“They were like part of our family.”
“… the staff at Taj Exotica is really warm and hospitable. They go all out to ensure that your experience is like none other.”
“… I have not experienced anything like that anywhere else.”
Those are just a few comments made by those who have visited the pristine island resort of Taj Exotica Resort & Spa. Like them, every guest that sets foot on the island paradise goes home happy, knowing that they had been well taken care of. Not just because they have had their ultimate holiday experience, but also because they had been offered the best of Maldivian hospitality, all thanks to the dedicated staff at the resort.
Quintessentially Indian in its fabric, Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces is recognised around the world over for delivering a unique flavour of hospitality that offers world-class refinement. With over 100 hotels in 62 locations, Taj offers guests the refined luxury of heritage, the effortlessly efficient service and amenities, and a local experience with the assurance of quality.
Taj Exotica, located just a 15-minute speedboat ride away from capital Male, is the epitome of that vision maintained by the Tata-owned company. But it is no easy feat; the success and most importantly maintaining its reputation amongst industry professionals come with months of meticulous planning and a deep-rooted commitment to ensure the well-being of its employees.
“We have formed five different houses amongst the departments. Each house has its own captain and vice captain. Activities for the staff for the entire year are being drawn out with the involvement of the captains and vice captains. Every month there is a minimum of two major activities; one indoor and one outdoor. For example, it could be a futsal tournament,” says Prabhakar Kumar Singh, Director of Human Resources at Taj Exotica.
Those activities have become an integral part of the daily life of the employees of the resort. After a busy day’s of work, they occupy themselves with fun activities that promote staff engagement. It ranges from major activities that are carried out on an organisational level to intimate gatherings; futsal tournaments to coincide with the holy month of Ramadan, indoor games like chess and carom, night fishing trips followed by a BBQ on the staff-only beach from the night’s catch, and movie nights.
‘Five-star’ staff facilities
Taj sets itself apart from other properties with a simple, yet important philosophy; employees need to have the experience of five-star service in order to provide five-star services to their guests.
From the moment they join the “Taj family”, each and every employee is given a warm welcome. A representative from the resort goes to the airport to fetch the new recruit and brings them to the island where they are checked into a guest room. A night’s stay as a guest with full amenities and service opens the new employee’s eyes to the experience expected by guests from the resort.
Taj Exotica prides itself in having top-notch facilities for the staff. They have access to an exclusive beach area on the island where they can grill their own meat and fish. Meals are provided for the staff in a restaurant that is like any other dining restaurant on the island and complete with waiters. In case, an employee missed the buffet meal, they have the option of buying food items ranging from snacks to main dishes from a cafe dedicated for the staff.
“We also firmly believe in work-life balance. Therefore, we have boats going to Male four times a day. I think we are amongst the few resorts doing that now. Associates can book a limited number of seats on a first come, first first served basis and travel to Male after work to spend time with their family,” Prabhakar says.
“We have also added one more staff guesthouse. Any associate can bring their family for a 10-day period and they can stay at the guesthouse with free service. Both the guesthouses we have on the island are fully booked for the entire year.”
Investing and empowering local talent
Taj Exotica is part of the Taj group’s online training service for employees, enabling them to participate in month-long training programmes in various fields of hotel management and operations and get certified. Associates and executives also have the opportunity to have cross exposure training in some of the Taj group’s flagship properties across India.
These “investments” in developing human resources translate into empowerment of employees, especially the staff from local communities. At Taj Exotica, Maldivians have stepped into fill several managerial posts left by expatriates. They enjoy, as Prabhakar describes it, the resort’s willingness to let even the most junior staff take decisions pertaining to their work environment. “For example, a waiter can instantly decide to give a guest a unique experience by going the extra mile. He won’t have to talk to the restaurant manager before doing that,” he says.
“At Taj, we don’t care about titles. Everyone is an equal member of our staff. We focus on mutual respect, which is a core value at Taj.”
