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Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort appoints Candice Barwell as sales, marketing director

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Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa has appointed Candice Barwell as its new Director of Sales and Marketing.

In a statement, Shangri-La said Barwell, who is set to join the team at Villingili this month, will be responsible for planning and implementing the sales and marketing strategy, optimising the hotel’s revenue and market share. She will continue to establish Shangri-La’s Villingili as one of the leading luxury resorts in the Maldives, it added.

Barwell has over 20 years of experience in the luxury hotel and hospitality industry having worked with some of the world’s leading hotel brands across Europe and the UAE. She is excited to join Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts for the first time following her most recent post as Director of Sales and Marketing at Rosewood, Abu Dhabi where she achieved the highest revenue since the hotel opened in 2012. Prior to this, Barwell held the position as Complex Director of Sales overseeing Starwood Hotels and Resorts opening of three hotels in Dubai, including the Emirate’s first St Regis and W branded properties.

According to Shangri-La, Barwell’s leadership skills, attention to detail, hands-on approach and wealth of experience will ensure that she will be a valuable addition to the Shangri-La’s Villingili team.

“I am delighted to be joining the dynamic team here at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa. It is certainly exciting to be part of the prestigious Shangri-La group and I look forward to working with this talented team and promoting this flagship property offering a unique experience in the Maldives,” Barwell was quoted in the statement, as saying.

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa is located in the southernmost Maldivian atoll of Addu, just a five-minute boat ride away from Gan International Airport.

The resort is a collection of 132 private villas nestled across emerald green jungle and stunning turquoise shoreline. From private ocean retreats to tropical tree houses with panoramic views, resort accommodation features six distinct styles of villa and two presidential villas. All villas feature both indoor and outdoor showers, luxurious oval bathtubs and exquisitely designed silver Jali influenced “his and hers” vanity counters.

The resort has three restaurants, each with a distinct vibe, serving cuisine to suit all tastes. More adventurous guests can enjoy a lunch or dinner served on board a luxury yacht, or a romantic meal in the jungle, as part of the resort’s Dine by Design programme.

Guests can also enjoy an extensive range of activities both on land and at sea: indulge in tranquillity at CHI, The Spa, explore the luscious tropical forest, play a round at the only nine-hole golf course in the Maldives or dive into an aquatic playground of water sport activities.

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Maldives celebrates arrival of 2024’s 1 millionth tourist

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Maldives on Thursday welcomed the one millionth tourist to visit this year.

The one millionth tourist is a Thai named Sutapa Amonwivat, who arrived from Singapore with her husband and two children. This is her second visit to Maldives.

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) and the Ministry of Tourism gave a warm welcome to Sutapa at the Velana International Airport (VIA) Thursday afternoon. She was welcomed at the VIA by tourism minister Ibrahim Faisal, MMPRC Managing Director Ibrahim Shiury and senior officials of various relevant agencies.

After welcoming her with traditional offerings, she was presented with various gifts by the ministry, MMPRC, customs, immigration, Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) and Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA).

Maldives reached one million tourists in June, three weeks earlier than last year. The number of tourists reached one million on July 16, 2023.

Maldives expects to reach 2 million tourists this year.

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New air route connects Chongqing to Maldives

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Chongqing Airlines on Monday began its inaugural flights to Maldives.

The Chongqing-Male route, scheduled three times a week, is expected to strengthen the bonds between China and the Maldives, opening up exciting new opportunities for tourism and cultural exchange.

The inaugural flight was welcomed upon its arrival at Velana International Airport (VIA) in Maldives, where local officials and tourism representatives expressed their enthusiasm for this new development.

“We warmly welcome our friends from China to our beautiful islands. This new connection strengthens our bonds and opens up new opportunities for tourism,” the tourism ministry said on X.

Maldives currently welcomes four airlines from China, including China Eastern, Beijing Capital Airlines, Xiamen Airlines.

In January, Maldives government urged tourism stakeholders in both Maldives and China to ramp up efforts to restore China’s position as the primary source market for Maldives tourism, a status held before the onset of Covid-19.

China, being the largest source market for Maldives tourism before the pandemic, saw a resumption of tourist arrivals from January 2023 after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. In 2023, the Maldives welcomed 187,118 Chinese tourists, marking a significant recovery in numbers. This year, the Maldives has welcomed the most number of tourists from China, with over 107,940 or 11.5 percent of total arrivals by June 12. 

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CROSSROADS Maldives Introduces Weixin Pay at resorts for seamless guest experience

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CROSSROADS Maldives has introduced WeChat Pay, widely known as Weixin Pay in China, across its world-class resorts, SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, and Hard Rock Hotel Maldives. This payment option is made available to enhance the convenience and overall experience for guests from China, making their stay in the Maldives more enjoyable and hassle-free.

Understanding the needs of the diverse guests, CROSSROADS Maldives has integrated WeChat Pay into operations, allowing guests from China to easily and securely conduct transactions using a payment method familiar to them. The introduction of WeChat Pay is a testament to CROSSROADS Maldives’ dedication to enhancing guest satisfaction by offering exceptional experiences at every turn. What is also expected through this initiative is that the guests could benefit from better foreign exchange rates, translating to better savings on their expenditures during their stay.

The option is available for guests in-house conveniently at both resorts as well as across the Marina at CROSSROADS Maldives where a wider variety of unparalleled dining and retail experiences are available for all guests. The day visitors from China will also therefore equally benefit from this new introduction at the Maldives’ premier multi-island integrated leisure destination.

SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, is a vibrant tropical escape that offers unique and locally inspired experiences. The resort features spacious rooms and villas, a variety of dining options, and an array of recreational activities designed to cater to the desires of modern travellers. Guests can escape to the island’s SAiisational natural beauty, enjoy water sports, and indulge in spa treatments, all while relishing the personalised service that defines Hilton’s Curio Collection.

Hard Rock Hotel Maldives brings the iconic Hard Rock spirit to the tranquil shores of the Maldives. This family-friendly resort offers a perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment, featuring music-inspired experiences, live performances, and the brand’s signature amenities. With luxurious accommodations, diverse dining options, and a plethora of activities for all ages, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives ensures an unforgettable holiday experience for every guest.

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