Maldives experts, stakeholders come together to discuss tourism security

Stakeholders and professionals gathered in Maldives capital Wednesday to discuss security in the country’s world famous tourism industry.

The Tourism Security Enhancement Workshop was held at the main convention centre of Dharubaaruge in capital Male. Top officials from resorts and hotels, international and domestic airport operators, domestic airline operators, and relevant government and non-governmental authorities attended the day-long workshop.

Presentations were given by officials from the tourism ministry, security establishment and aviation authorities on topics such as tourism sector development, hospitality security, kinetic response preparedness, aviation security and practical approaches to enhancing tourism security. Two officials from the tourism industry also gave their perspective on security and challenges.

Government officials attend the workshop on Wednesday. PHOTO/ TOURISM MINISTRY

According to the ministry, the objective of the workshop, which was held in collaboration with the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI), was to foster collaboration amongst security and law enforcement agencies and the tourism industry, to continue to identify potential threats to the tourism industry, and to explore and agree on feasible and viable options to counter and mitigate these threats.

Tourism is the economic mainstay of the Maldives, and the industry caters to a predominantly high-end clientele. The setup of this industry is unique in several ways; the concept of ‘one island, one resort,’ and the geographical distance between the resorts all present security opportunities and challenges.

Tourism minister Moosa Zameer speaks at the workshop on Wednesday. PHOTO/ TOURISM MINISTRY

Tourism security, especially in a setting like in the Maldives, requires a deep understanding of the natural environment, the requirements of the industry, a thorough appreciation of the potential threats, and consideration for the privacy of the guests and the ambience within the resorts. In addition, the security of complementary industries such as aviation and transport should be taken into account to address the issue holistically.

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 300 guesthouses have started operations over the past five years as the number of travellers that choose to stay in guesthouses rise.

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