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Ahead of opening, Raffles Maldives Meradhoo appoints Olivier Larcher as General Manager

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Raffles Maldives Meradhoo has appointed Olivier Larcher as the resort’s General Manager, ahead of its opening.

A native of France, Larcher brings with him over two decades of experience in luxury hospitality, having worked with renowned international hospitality brands such as Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, and Dalian Wanda Group. His career has taken him to countries such as South Africa, Morocco, China and Bora Bora.

Prior to taking up the General Manager’s post at Raffles Maldives Meradhoo in April, Larcher served as the General Manager of Sofitel Foshan in China for two years — his first posting with AccorHotels.

“We are excited to be launching AccorHotels’ first flagship Raffles property in the Maldives and welcome Larcher aboard,” Gilles Cretallaz, Vice President of Operations, Luxury Brands for Upper Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and the Maldives at AccorHotels, was quoted in a statement, as saying.

“He demonstrates an immense passion for refined resorts in unique and cultural destinations and is a strategic new member of our executive team in the Maldives.”

The French multinational hotel group took over the management of the existing resort on the island of Meradhoo from Dubai-based hospitality group Jumeirah in September, with plans to reposition the luxury resort under the iconic Raffles Hotels and Resorts brand.

Set to open in late 2018 after major enhancements to the existing Dhevanafushi Maldives Luxury Resort Managed by AccorHotels, Raffles Maldives Meradhoo Resort boasts 21 island villas and 16 ocean villas with private pools, three restaurants, a scenic cocktail bar and an array of facilities and activities to relax, rejuvenate and reinvigorate the body, mind and spirit.

These facilities include an award winning luxury spa, overwater fitness centre, yoga programmes, water sports, private dining options, 24-hour butler and private chef service, along with snorkelling and diving at its finest. The resort’s PADI-certified dive centre offers adventures through the wonders of some of most breath-taking coral reefs in the world.

A 55-minute flight from the main Velana International Airport and a 15-minute speedboat transfer can access the resort, located on Meradhoo island in Gaafu Alifu atoll.

A newcomer to the Maldives booming tourism industry, AccorHotels is on a major expansion drive, with three existing properties and two under development in the island nation.

Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort, the only resort in the Maldives with direct access to an airport, welcomed the first group of tourists in August. The resort, located in the southern Gaafu Alif atoll, was officially inaugurated in late September.

Meanwhile, Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi officially opened in April with 112 luxury villas, a 200-metre infinity pool, and Maldives’ first coral regeneration project in the form of an Underwater Art Installation by celebrated underwater naturalist and artist Jason deCaires Taylor.

AccorHotels has also signed up to manage another resort being developed in Gaafu Alif atoll.

Set to open next year, the Pullman Maldives Maamutaa resort is a traditional ‘one island, one resort’ property located a 10-minute speedboat ride away from its sister property, the Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort. The five star resort will offer upscale modern facilities such as two swimming pools, a sunset bar overlooking the lagoon, a luxury spa, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, a kids club, beach playground, tennis courts, gourmet restaurants, organic gardens, a dive centre and a water sports centre.

Alongside Raffles, Pullman, Sofitel, Swissôtel and MGallery, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is part of the luxury brands portfolio of AccorHotels. With 75 properties in 24 countries, hotels under the Fairmont banner offer guests an extraordinary place that is created by combining unique architecture and structure, expressive decor and artistry, magnificent features and exceptional service all in one great location.

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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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