Dhigurah, Fulidhoo recognised as top guesthouse islands in Maldives

Dhigurah in Alif Dhaal atoll and Fulidhoo in Vaavu atoll have been recognised as best performing guesthouse islands in Maldives.

At the Guesthouses Maldives Conference, which took place at Paradise Island Resort on Saturday, organiser Maldives Getaways conferred the 2016 Top Island Award to Dhigurah and the 2017 award to Fulidhoo.

According to the local PR firm, the islands were chosen based on the results of a Facebook poll.

The second Guesthouses Maldives Conference was attended by officials of 170 guesthouses across the Maldives. Fifty local and international travel agents specialising in budget travel as well as representatives of leading online travel agents such as Expedia and Booking.com were also in attendance.

An impressive lineup of industry professionals and experts joined the conference as keynote speakers.

The one-day conference also saw networking sessions where guesthouse owners and travel agents exchanged ways to expand their partnerships. Hospitality suppliers and technology companies also promoted their products that are targeted towards the budget travel market and the guesthouse industry.

Maldives, known world over for its upmarket tourism industry, has resorts in the hundreds spread across the archipelago. The industry has in recent years expanded to introduce more affordable segments, including guesthouses and liveaboards. Some 330 guesthouses have started operations over the past five years as the number of travellers that choose to stay in guesthouses rise.

The annual Guesthouses Maldives Conference, endorsed by central bank Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), Association of Travel Agents (ATA) Maldives and Guesthouse Association of Maldives, is aimed at bringing together owners and key stakeholders from the guesthouses and travel industry to discuss and share ideas on the challenges as well as the opportunities in the industry. Through the invitation-only conference, the organisers target to find ways to bring in 500,000 tourists to guesthouses across the Maldives by the year 2020.

The first edition of the conference, held in Male in September 2016, was attended by over 160 guesthouse operators, local and international travel agents, tour operators, online travel agents (OTAs), airlines, government agencies and business leaders.

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