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Hotelier Maldives hosts Maldives first Wellness Summit



Local hospitality publication Hotelier Maldives has hosted the first ever Wellness Summit in the Maldives.

The summit, held at Kurumba Maldives on Wednesday, brought together leaders in the spa and wellness industry, both in the country and from around the region, and featured discussions and debate on opportunities as well as key challenges faced by both wellness and hospitality industries alike.

The first keynote address was delivered by Jesper Hougaard, Founder and Managing Director of Serena Spa.

“We have an opportunity to add value to what we’re offering in spas,” Hougaard said.

“The global wellness industry is valued at 3.7 trillion dollars. It’s big money and we need to discover how we can tap into that and get a slice of the pie.”

Jesper Hougaard, Founder and Managing Director of Serena Spa, speaks at the Hotelier Maldives Wellness Summit held at Kurumba Maldives on Wednesday. PHOTO/ HOTELIER MALDIVES

The summit’s first panel, which was moderated by Hougaard, was on how wellness can enhance revenue for resorts. Panellists were Herchell Cabrera, Associate Spa Director at One&Only Reethi Rah, Ana Marques, Spa Director at Niyama Private Islands Maldives, and Bradley Calder, General Manager at Hurawalhi Island Resort.

Hougaard went over different sorts of spa experiences, highlighting ones that are not available in the Maldives. Marques touched on the importance of adapting to guests’ needs, saying the main motivation for coming to the Maldives was relaxation and activities.

“We’ve to cater to all these markets. It has to be done in a professional and genuine way, and it begins with educating your staff,” Marques said.

Herchell added: “We focus on educating staff who aren’t only from the spa. If members of our team experiences and appreciates wellness and taking care of themselves, then they’re in a better position to inform guests on such matters.”

First panel hosted as part of the Hotelier Maldives Wellness Summit held at Kurumba Maldives on Wednesday. PHOTO/ HOTELIER MALDIVES

The second keynote speech was delivered by Anni Hood, the Managing Partner at WELL Intelligence and Managing Director at WELL Business Solutions.

“Today, in 2017, as we move on to 2020, the interconnectivity, the interdependence of everything that’s happening in the world will have an effect on your business,” she said.

She admitted that technology plays a great role in the business, to do without technology is to be left out.

“The currency of wellness is a connection; how we connect to ourselves, to other people, to nature,” she added.

She also stressed the importance of authenticity, predicting that inauthentic fads, contained within bubbles, are likely to burst.

Her speech was followed by a networking lunch.

Anni Hood, Managing Partner at WELL Intelligence and Managing Director at WELL Business Solutions, speaks at the Hotelier Maldives Wellness Summit held at Kurumba Maldives on Wednesday. PHOTO/ HOTELIER MALDIVES

Following that, the second panel discussion focused on wellness trends. Panellists included Anni Hood, Trent Munday, Senior Vice President of the International Steiner Spa Consulting/Mandara Spa, Hussain Zinan, CEO at Total Fitness Group. The panel was moderated by Renate Hermes, Group Spa Director at Duniye Spa.

Hermes made observations on the human condition and how it affects the people who seek wellness.

“People want to be touched and connected at a deeper level. They want to feel significant. And this provides a lot of opportunity for us as service providers,” she said.

Munday questioned the current conception of the spa: “A consumer 20 years ago didn’t know what a spa was, but now consumers can have a spa treatment wherever they want; at home, at work. I think the whole concept of the spa has to be re-evaluated. Wellness is all around us; it’s in the restaurant, in the bed. If that’s how it is, why do we need a spa?”

Zinan stressed the importance of integrating various elements that contribute to mental, physical and spiritual well-being into wellness.

“We have to have a broader focus, and integrate the pillar of rejuvenation with the pillar of activity,” he said.

Second panel hosted as part of the Hotelier Maldives Wellness Summit held at Kurumba Maldives on Wednesday. PHOTO/ HOTELIER MALDIVES

Once the panel concluded, Hougaard taught the audience a simple meditation technique.

Next was a case study on sustainability by two Soneva Fushi personnel, Gordon Jackson, Waste to Wealth Manager, and Ahmed Moomin, Community Engagement Manager.

Gordon explained how pruned branches were turned into sawdust for growing mushrooms, composting food waste that goes to organic gardens and reusing Styrofoam with glass to build lightweight bricks to support new structures.

Moomin went over Soneva’s community engagement projects, including holding learn to swim programmes and water sports festivals, beach clean-ups, and the exchange of knowledge between the resort and local communities.

“We learn from each other as equals,” he said.

Their presentation was followed by an introduction to sleep therapy by Shosil Mahato, the Spa Manager at Velaa Private Island.

“Sleep therapy will enhance your productivity, as productivity depends on a clear mind,” he said, after several minutes of lulling attendees to tranquillity.

Renate Hermes, Group Spa Director at Duniye Spa, speaks at the Hotelier Maldives Wellness Summit held at Kurumba Maldives on Wednesday. PHOTO/ HOTELIER MALDIVES

On behalf of the organisers, Mohamed Mamduh, Managing Director of Perspective Pvt Ltd (the publisher of Hotelier Maldives), extended his thanks to participants and sponsors, noting that the event had been a success as a number of issues around wellness was covered and would be fuel for further discourse on the subject.

Hotelier Maldives’ Wellness Summit 2017 was supported by Warisan Hospitality and COSMERC as Gold Sponsors. The Silver Sponsor of the event was Scubaspa and Morteza Capital joined the event as Knowledge Partner.


Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) holds its 34th Annual General Meeting



The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) held its 34th Annual General Meeting at Kurumba Maldives today, with a total of 100 members in attendance. 