That autonomy comes with added privacy too.
CSR with a purpose
Part of Taj Exotica’s staff engagement programme is entwined with the resort’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative. As part of its “giving back to the community” strategy, Taj Exotica selects a nearby island every year, and once a month the resort’s employees travel to the island to clean up the place. This year, the nearby island of Gulhi is the beneficiary.
It is complemented by another CSR programme, which involves a visit to the Special Needs Centre in the nearby island of Guraidhoo at least once in every two months. Taj Exotica’s management and staff visit the centre, meet its residents, and donate food items and other goods needed for the centre’s operations such as air conditioners and washing machines.
“It’s another activity that is well-received by our associates. Through these activities, they feel like they’re also part of the society despite the fact that they live and work on an isolated island,” says Prabhakar.
“I don’t think I heard the word ‘no’ the entire time we were there,” a guest, who had spent nine days with her husband at Taj Exotica last month, says on TripAdvisor. That and similar compliments about the resort’s staff have been echoed by almost every visitor. What lies behind that exemplary service experienced by visitors at Taj Exotica is the fun, loving work environment that exists in the island resort. It is a place that offers the best of facilities available for employees, all the while promoting their personal growth and career development.
“People don’t want to leave us. They want to stay with us, as Good human relations not only bring great personal rewards but are essential to the success of any enterprise,” says Prabhakar.
World Tourism Day 2023: Emphasizing green investments for a sustainable future
Every year on September 27th, the world celebrates World Tourism Day, an occasion dedicated to highlighting the significance of tourism in our global society. In 2023, the focus of this celebration is on “Tourism and Green Investments,” a theme that resonates deeply with the Maldives, a nation known for its breathtaking natural beauty and its reliance on sustainable tourism.
The Maldives has long been a favorite destination for travelers seeking pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant marine life. With World Tourism Day 2023 emphasizing green investments, the Maldives tourism sector finds itself at the forefront of this global movement toward sustainable and responsible travel.
The Importance of Green Investments
One of the key pillars of this year’s World Tourism Day theme is the emphasis on green investments. The Maldives, with its fragile ecosystem, understands the critical importance of preserving its natural wonders. The nation has made remarkable strides in eco-friendly tourism practices in recent years.
Green investments in the Maldives take various forms, from the adoption of renewable energy sources to sustainable infrastructure development. The government has initiated ambitious projects to reduce carbon emissions, such as the installation of solar panels on many of the islands and the promotion of electric vehicles. These investments not only reduce the environmental footprint but also create a model for other nations striving for sustainability in tourism.
Investing in Education and Skills
Tourism is not just about infrastructure and natural beauty; it also relies heavily on the people who make it happen. For the Maldives, investing in education and skills is essential to ensure that the local workforce is well-equipped to provide high-quality services to tourists.
Training programs for hospitality, marine conservation, and sustainable tourism practices are becoming increasingly common in the Maldives. These initiatives empower the local population to actively participate in the tourism industry while ensuring that their actions are aligned with eco-conscious principles.
Sustainable Prosperity through Innovation
Innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship are key drivers of sustainable tourism growth. The Maldives recognizes the importance of embracing innovation to enhance the visitor experience while minimizing environmental impact.
From eco-friendly resorts to underwater dining experiences and marine conservation projects, Maldivian entrepreneurs are at the forefront of innovation in the tourism sector. Green investments in technology and entrepreneurship are fostering a culture of sustainability that ensures the Maldives remains a top destination for years to come.
UNWTO’s Global Tourism Investment Framework
World Tourism Day 2023 is not only a time for celebration but also a platform for discussing the challenges and opportunities surrounding investment in tourism. In Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) will present its Global Tourism Investment Framework. This framework will provide valuable insights and guidelines for countries, including the Maldives, looking to attract responsible investments in tourism.
