Maldives Travel Awards 2017 launched: three editions, 55 categories

Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) on Wednesday launched the Maldives Travel Awards 2017, branching out the prestigious annual awards into three editions.

At a ceremony held at Hulhule Island Hotel (HIH) Wednesday evening, MATATO launched a People’s Edition, which recognises successful pioneers and long serving individuals in the tourism industry, a Guesthouse Edition, which celebrates the outstanding performance of the up and coming guesthouse sector, and the Grand Gala, which is exclusive for winners in the categories for resorts, airlines and liveaboards.

  • People’s Edition: The Maldives Travel Awards – People’s Edition will be hosted at the gala night of Travel Trade Maldives (TTM) in July. It is aimed at recognising successful pioneers and long serving individuals in the travel industry.
  • Guesthouse Edition: This edition celebrates the outstanding performance of the guesthouse sector. Winners of the 15 categories will be announced at the closing evening of the Guesthouse Conference scheduled for September.
  • Grand Gala: This is the premier event of the Maldives travel industry and is a continuation of the past. It will be exclusive for winners in the categories for resorts, airlines and liveaboards. It will be hosted in November.
MATATO members and sponsors attend the ceremony held Wednesday evening to launch the Maldives Travel Awards 2017. PHOTO/ ASAD’S PHOTOGRAPHY

MATATO President Abdulla Ghiyas Riyaz told the organisation’s members and sponsors attending the launching ceremony that three editions were introduced to recognise the rapid growth in the travel and tourism industry.

“One night is not enough to recognise the entire spectrum of tourism products in the Maldives,” he said.

According to Ghiyas, international judges will also be enlisted for the first time this year.

MATATO President Abdulla Ghiyas speaks at the ceremony held Wednesday evening to launch the Maldives Travel Awards 2017. PHOTO/ ASAD’S PHOTOGRAPHY

Sponsorship and partnership agreements were also signed on Wednesday.

Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) retained the Platinum Partner title for the seventh year in a row, while Dhiraagu, Alia Investments and Public Service Media (PSM) signed as Gold Sponsors, and Allied Insurance Company, Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) and Anantara Resorts Maldives as Silver Sponsors.

Print Lab signed as the Printing Partner and Everything Red signed as the Mobile Commerce Partner.

Adaaran Resorts Maldives, whose Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi will host this year’s Grand Gala, was assigned as the Host Partner, while Hulhule Island Hotel was made the Luxury Hotel Partner.

Several media organisations, including Maldives Insider, also signed up as Brand Partners. Asad’s Photography was given the title of Official Photography Partner of the event.

MATATO and Maldives Insider sign a partnership agreement at the ceremony held Wednesday evening to launch the Maldives Travel Awards 2017. PHOTO/ ASAD’S PHOTOGRAPHY

Initiated in 2012 by MATATO, Maldives Travel Awards celebrate and honour the best tourism and hospitality products in the Maldives, while fostering relationships with suppliers and local travel agents. From 20 categories in 2012, the awards have now expanded into three editions totalling 55 categories.

In 2016, the awards saw unprecedented judging transparency with a service agreement signed with KPMG to tally the final results. A record number of nominations were also received with the grand gala in Olhuveli Beach and Spa resort attended by dignitaries from relevant government authorities and the tourism industry.

This year, MATATO will also combine the grand gala with the travel conference happening a day before at Bandos Island Resort, bringing an international audience of industry experts.

The non-profit also signed an agreement last year with Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the largest travel organisation in the region, to have MATATO events supported and endorsed by PATA.

Photos: Asad’s Photography

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