"" Welcome to my thoughts: Future of Tourism in Maldives

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Future of Tourism in Maldives

Tourism industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. Started in 1972, over the past 29 years more than 90 resorts were built, and are still developing in different provinces. Over 600,000 tourists visit Maldives every year.

It was in 2005 government opened-up tourism business to the country as a whole. As a result investors started developing resorts in
North and south of Male' atoll. First ever public listed company in Maldives- Maldives Tourism Development Corporation was formed.

Human Resource shortage

Among the local workforce, more than 75 per cent of workers in resorts are from different Islands. Most of these people are working in resorts nearby Male' City. As a result of stretching tourism's arm to the whole country these people started seeking job opportunities nearer to their own island, which resulted creating a huge vacuum in resorts operating in Male' Atoll. Government and private sector did not put much effort for developing of local talents. Hotel School now known as FHTS is totally neglected. Parents started openly rejecting their Sons and Daughters working in resorts due to religious controversial issues. Nor government and MATI tried to educate parents on those issues. For all these reasons huge percentage of revenue leak to other economies. Currently more than 99000 foreigners are working in Maldives, among them roughly 41% is engaged in tourism related business.

Religious extremism and tourism

Through political reform effort by former regime political atmosphere changed. Freedom of association and freedom of speech is considered as a basic human right. Many political movements and parties were formed. First ever multi-party election held in 2008. The biggest opposition party with help of other small parties came to power in 2008 election. Not even three months to the new government ministers belong to other parties started resigning one after the other.

Government effort to sell alcoholic beverages in inhabited island was forced to stop due to public pressure. After few months Holiday Inn hotel announced selling of their property in Capital City. Mainly due to banning selling of Alcoholic and pork items in hotel.

Recently in 23 December 2011, mass demonstration was held throughout the country. Protesters demanded government to ban alcoholic beverages and pork Items in Maldives. Other demands include closing down of Spas and banning of Israel National flights coming to the country. A week later government responded to their demands and announced to closing down of spas and banning alcohol in Maldives. Parliament committee decided to ban Israel flights to Maldives.

Mentioned are directly related to tourism business. Ironically most of those demands were proposed by tourism tycoons. If government implement what was promised, investors will loose their confidence over us, and will loose huge revenue as a TGST.


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