The day’s events began with a welcome address from the Chairman of MATI, Mr. Mohamed Umar, who also presided over the session. The agenda included an address from the Secretary General, Mr. Ahmed Nazeer, the review and approval of the minutes of the 33rd AGM, the review and adoption of the Annual Report and Financial Reports for 2023, the approval of the 2024 budget, the appointment of auditors for 2024, the welcoming of new members and election of executive board members to the two vacant positions (by-election).

In the member discussion session, the following topics were covered: the Government’s aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2023 and renewable energy generation in the Tourism Industry, new terminal of Velana International Airport and developments, employment challenges, the Industrial Relations Act and trade unions, environmental conservation and the significance of creating and executing efficient management plans for protected areas like the South Ari Marine Protected Area (SAMPA).

Following the official proceedings, the Minister of Tourism Hon. Ibrahim Faisal and the Minister of Economic Development and Trade Hon. Mohamed Saeed joined the forum. The Ministers provided remarks and engaged in a Member Q&A session. This session provided members with the chance to directly engage with the Ministers and delve into crucial industry topics. The queries focused on the Economic Outlook, forthcoming development plans and  immediate challenges and issues affecting the Tourism Industry.

A video presentation was also showcased that delved into the extensive work undertaken by MATI in 2023. The video also touched upon the Tourism Industry’s performance over the past 5 years, as well as the current and projected human resource capacity of the sector.

In his closing remarks, the Secretary General highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing industry challenges and called for greater unison amongst industry stakeholders, ending with an acknowledgement of the promising start to the year in terms of arrivals.

Executive Board Members elected to the 2 vacant positions (by-election):

  1. Ibrahim Shareef, CEO and Managing Director of Maldives Airports Company Limited
  2. Renato De Olivera, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands and representative of Marriott International
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Unlocking power of travel storytelling at Travel Creators Exchange 2024



Join us for the Travel Creators Exchange 2024, taking place on February 1, 2024, at the Hotel Jen in Male’, Maldives.

This dynamic event provides a platform for networking and collaboration among Maldives-based travel creators, fostering connections, idea-sharing, and the establishment of lasting partnerships to expand opportunities and monetise content.

Our lineup of distinguished speakers includes:

  • Zihuny Rasheed, Deputy Managing Director of MMPRC, will present on “Power of Digital Storytelling: Collaborative Strategies for Destination Promotion.” MMPRC actively markets the Maldives globally, utilising a comprehensive approach that includes travel trade shows, roadshows, digital marketing, and more.
  • Amjad Thaufeeg, Commercial Director of Kuda Villingili Maldives Resort, brings over 23 years of hospitality industry experience. He will discuss “The Role of Content in Tourism Marketing,” drawing on expertise in revenue, customer service, sales & marketing, and human capital development.
  • Suresh Dissanayake, Assistant Vice President of Sales & Marketing of Heritance Aarah & Adaaran Resorts, with nearly two decades of experience, will shed light on “What does a Sales and Marketing Director Do?” He brings extensive luxury hospitality experience and a proven track record in sales, distribution, and marketing.
  • Vishal Amir Ahmed, a versatile cinematographer and content creator, will explore “Who is a Content Creator.” Currently associated with Various Arts Studio, he specialises in providing multimedia solutions to various clients.

Organised by Maldives Insider, Maldives Virtual Tour, Travel Trade Maldives, and Hotelier Maldives, this collaborative effort aims to empower Maldives-based travel content creators and elevate the Maldives as a premier destination for captivating travel storytelling.

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Acclaimed contemporary artist Ana Pušica explores perpetuality and community at Patina Maldives



Ana Pušica Kramer, an internationally  acclaimed contemporary artist, joins Patina Maldives for an exclusive  art residency in the now infamous Fari Art Atelier. From January 22 to  February 22, 2024, Ana Pušica will grace the shores of the Fari Islands,  weaving a vibrant narrative of colour and emotion across her larger  than-life canvases. 

Her artistry transcends boundaries, melding abstraction and figuration into awe-inspiring masterpieces. Having exhibited globally, from New York to Beijing, Ana’s paintings are a physical, intuitive act rooted in movement.  Described as a “beautiful fluorescent thunderstorm,” Ana’s art explores light and colour, capturing the energy of life itself. 

The Fari Art Atelier which has previously hosted the likes of Daniel Arsham, Chris Stamp and David Nott, will be transformed into Ana’s studio and gallery showcasing her enthralling artworks—a mesmerising journey through poetry, memory, and the vibrant interplay of colour. Guests at Patina are invited to delve into Ana’s world, where each stroke reveals layers of meaning, evoking sensations of intense lightness and boundless interpretation. 

At Patina Maldives, Ana will immerse herself in a month-long residency, inviting the Patina Malidves community or guests and team to witness her artistic fervour firsthand. Guests will have the rare opportunity not only to observe her creative process but also to engage with and create art alongside this luminary.

Experience artistry at its most exclusive

Art Exhibition
Experience Ana’s captivating exploration of colour and emotion in her spellbinding artworks displayed at the Fari Atelier.

Art Workshops: Message in a Bottle
As part of a collaborative artwork, Ana invites Patina guests to participate in short workshops, actively contributing to the creation of a permanent installation at Patina Maldives.

Open Studio Session
Join Ana for an exclusive open studio session, offering guests a behind the-scenes look at her creative process.

Ana Pušica residency package
Discover a world where creativity knows no bounds as Ana Pušica, the maestro of contemporary art, transforms Patina Maldives into an immersive canvas of inspiration.

Book now to secure your experience.
For more information and reservations, please visit Patina Maldives or contact

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