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Shangri-La introduces new service initiative for Chinese travellers

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Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has introduced a new service initiative for outbound guests from mainland China; Xiang Ju.

In a statement, Shangri-La said the the programme, which features seven signature services and bespoke local experiences for Chinese guests, will first launch on 1 August at Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong. By the end of the year, Xiang Ju will be expanded to all Shangri-La branded  hotels and resorts based outside of mainland China, totalling 41 properties in 35 destinations including London, Tokyo, Sydney and the Maldives.

“Centred on Shangri-La’s hallmark ‘hospitality from the heart’ and built on the company’s extensive experience of operating in China for over 30 years, Xiang Ju, or get together at Shangri-La, ensures Chinese guests have meaningful experiences away from home and feel comfortable in their surroundings abroad,” the statement read.

The deck of a beach villa in Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa in Maldives. PHOTO/ SHANGRI-LA

The new programme’s seven services include:

  1. WeChat Assistant: Upon confirmation of a hotel booking, guests will be given a QR code to scan and connect with the hotel’s special China Guest Action Team on WeChat for instant communication, regardless of time and location.
  2. The Bespoke Experience: Guests will be offered the services of a Mandarin Chinese-speaking guide to explore a destination and its local culture.
  3. We Speak Chinese: Mandarin Chinese-speaking staff will be on hand at the host hotel to assist with guest queries and small details.
  4. Please Be Informed: Important hotel information printed in Chinese, which includes safety procedures, food and beverage services, floor plans and an emergency contact, will be provided upon check-in and will also be available electronically via a QR code.
  5. Tea Service: The hotels will provide a variety of Chinese teas allowing guests to enjoy their preferred drink away from home.
  6. Your Food – The Seven Wonders: Seven different types of Chinese congee, originating from different regions in China, will be available for breakfast.
  7. A Taste of Home: Chinese comfort food, namely noodles and congee, will be available to order from the hotel’s in-room dining menu for late-night snacking.

“Shangri-La is well recognised for its distinctive Asian hospitality from the heart. Currently, we have over 95 hotels around the globe, with nearly half of them located in China. Being an Asian hotel brand with over 30 years’ experience in China, we have a deep understanding of Chinese guests needs. We want our guests to take away memorable and rich experiences when staying with us abroad while enjoying the cultural comforts from home,” Sarah Chen, Shangri-La’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, was quoted in the statement as saying.

According to Shangri-La, to introduce the Xiang Ju programme, 11 Shangri-La hotels and resorts from Hong Kong, Paris, London, Tokyo, Sydney, Vancouver, Toronto, Boracay, the Maldives, Mauritius and Oman presented their hotels and services to Beijing and Shanghai audiences at China World Summit Wing, Beijing on May 22 and at Jing An Shangri-La, East Shanghai on May 24.

The spa in Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa in Maldives. PHOTO/ SHANGRI-LA

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La International Hotel Management Limited, one of the world’s premier hotel management companies, currently operates over 95 hotels in 22 countries and 73 destinations under the Shangri-La, Kerry, Hotel Jen and Traders brands.

In the Maldives, Shangri-La runs the Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa in the southernmost Addu atoll and the Hotel Jen in capital Male.

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa is located just a five-minute boat ride away from Gan International Airport, which has direct connections to neighbouring Sri Lanka as well. The luxury resort is a collection of 132 private villas nestled across emerald green jungle and stunning turquoise shoreline.

China has maintained its position as the single biggest source market despite falling numbers over the past year. In 2016, the Maldives welcomed 324,326 visitors from China, which was a 9.8 percent drop compared to the previous year. However, the Maldives recently announced plans to step up marketing in China in order to increase the number of Chinese tourists to one million per year.

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Pulse Hotels & Resorts unveils new residential project: The Coral Residences, Kandima

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Pulse Hotels & Resorts, one of the leading innovators in Maldives tourism, has introduced The Coral Residences, Kandima. Nestled on the northern end of the lush and green three-kilometre-long Kandima Integrated Island Resort in Dhaalu Atoll, this residential development is a first of its kind and promises to redefine luxury living in the Maldives.

Designed and crafted with meticulous attention to detail, The Coral Residences, Kandima, is a unique, integrated beachfront residential community with exceptional 5-star service, situated in the shimmering blue heart of the Maldives.

The Coral Residences comprises of 40 exquisitely designed two bedroom and three bedroom apartments. All apartments feature contemporary design and chic interiors, high-end finishes, state-of-the-art appliances, and unobstructed panoramic sea views across the Indian Ocean. Residence owners will enjoy exclusive access to a host of premium facilities, including a private beachfront pool, a gourmet restaurant and bar, dedicated fitness and recreation facilities and a 24-hour concierge service.

Buyers of The Coral Residences will be able to own their apartments under the new strata title ownership program. Owners’ apartments will be part a rental program, managed by Pulse Hotels & Resorts. Residents will have the access to the full range Kandima’s 5-star resort services, including its restaurants and bars, spa, recreation, and other amenities to complement their lifestyle. With its emphasis on comfort, convenience, and community, this development offers a truly elevated living experience.