Furthermore, UNWTO will announce the winners of the inaugural UNWTO Women in Tech Startup Competition for the Middle East during the official World Tourism Day celebrations. This initiative highlights the importance of gender equality and the role of women in driving innovation and sustainability in the tourism sector.
World Tourism Day 2023 presents a significant opportunity for the Maldives to showcase its commitment to green investments and sustainable tourism practices. As a nation heavily dependent on tourism, the Maldives understands the importance of preserving its natural treasures and ensuring that its people are at the forefront of this global movement.
By investing in education, sustainable infrastructure, innovation, and entrepreneurship, the Maldives is not only safeguarding its unique environment but also setting a remarkable example for other nations to follow. As travelers seek more responsible and eco-conscious destinations, the Maldives is well-positioned to lead the way toward a sustainable and prosperous future in global tourism.
Dubai’s FAM Holding launches $217m Maldives resort project
Dubai-based FAM Holding PSC Group announced the launching of Al Mahra Maldives Resort, its luxurious hotel residential project in the Maldives, on Monday.
The project, which will receive investments of about AED 800 million (USD 217.8 million), is deemed one of the latest real estate development projects to be launched by the group, and its first real estate expansion outside the UAE.
This launching came on the margin of the 30th version of Arabian Travel Market 2023, which is being held in the Dubai World Trade Centre, from Monday to Thursday.
“Through Al Mahra Maldives touristic resort project, FAM Holding Group aims to expand in the real estate investment outside the UAE for the first time, and strives to tap into the Maldives, particularly that this archipelago currently witnesses a remarkable growth, as it became the bucket list destination for many travel & tourism lovers all over the world, to bask in its pristine beaches, virgin nature, serene lifestyle, and smiling faces of the locals, a matter which makes it an ideal oasis for tranquility and relaxation,” Dr Faisal Ali Mousa, the Chairman of FAM Holding Group, said.
Mousa noted that Al Mahra Maldives resort will be established on an island with an area of 100,000 square metres, and will comprise 150 hotel units and chalets, including 100 overwater villas. He added that each unit in the resort will include a private swimming pool.
“The project will also comprise 40 beach villas, including 10 which will be earmarked for VIPs, as well as 3 restaurants, one spa, and gym. Moreover, the resort will feature all aquatics”, Mousa advised.
“The Maldives was selected, as it is a global touristic destination that the people of Arabian Gulf, Asians and Europeans visit. Moreover, the majority of famous trademarks and big touristic companies have a presence there, not to mention the fact that the UAE is one of the biggest Middle Eastern investors in the Maldives, and its investments there cover many sectors, particularly tourism & transportation.”
He underlined the fact that the Maldives offers unprecedented investment facilitations and incentives for easing the business doing, a matter that stimulates the flow of touristic investments on continuous bases. Mousa also indicated that the rise in touristic flow to the Maldives encourages the launching of new touristic projects to exploit the huge demand.
“The building works in Al Mahra Maldives will kick off after three months and will continue for two years and half, while the finishing of works and handing over the project are scheduled for the mid of 2025,” Mousa said.
“FAM Holding Group decided that the US $ will be the currency of payment for buying in Al Mahra Maldives, as the project will be marketed on a global scale, including the UAE, and there will be marketers for the project in Europe, Asia, China, India, Russia, and the USA, this is why the US $ was chosen as the settlement currency.
“The new project will attract tourist from all over the world, and will contribute to integration with the other projects of FAM Holding Group inside and outside the UAE”, Mousa added.
“The project is deemed the extension of the trademark, Al Mahra, which is owned by the Group, and it’s expected to be launched in other countries, as Al Mahra Resort in Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah met a huge success. This is why the Group aims that this Resort be a global touristic trademark, which is spread inside and outside the UAE”, Mousa noted.
He expected that the group will launch other projects soon, one of them in an Arab Gulf country, while another on in an African country. Mousa stated that these projects will not be announced before obtaining all the needed approvals.
