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Focus on US Default Crisis



Maldives Promotion House – Tourism Professionals all over the world have begun to discuss the depth of the impact from the fallout of the US “Default” crisis and the potential credit rating decline. Experts in Maldives have also expressed concerns about the ongoing and worldwide crisis that will touch people throughout the tourism and travel industry.

While it is critical that experts do not get tangled up in rumours or widely spreading headlines, the crisis has less to do with raising an artificial debt ceiling and more to do with simple debt. According to Dr. Peter E. Tarlow, the President of Tourism and More, Special to ETN, many Western nations, including the US, simply spend more money than they take in.

“Though most Western nations have practiced some form of this economic policy for decades. The unfortunate results of overspending have created highly unstable societies in countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland. In all of these nations, deficit spending has been instituted as a means of paying for what is often called “The Social Net,” and there is the assumption that it is the government’s job to “Smooth” out a society’s business and economic bumps,” Dr. Tarlow said.

Dr. Tarlow further explains his view. While in the US, this social net has always existed, the government participation has been much less, while traditionally, Americans have tended to rely on volunteerism and community-service providers, such as religious institutions, rather than government bureaucracies. Thus the social net has existed but at far less governmental cost. Some economists believe that due to the less reliance on government to provide the social net, the US, at least until now, has been able to avoid the economic tragedies that are now occurring across much of Southern Europe.

Despite whatever happens in Washington, there are a number of other factors that will impact tourism. Among these are:

1. Even if the most extreme budget bill is passed, the US is still spending more than USD1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) dollars more than it receives.

2. US economic national product is down to less than 1.4 percent. That means that economic growth is at about zero.

3. In the US, unemployment is now increasing and housing prices are continuing to be down.

4. China is now facing a major economic slowdown.

5. Germany is now feeling the first signs of a looming recession and may no longer be able to bail out Europe’s so-called PIIGS countries (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain). While the euro will not disappear tomorrow, its longevity may now be in doubt.

Here are some of the ways that tourism and travel professionals can expect the current economic crisis to impact their industry and some ideas for economic survival in highly turbulent times.

In this global economy, be prepared for continual currency readjustments. For years, the US dollar acted as the one stable currency. This fact is no longer true and unstable currencies in an interconnected world means that tourism officials must be prepared for price fluctuations. The impact of such unstable pricing means not only will many tourism providers be unable to set market prices but also that business plans will need to be updated on a continual basis.

Tourism, especially leisure tourism, is a discretionary expense and, therefore, vulnerable to mood swings. If the public is fearful of not having enough money to pay for basic necessities, then for many people, there is a tendency to pull back. This pulling back does not mean that people will cease to travel. It does mean that they may seek less expensive options, and for shorter time periods. Those tourism businesses that are in or close to major population centres have a great many new opportunities, while those destinations that are dependent on long-haul travel and more lengthy stays may have some challenges to overcome.

Expect this period of economic turbulence to be here for quite some time. Despite what politicians may say, the bottom line is that no one has a plan that is politically acceptable. In today’s world, there are more voters than workers and that means that politicians are afraid to make decisions that may cost them an election.

Foreign, non-business travel should decline as the cost of travel combined with lower salaries will impact the way citizens from major industrialized nations spend their money. This decline in foreign travel will be especially hurtful to those parts of the world, such as the Caribbean that have long depended on foreign visitors and have a reputation for being expensive, offering poor customer service and tending toward being unsafe.

Here are some ideas to prepare for what may be a difficult economic year.

Develop creative bundling packages. For example, create packages that allow business travel to be combined with family vacations. Encourage hotels to include breakfasts, Internet services, and other amenities within the cost of a room.

Keep prices as low as possible. No one likes to cut their profit margin, but some profit is better than no profit at all. Let people know that you care and that your prices reflect your concern for the public’s well-being.

Provide the best customer service possible. When money is tight, our tolerance for bad experiences is even less. These are the times not to make customer service mistakes, and if a mistake is made, make sure to apologize and correct the mistake. In economically-challenging times, no one wants to hear excuses for customer service errors.

In the US, the weak dollar means that many foreigners will find the US a highly-affordable vacation option. US tourism professionals need to internationalize their product and their outlook so as to attract both European and Asian visitors.