“We are thrilled to introduce The Coral Residences, Kandima, to discerning local and international buyers,” said Sanjay Maniku, Managing Director of Pulse Hotels & Resorts. “With its unparalleled design and amenities, homeowners can take advantage of a limitless world of activities and experiences on offer at Kandima. We believe this development will set a new standard for luxury living in the Maldives, as well as bringing a new definition to the Maldives family vacation.”

The Coral Residences is realised by Pulse Hotels & Resorts, the creators behind The Nautilus Maldives, Kandima Maldives, and Nova Maldives. Known for their innovative hospitality concepts, Pulse Hotels & Resorts ensures that each property offers exceptional experiences and world-class service. The development has commenced and is expected to complete within Q3, 2025.

For more information, high-resolution images, and to schedule a private viewing, please contact Aishath Ihuma, Director of Business Development at +960 7788986 or aishath.ihuma@coralresidencesmaldives.com.

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Weixin Pay supported to boost Chinese tourists to Maldives

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On May 27, Zihuny Rasheed, Deputy Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives), and Etienne Ng, Weixin Pay’s Country Manager, Singapore and Regional Director, Southeast Asia, WeChat Pay, signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during ITB China 2024, pledging to support more Maldivian merchants to accept WeixinPay to provide Chinese tourists with a convenient payment experience. Visit Maldives is the Official Destination Partner for this year’s edition of ITB China.

“China is a key source of tourists for the Maldives, and we greatly value the experience of Chinese visitors,” said DMD Zihuny Rasheed. “We plan on promoting the acceptance of Weixin Pay throughout the country, offering Chinese tourists the payment option they are familiar with and prefer. I have used Weixin Pay during my visit to China via linking an international card, and I can attest to the convenience of the mobile payment option.”

Ibrahim Faisal, Minister of Tourism of the Maldives, expressed his support, “Excited that we’re introducing Weixin Pay for Chinese visitors, which is another step in establishing Maldives as their top destination. Now, it’s easier than ever for Chinese travellers to enjoy their stay, hassle-free. We look forward to further enhancing their experience,” he wrote.

According to Etienne Ng, Weixin Pay is currently being piloted at the country’s airport duty-free store, as well as in popular restaurants like Sala Thai and City Garden. Additionally, a range of hotels and resorts are participating including, JEN Maldives Malé by Shangri-La, Adaaran Select HudhuranFushi, Adaaran Club Rannalhi, Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, Adaaran Prestige Water Villas, Velaa Private Island, Cheval Blanc Randheli Private Island, Dhawa Ihuru Maldives, Ayada Maldives, Marriott Bonvoy, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and Angsana Velavaru in Maldives with strong support from the Bank of Maldives and local merchants. Making smooth progress, the initiative is expected to have 8,000 merchants nationwide that integrate the payment option.

“Weixin Pay is committed to providing users with safe and convenient payment services. Since the visa exemption policy was implemented, more and more Weixin Pay users have chosen to travel to the island country. Through our cooperation with Visit Maldives, we aim to provide Chinese users with the same convenient experience in the travel as they experience at home,” he said.

In February 2023, an Agreement on Mutual Exemption of Visa Requirements signed between the Maldives and China took effect as China expands its visa-free policy to benefit more countries. Consequently, the Maldives has consistently ranked among the top overseas destinations for Chinese tourists during popular travel periods such as the May Day and National Day holidays.

According to data from Visit Maldives, the country welcomed over 1.8 million tourists in 2023, a new national record. The Chinese market has been a key source market for the Maldives. As of 11th May 2024, it is the number one source market with 91,073 tourist arrivals.

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Indian influencer Niki Mehra in Maldives

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Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/ Visit Maldives) hosted a familiarisation trip with Amilla Maldives for high-end influencer, Niki Mehra, from India to experience the luxury and romantic offerings of the Maldives from 3rd – 6th May 2024.

The familiarisation trip was a great opportunity to Niki Mehra, a renowned Indian model, fashion, beauty and travel content creator and social media influencer with over half a million followers who has carved a niche in the Indian fashion industry with her unique sense of style. During her time in the Sunny Side of Life, Niki Mehra showcased luxury to romantic experiences of the destination.

The trip promoted Maldives through social media platforms of Niki Mehra while highlighting experiential itinerary offerings of the Maldives. Additionally, the influencer trip assisted MMPRC in propelling growth in the luxury travel segment and honeymoon market by showcasing the Maldives as a premier honeymoon destination for the Indian travellers.

The Indian market has been a strong market for the Maldives over the years, currently ranked number 6 with 46,970 tourists as of 13th May 2024. Additionally, MMPRC showcased the Maldives in OTM and SATTE held earlier this year. MMPRC is committed to boosting the arrivals from the market and has exciting marketing activities planned for future, including joint campaigns, familiarisation trips, participation in major events and other campaigns which provides numerous opportunities to showcase the breathtaking Maldives to the market, attracting more Indian travellers.

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