Guesthouse owners and industry stakeholders from Maldives gathered on Saturday along with travel agents from around the world to discuss opportunities as well as challenges in the thriving industry.
Organised by local PR firm Maldives Getaways, second edition of the Guesthouses Maldives Conference took place at Paradise Island Resort and was attended by officials of 170 guesthouses across the Maldives. Fifty local and international travel agents specialising in budget travel as well as representatives from leading online travel agents such as Expedia and Booking.com were also in attendance.
An impressive lineup of industry professionals and experts joined the conference as keynote speakers.
The conference, officially titled Dhiraagu Guesthouses Maldives Conference 2017, began with a speech from Shoko Noda, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to the Maldives who attended as the chief guest. She shared her insights into the importance of sustainable tourism and supporting the local community.
Asitha Jayawardena and Pemindee Gamage, both Account Managers at Booking.com, spoke about attracting tourists to the Maldives in light of the increasing number of beds in the country.
Abhay Khanna, the Senior Market Manager for Maldives at Expedia Inc., addressed the attendees on how guesthouses can use online travel agents to grow tourism in local islands and briefed them on how Expedia could be a tool for growth.
The topic of guest handling and training for guesthouses was dealt by Vaibhav Garg, Cluster Director of Talent and Culture for AccorHotels Maldives. His speech also guided guesthouses to run in a more efficient, responsible and beneficial manner.
Shaahina Ali, Chairperson for Parley Maldives, demonstrated how the organisation has been combating the problem of ocean plastic. She urged guesthouse owners to actively participate in initiatives to reduce single use plastic, by organising activities such as beach cleanups and awareness programmes for children.
Ahmed Karam, President of Guesthouse Association of Maldives, presented a review of the guesthouse industry and highlighted the future developments.
In addition to the keynote speeches, representatives of official partners gave presentations about their products.
Title sponsor Dhiraagu introduced a new product called Dhiraagu Guesthouse TV, which is a customisable in-room multimedia system, and announced an expansion of its Ban the Bags campaign to include guesthouses, while gold sponsor State Trading Organisation (STO) launched a new product from Japanese paint maker Nippon, called Nippon MozzieGuard. Other gold sponsors, including Allied Insurance and Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC), gave presentations on products such as Allied’s guesthouse insurance plan and a new outboard engine marketed by MTCC.
Maldives flagship carrier Maldivian, which is a silver sponsor, outlined its efforts to support the guesthouse industry. Another silver sponsor Hatton National Bank (HNB) and its affiliate partner in the Maldives Villa Travels gave a presentation about the Sri Lanka-based bank’s new digital payment processing system, while officials of Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) briefed the attendees about the ongoing mega project to expand and upgrade the main Velana International Airport.
The one-day conference also saw networking sessions where guesthouse owners and travel agents exchanged ways to expand their partnerships. Hospitality suppliers and technology companies also promoted their products that are targeted towards the budget travel market and the guesthouse industry.
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 330 guesthouses have started operations over the past five years as the number of travellers that choose to stay in guesthouses rise.
The annual Guesthouses Maldives Conference, endorsed by central bank Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), Association of Travel Agents (ATA) Maldives and Guesthouse Association of Maldives, is aimed at bringing together owners and key stakeholders from the guesthouses and travel industry to discuss and share ideas on the challenges as well as the opportunities in the industry. Through the invitation-only conference, the organisers target to find ways to bring in 500,000 tourists to guesthouses across the Maldives by the year 2020.
The first edition of the conference, held in Male in September 2016, was attended by over 160 guesthouse operators, local and international travel agents, tour operators, online travel agents (OTAs), airlines, government agencies and business leaders.
Atmosphere Core expands in South Asia with Atmosphere Living ultra-luxury residences
Atmosphere Core, a globally renowned name in hospitality, has announced the launch of Atmosphere Living as part of its continued expansion in South Asia. Headquartered in India, this new company will offer branded ultra-luxury residences with customised end-to-end amenities and indulgences, including coffee lounges, wine cellars, private transport, and bespoke concierge services.
The global branded residences market has experienced a remarkable 150 percent growth over the past decade, and projections indicate a surge in demand. With the real estate veteran Sandeep Ahuja at the helm as Managing Director, Atmosphere Living is strategically positioned to capitaliSe on this demand.
Atmosphere Living will focus on a conscious design philosophy. All properties will be built in harmony with the environment and will incorporate features such as smart recycling, efficient waste and water management, and green energy solutions.
Sharing his insights on the launch, Salil Panigrahi, Managing Director, Atmosphere Core, said, “Atmosphere Living will bring a distinctive offering to India, and is a brand to watch out for. It will combine Ahuja’s decades of experience, knowledge, and industry network in real estate with Atmosphere’s hospitality expertise, introducing unparalleled serviced residences in India.”
