at the resort.

The app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play store. Alternatively, if you would rather access the platform via a web browser, you can simply visit my.kuredu.com, which contains all the same information as the mobile apps.

It’s possible to browse all the information about the resort without logging in. However, if you would like to book an activity, you will need to login.

If you’ve not yet left home and are planning your activities from the comfort of your own sofa, or on the way to the airport, you can login with your booking reference number and your check in date. Be sure to select yourself from the list when logging in as you will see all members travelling on the booking.

Once you are at the resort, it’s possible to login with your room number and your date of birth.

“Discover the wealth of activities on offer that make Kuredu one of the Maldives most popular resorts. Check out the ‘Must Do @ Kuredu’ bucket list of activities that no visit to the resort should miss out on. From restaurants to spa treatments, excursions, snorkelling and scuba diving to what’s happening each night in the bars and other venues around the resort, the apps and my.kuredu.com are packed full of information for your stay,” an announcement by the resort read.

Located on a 1,800 metre by 325 metre remote island in the northern atoll of Lhaviyani, Kuredu is accessible by a 35-minute scenic seaplane flight from the main Velana International Airport. This 4.5-star resort has 383 rooms, including beach and water villas, making it the second largest resort in the Maldives.

The island boasts a dive and snorkel centre, a water sports centre, a spa, golf and tennis courses, a kids’ club, and an extensive choice of restaurants and bars. Kuredu guests can also dine in 5.8 Undersea Restaurant at the neighbouring Hurawalhi Maldives resort.

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MATATO recognises MMPRC’s renewed destination marketing efforts

A Couple on the white sandy beach of Maldives by Asad's Photography

Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) has applauded the work done by the Maldives’ official tourism promotion body, as the destination witnesses a record number of tourist arrivals throughout the year.

In a statement, MATATO, which has been lobbying for better destination marketing efforts by the government, said it recognises and acknowledges the revamped destination marketing activities carried out by the state-owned Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC). Those activities have had a significant positive impact on the growth of tourist arrivals, it added.

“MATATO commends and credits the management of MMPRC under the leadership of Managing Director Thoyyib Mohamed, on the positive results in the past six months that has seen record breaking numbers in terms of tourist arrivals compared to that of the last five years,” the statement read.

MMPRC has conducted several destination marketing activities this year, including 15 trade fairs in 12 markets, five roadshows in 13 markets, 13 media fam trips, 11 promotional activities carried out via worldwide PR agents and 12 joint promotional activities.

Meanwhile, MATATO said it was compelled to step in to play the role of the de facto destination marketing body from 2016 to 2018 as destination marketing efforts and budget were limited and suppressed under the previous government.

In 2017 and 2018, MATATO was in 29 countries — from major emerging markets like India, Thailand, UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia to more established markets such as United Kingdom, China and Russia.

In 2017, MATATO also launched a dedicated marketing campaign for the Indian market, with a target of making India the largest source market for the destination.

This year, MATATO has hosted destination stands in Vietnam, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and India. The organisation has also planned roadshows in four South East Asian countries, as well as promotional activities at the upcoming PATA Travel Mart in Kazakhstan.

“However, since the revival of MMPRC as the leading destination marketing authority, MATATO has taken a back seat on the destination marketing efforts, as the association strongly believes destination marketing should be done by a government body like other successful tourism destinations,” the statement read.

MATATO called on the authorities and industry stakeholders to spend even more on destination marketing. Marketing is one of the few areas in hospitality where the expenditure has a direct Return on Investment (ROI), as it translates into increased revenue through taxes and indirect economic benefits through increased business activity, it said.

“The association lobbies for even bigger destination marketing budget for 2020 with increased supply in the market means to bridge a strong increase in demand for the destination as well,” the statement read.

“MATATO is presently working on increasing more trainings and workshops for its members and the industry. The association also is working to make technology platforms for booking systems more affordable for its members.”

Maldives has welcomed over a million tourists this year, as the destination attempts to reach an ambitious target of 1.5 million visitors over the next three months.

The one millionth visitor of the year arrived in the Maldives on August 2 — a month ahead of last year. In 2018, the one millionth mark was reached on September 9, whilst it was celebrated in October the previous year.

Maldives welcomed a record 1.4 million tourists in 2018. It was a 6.8 per cent increase from the 1,389,542 tourists that chose to holiday in the Maldives in 2017.

Meanwhile, government has revised its forecast for the number of tourists visiting the island nation this year, increasing the estimate to a record 1.6 million from 1.5 million.

This positive growth in the tourism industry comes amidst concerns by private organisations representing industry stakeholders such as the Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) over the lack of effort and budget to promote the Maldives as a destination.

These concerns come as the world-famous holiday destination struggles to match an increased bed capacity.

Over the past few years, dozens of uninhabited islands have been leased to local and foreign resort developers. Several international brands have entered into the market, increasing the number of resorts to more than 130. That number is set to increase as another 20 resorts are expected to open over the next two years.

Along with the new resort openings come the challenge of increasing demand from budget travellers who choose guesthouses over luxury resorts that the Maldives is known for. The guesthouse sector has rapidly expanded with over 500 guesthouses in operation today.

The previous government announced steps to maintain a structured growth in tourism, including a slowdown in leasing islands for resort development and increased marketing efforts in key markets such as China and the Middle East in order to reach an ambitious target of a record 1.5 million tourist arrivals this year.

Meanwhile, the new government has pledged to ramp up tourism promotion.

Reflecting the new government’s pledge, the state budget for 2019 includes MVR 104,200,000 (USD 6.7 million) for tourism promotion, up from MVR 34,733,333 (USD 2.2 million) this year and the previous year.

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