Many Latin American nations, due to the low cost of labour and short food supply distances, can also become new tourism destinations. However, issues of poor customer service, violence, and crime waves against tourists often plague this part of the world.

Seek markets that are closer to home. Smaller communities and communities that offer short-term tourism (2 or 3 days) can see increases in their potential market if they can solve problems such as: what to do on rainy days, lack of night time activities, and how to entertain children during inclement weather such as snow storms.

Unfortunately, the travel and tourism industry cannot change the world’s economic policies, but travel and tourism can teach political leaders around the world several important lessons. Among these are: during economically-challenging times, talk less and do more.

Dr. Tarlow has explained that this is not the time simply to market what you have, but rather it is the time to launch new products and become innovative. Creativity and out-of-the box thinking are essential skills for such a challenging economy and the travel and tourism industry are not going to go away.

According to Maleeh Jamal, the Secretary General of Maldives Association for Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO), the Default Crisis will have a worldwide impact. However he also suggests that the direct impact to Maldives would be minor.

“The US market of tourists that visit Maldives is relatively small. Because of that, Maldives will experience only a minor direct effect from the crisis. But Europe will be highly affected by this and thus will create a major effect on tourism in Maldives, because the majority of the tourists to Maldives come from Europe,” Maleeh said.

“China also dominates the tourism market in Maldives and is a major credit partner to the US. So to some extend China’s economy will suffer, leading to a negative effect on the Maldivian Tourism. Moreover, the current statistics show that the world economy may not improve within the next two years. So if Maldives is to sustain its tourism, we have to device a strategic plan to focus on the upper class or the rich and wealthy market as well,” he added.

No matter what the credit rating may be, no matter what the cost of money, people are still going to travel. However, for tourism and travel to prosper rather than merely survive, the industry is going to have to be much more creative, innovative, and service oriented. Tourism centres that can choose to not to provide good service, offer poor security, and lack of new product innovation will not survive. Those, however who choose to offer excellent service and continually reinvent their product in a safe and secure environment are bound to not only survive, but in the end, will prosper.


THE OZEN COLLECTION welcomes new General Managers: Elisabeth Alleyne at OZEN LIFE MAADHOO and Monica Coppetta at OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI



Elisabeth Alleyne and Monica Coppetta, join as the General Managers at OZEN LIFE MAADHOO and OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI, respectively, continuing with the progressive brand’s tradition of women leading the resorts.

THE OZEN COLLECTION, an exceptional hospitality brand by Atmosphere Core, is thrilled to announce the appointment of two new General Managers: Elisabeth Alleyne at OZEN LIFE MAADHOO, effective from October 2023, and Monica Coppetta at OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI, effective from November 2023. In their new roles, these two veteran leaders will continue to build upon the strong brand foundation of REFINED ELEGANCE, positioning their respective resorts as the destination of choice for sophisticated global travelers.

Elisabeth Alleyne, a Swedish-Barbadian National, brings over two decades of diverse hospitality experience across Europe, the Caribbean, and in leading luxury cruise liners. A passionate leader, Elisabeth is adept at running smooth operations, regardless of the size of the property. She will play a pivotal role as the General Manager of OZEN LIFE MAADHOO, and says, “My leadership style involves inspiring colleagues with creativity, innovation, and dedication, ensuring opportunities for skill building, internal promotions, and professional development. I will always be hands-on and visible in operations, making sure our guests have an unforgettable visit.”

Italian hotelier Monica Coppetta possesses a strong business acumen, a drive for results, and the ability to articulate luxury, having worked in global boutique and luxury environments for over two decades. With a proven track record in delivering results, whether from the perspective of profit, process, or people, Monica is a perfect fit for the role of General Manager at OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI. She states, “I like to connect emotionally with my team, inspiring them to bring their best every day. Creating an inclusive work environment is very important to me, one where women – and all colleagues – are heard, cared for, and have equal opportunities.”

From the very beginning, influential female leaders have shaped the brand. Women are integral to the workforce at THE OZEN COLLECTION, and both properties have always had women General Managers. This appointment further adds to the stellar female senior leadership already in place at Atmosphere Core.

We have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion across the company’s portfolio of three brands and eight resorts. And I am delighted to welcome the two talented and dedicated hoteliers, Elisabeth Alleyne and Monica Coppetta to our team.” says Ashwin Handa, the Senior Vice President of Operations at Atmosphere Core.