Positioned in major metropolitan areas, established second-home destinations, and undiscovered scenic locales nationwide, these projects will also present lucrative investment opportunities. Elite homeowners will have the option to lease their residences back to Atmosphere Living, allowing them to be rented out for income generation.
Sandeep Ahuja, Managing Director, Atmosphere Living, said, “There is currently a gap in the Indian realty landscape for ultra-indulgent serviced homes catering to affluent consumers. We aim to bridge this gap by curating serviced homes that offer indulgences such as entering homes using smart key cards, 24/7 butler services, fine dining, and co-working spaces, among others. Our ultimate desire is to enable our customers to experience a life of true luxury and exclusivity.”
A night of celestial wonders, luxury, and cosmic inspiration at Anantara Kihavah SKY Observatory by British astronaut Tim Peake
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas celebrated a historic milestone with the exclusive visit of the renowned British astronaut, Tim Peake. On the evening of November 2, Astronaut Peake hosted an exclusive space talk at SKY Observatory, the finest overwater observatory in the Indian Ocean, housing the most powerful telescope in the Maldives.
Perched gracefully over the pristine Maldivian waters, SKY Observatory provided an idyllic setting for this extraordinary event, complemented by a stunning sunset. The exclusive gathering attracted a full house of eager guests to a delightful evening that seamlessly blended science, luxury, and natural beauty.
The evening commenced with a lovely cocktail reception, where guests were serenaded by the soulful tunes of a live saxophone band. Attendees savoured exquisite cocktails and canapés as they eagerly awaited Tim Peake’s presentation.
Tim Peake’s talk unveiled his personal journey, where he shared his path to becoming an astronaut and narrated the rigorous training that astronauts undergo. He provided insights into life in space, the daily challenges faced by astronauts, and the awe-inspiring experiences he encountered during his
historic mission. He also offered a glimpse into his exciting future projects, leaving the audience both inspired and spellbound.
Following Tim’s presentation, an interactive Q&A session allowed guests to engage directly with the British astronaut. The audience posed thoughtful questions, deepening their understanding of astronauts’ unique experiences and the intricacies of space exploration.
The event was further enriched by the presence of the resort’s three SKY gurus, Hammadh Rasheed, Zunnoon Ahmed, and Ali Arushal, who conducted a stargazing session for the guests afterward.
The success of the event was evident in the overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees, who left with a deeper appreciation for space exploration and a memorable evening to cherish.
The evening marked a significant moment in Anantara Kihavah’s history, showcasing the resort’s commitment to offering unique and memorable experiences for its guests. The presence of Tim Peake, a celebrated astronaut and highly accomplished author, added an extraordinary dimension to the resort’s already spectacular offerings.
Tim Peake is a renowned British astronaut who made history as the first official British astronaut to visit the International Space Station (ISS) and conduct a spacewalk during his six-month mission. He also achieved the remarkable feat of running the London Marathon from space. Beyond his extraordinary space endeavours, Tim is also a bestselling author with his most recent book Space: A thrilling human history published earlier this month.
An astronomer’s paradise, Baa Atoll in the Maldives, is one of the best places on earth to enjoy stargazing due to its proximity to the equator. Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas promises a voyage of discovery on a private Indian Ocean Island, with Sky—an overwater observatory and luxury cocktail bar—providing guests a chance to sip champagne under the stars and explore the Universe.
Visit Maldives website adds atolls segment to showcase diverse regions
Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation’s (MMPRC/ Visit Maldives) has added a new segment to the official Visit Maldives Website specified for atolls showcasing the diversity of the Maldives.
The segment, now live at atolls.visitmaldives.com provides in depth information regarding the different regions of the Maldives, divided by atolls, to refine the traveller’s experience, commencing with an in-depth exploration of Addu Atoll and Fuvahmulah Atoll.
With 26 atolls, the Maldives offers a wide array of unique accommodations and awe-inspiring travel experiences, and this informative section of our website will serve as a gateway to discover the hidden treasures unique to each area. This falls under MMPRC’s initiatives to encourage tourism growth in all regions of the Maldives, broadening exposure to the diverse tourism products available in the Maldives.
The goal is to elevate Visit Maldives’ digital marketing landscape by showcasing the Maldives as more than just a honeymoon destination with various accommodation options. This initiative is driven by a desire to increase awareness about the distinctive offerings within each of the Maldives’ atolls. It aims to positively shape their perception of the Sunny Side of Life brand by curating engaging content that highlights the unique features of the atolls and diverse experiences available in the islands.
Additionally, the initiative will target the affordable luxury market to promote the Maldives as the most appealing option for short holidays and weekend getaways under a unified Maldives brand umbrella.
MMPRC aims to continue exploring other atolls in the Maldives as well, encouraging growth and tourism development in all regions of the Maldives, building on the foundation we have created to promote the destination beyond the traditional paradigms of sun, sand, and sea.
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