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Global travel writers, industry professionals come together to discuss Maldives tourism promotion



Travel bloggers and social media influencers from around the world gathered together with professionals from the Maldives tourism industry on Sunday to discuss ways to use new media technologies in promoting the Maldives as a tourist destination.

The first ever global travel writers’ conference in the Maldives kicked off Sunday morning at Bandos Maldives with a ceremony attended by tourism minister Moosa Zameer and top officials from relevant government agencies.

Following the inauguration ceremony, the World Travel Writers’ Conference officially began with a keynote speech by New Zealand-born travel blogger Elizabeth Carlson on sharing experiences and the art of storytelling. In her speech, Elizabeth spoke on the importance of storytelling, and highlighted how it is related to content marketing in the present day.

Elizabeth delivers her keynote speech. PHOTO/ MALDIVES TV

It was followed by a keynote speech by Dr Sunny Umar, COO at local PR agency Maldives Getaways, on the significance of cultural tourism to the archeological history of the Maldives.

“Maldives is commonly known as a honeymoon or family destination, but the country should be promoted for its history, which is rich and full of intrigue. History is a strong selling point for travel enthusiasts, and that Maldives has a lot to offer history wise,” he said.

Dr Sunny Umar delivers his keynote speech. PHOTO/ MALDIVES TV

The two keynote speeches were followed by the first panel discussion, on the topic of turning factual stories into crafted narratives.

Moderated by Maldives Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) Secretary General Ibrahim Munaz and participated by Elizabeth, Sunny, Sardinia-based Claudia Tavani, Filipino travel blogger Ana Patricia Velarmino and Indian travel blogger Shivya Nath, the panelists agreed that travellers’ account plays a major role in creating a positive image, but that there is so much more to it than just standard of service. They noted that in order to tell a positive narrative of a destination, research on market influencers and writers has to be conducted.

The first panel discussion of the conference. PHOTO/ MALDIVES TV

Three more keynote speeches and two more panel discussions were held during the conference.

In her keynote speech, award-winning luxury travel writer Gina Samarato highlighted how multimedia plays a vital role in the travel industry, especially in bringing different experiences to life. She noted that combining her writings with images creates a much more positive effect than just text-based articles.

Meanwhile, local travel blogger Ahmed Ijaz spoke about how travel trends of Maldivians have changed throughout the years, noting that tourism has broadened both inbound and outbound tourism in the country.

The two keynote speeches were followed by the second panel, moderated by Mariyam Wisam, Registrar of Companies at the economic ministry. Gina, British travel photographer Stuart Vincent Forster, luxury travel writer Cacinda Maloney, adventure filmmaker John C Yoshihara, Russian travel blogger Yulia Safutdinova and Dr Ahmed Shan participated in the panel.

The moderator began by asking the panelists a simple question: when you wanted to come to the Maldives, how did you start your search? And what difference does it make? All the panelists admitted to have googled about the country, the location and what could be done there. For Gina, the cultural experience she has had in the Maldives was something she had not expected as it was not amongst the search results.

The second panel discussion of the conference. PHOTO/ MALDIVES TV

The last keynote speech of the conference was delivered by Janet Newenham, multi-award winning travel writer and blogger from Ireland, on what bloggers do. According to Janet, the work of bloggers and social media influencers is all about sharing their life in real-time. Sharing what they do via social media tools such as Instagram Stories, Snapchat, Facebook Live and more allows their followers around the world to know what they are doing exactly and to connect with them, she said.

Janet Newenham delivers her keynote speech. PHOTO/ MALDIVES TV

Janet’s speech was followed by the last panel discussion of the conference, on the topic: are luxury travel destinations failing in their storytelling?

Mariyam Waseema, the Senior Policy Executive at the environment ministry, moderated the panel, which began with a question on how destinations could be promoted through storytelling. The panelists, who included Janet, Dutch travel blogger Tom Grond, travel photographer and videographer Allison Green, British travel blogger Jayne Gorman, PR and Communications Manager at Kandima Maldives Shafraz Hafiz and Corporate General Manager at Adaaran Resorts Suresh Dissanayake, noted the importance of incorporating more components such as travellers’ experiences into destination marketing. Destinations should be selling experiences rather than brands by including authentic stories that connect with travellers, they said.

The conference will officially conclude with a gala dinner and a networking session at Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi Monday evening.


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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