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Crossroads Maldives appoints Frederic Lebegue as General Manager of Hard Rock Hotel  Maldives



Crossroads Maldives has announced the appointment of Mr. Frederic Lebegue as the  General Manager of Hard Rock Hotel Maldives. With a distinguished career spanning over four  decades, Mr. Lebegue brings a wealth of experience and an impressive track record of success  in the dynamic realm of the hospitality industry. 

Hailing from France, Mr. Lebegue is renowned for his value-driven leadership approach, and his  ability to foster development within diverse multicultural teams. His illustrious career includes  pivotal leadership roles at esteemed properties such as Paradis Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa,  Dinarobin Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa, and Harmonie Golf & Beach Estate in Mauritius, as  Cluster General Manager, Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa Fiji Islands, Double Tree by Hilton Fiji,  Sonaisali Island as Cluster General Manager, and Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort, and Conrad Bali  in Indonesia, as General Manager. 

His invaluable expertise has also significantly contributed to the Maldives tourism industry,  notably during his tenure as General Manager at Waldorf Astoria Maldives (JA Manafaru Maldives), and as the Director of Operations at Conrad Maldives, Rangali Island. Mr. Lebegue’s  ability to orchestrate high-performing teams that resonate with the unique rhythm of Hard Rock  culture and the wealth of Maldives’ experience he brings as a seasoned senior hospitality  professional are truly remarkable. 

Mr. Lebegue has consistently demonstrated his expertise in driving commercial, financial, and  sustainable performance. His accomplishments extend beyond the conventional notes,  encompassing successful tenures at renowned properties, large-scale renovation projects,  innovative team development strategies, and the implementation of resonant corporate social  responsibility programs. Beyond the spotlight of his professional accolades, Mr. Lebegue is not  just a maestro in the hospitality industry; he is a dedicated advocate for community initiatives.  As a board member actively engaged with various foundations supporting education and  sustainability goals, he sets a standard that perfectly harmonizes with the ethos of the Hard  Rock brand as well as one of the core pillars of sustainability goals for the brand – Save the  Planet.  

“We are turning up the volume of excitement as Mr. Lebegue joins us at Hard Rock Hotel  Maldives. His extensive experience, strategic vision, and unwavering commitment to excellence  will be the driving force behind the continued success and growth of our Hard Rock Hotel  Maldives,” stated Mr. Michael Marshall, Chief Executive Officer, and Graham Kiy, Area Vice  President Hotel Operations EMEA – Hard Rock International. “We eagerly anticipate the positive  impact of this much-anticipated addition to our leadership team.” 

Hard Rock Hotel Maldives is gearing up for a new era of excellence under Mr. Lebegue’s  guidance, where his passion for the industry will be the main riff in delivering unparalleled  guest experiences. This appointment marks a key chord in the brand’s commitment to providing  a rockin’ stay in the heart of the Maldives.

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Rashid Ahmadzada appointed as Executive Sous Chef at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa



Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa has announced the appointment of Rashid Ahmadzada as the new Executive Sous Chef. With an impressive fifteen years of culinary expertise, Rashid brings a wealth of experience and a passion for creating exceptional dishes that reflect culinary excellence. 

Before joining, Rashid served as Chef De Cuisine at JW Marriott Absheron in Azerbaijan and held various positions in well-established properties across Kazakhstan and Montenegro, consistently delivering outstanding service throughout his career. He is also known for his leadership in the kitchen, embracing his culinary team to achieve collective goals as a team. He is committed to continuously improving through active participation in various training programs and exposures. His dedication to culinary arts aligns seamlessly with Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa’s promises to provide unparalleled dining experiences with Back to Basic twist boasting across seven dining outlets, In Villa Dining, the curated Destination Dining, as well as banquet and catering. 

Beyond the kitchen, Rashid enjoys playing chess, curling himself in good books, and maintaining his fitness through regular exercise. Despite being away from his family, he is excited to embark on this new chapter in the Maldives, captivated by the beauty of the beach and its sunny weather.

Rashid Ahmadzada will be working alongside Executive Chef Riccardo Pinna, and both chefs are enthusiastic about elevating the culinary offerings at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa. Together, they aim to bring innovative and delectable dining experiences to guests, making the resort the preferred destination for not only the beauty of its island but also its culinary excellence.

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