“We look for the global markets, as the status of FAM Holding was converted from LLC into PSC. The company strives to open new markets besides the UAE one in Africa, East of Asia, and the Arabian Gulf”, Mousa concluded.
FAM Holding is one fastest growing real estate development companies in the UAE, and it focuses upon the development of qualitative properties against affordable prices to target the middle-income categories, with payment facilitations up to 6-10 years, a matter which enabled the company to attract a wide base of local and expatriate investors who wish to tap into the qualitative opportunities offered by the real estate sector.
The group seeks to upgrade its activities and operations in a manner which strengthens its role in supporting the march of economic development in the UAE, and increases the sources of its income. In the context of its long-term strategy, the group plans to expand in several markets in the region.
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts to debut in Maldives with Rosewood Ranfaru
One of the most coveted island destinations on the planet, the Maldives is considered by many to be the ultimate luxury wanderlust experience. This picturesque archipelago boasts bright white sands, warm calm waters and a standard of hospitality that is second to none. Now, having achieved worldwide recognition as a preeminent tropical paradise, the Maldives is looking toward the future with an eye on longevity and sustainability, making the destination a natural fit for the unique approach to luxury lifestyle offered by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts®. Rosewood Ranfaru, opening on the islands in 2027, is the latest development in the discerning brand’s thoughtful growth pipeline. The resort will reflect Rosewood’s guiding A Sense of Place® philosophy through a highly curated experience that emphasises privacy, luxury, and a connection to the natural habitat.
Stretched across a striking chain of private islands around a pristine lagoon in the South Male Atoll, Rosewood Ranfaru will be situated less than an hour away from Velana International Airport in Male. From touchdown to toes in the sand, guests will be able to make the journey to the resort via either a 35-minute yacht ride or a ten-minute seaplane hop. Both experiences will exude the same level of luxury that awaits on the property’s shores. Upon arrival to the resort, travellers will be met with endless opportunity to embark on truly restorative getaways, all surrounded by stunning views of the world’s most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Developed by Estithmar Holding, this project represents the next generation of Maldives tourism and elevates the overall luxury offerings available in this sublime corner of the globe.
“The Maldives has its own mystique and allure,” says Radha Arora, President of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. “Given its well-earned reputation as a haven for discerning travellers, we are excited to bring our unique brand of lifestyle and hospitality to this chain of islands. We are confident that through our commitment to immersive amenities, world-class design, and high-touch service, Rosewood will be able to offer the next iteration of Maldivian paradise.”
Rosewood Ranfaru will offer approximately 120 beachfront and overwater villas, ranging in size from one- to five-bedrooms, all with private pools and a select number located on private islands. In true Rosewood fashion, unsurpassed service and amenities will be central to the guest experience, including a Rosewood Explorer’s Club to spark discovery and inspire imagination among the youngest visitors. At the heart of the property will lie several specialty restaurants, a beach club, and an Asaya® well-being facility and fitness centre, together offering a holistic wellness escape. A true leisure oasis, Rosewood Ranfaru will also feature numerous swimming pools, both for adults and families; paddle courts, and an array of water sports that will allow guests to fully explore the peaceful and crystal-clear waters of the encircling lagoon.
“I am delighted to announce our latest investment in the Maldives, a destination that offers unparalleled beauty and a vibrant culture, making it one of the most attractive tourist spots in the world,” says Moutaz AlKhayyat, Chairman of Estithmar Holding. “We believe that the Maldives is an ideal location for investment and tourism, and it continues to attract visitors and investors from around the world with its friendly atmosphere and supportive government policies. Our new resort development aligns perfectly with our company’s vision and growth plans, and we are excited about the prospect of expanding our portfolio of luxury travel destinations.”
Rosewood Ranfaru’s world-class team of associates will leverage their rich understanding of the destination to create a highly curated menu of on- and off-property experiences designed to truly immerse guests into their surroundings. Their guiding mission will be to showcase the undiscovered sides of this island paradise.
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