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Tourism pioneer MU Maniku re-elected as MATI Chairman

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Tourism pioneer Mohamed Umar ‘MU’ Maniku has been elected as the chairman of Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) for another term.

MU Maniku, who leads Universal Enterprises, one of the largest conglomerates in the Maldives, was re-elected at the 29th annual general meeting of MATI held at Kurumba Maldives resort on Monday. He has been serving as the chairman of the association for over 30 years.

At the annual gathering, which was attended by 74 members, 15 board members also retained their positions.

Tourism pioneer Hussein ‘Champa’ Afeef and Solah Shihab, who heads leading local travel company Voyages Maldives, were re-elected as the vice chairperson, whilst Ahmed Nazeer from leading local resort developer Crown Company was re-elected as the secretary general and Assad Ali from Driftwood Maldives as the deputy secretary general. Lily Hotels’ Ahmed Hafeez also defended the post of financial controller.

Other board members include Ahmed Siyam Mohamed and Zuleikha Manik from Sun Siyam Resorts, Neena Ahmed from Kaimoo Travels and Hotel Services, Visha Mahir and Iyaz Waheed from Universal Resorts, Ibrahim Noordeen from Crown Company, Ismail Shiyan Qasim and Ibrahim Siyad Qasim from Villa Hotels, and Moosa Solih from Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL).

As a non-profit established since the introduction of tourism in Maldives, MATI has been at the forefront of almost all travel and tourism related activities and issues in the Maldives for the past three decades. The association coordinates with government and liaise with organisations locally and internationally to solidify member’s services and operations in the tourism sector.

MATI raises its concerns over government policies for the betterment of its members as well as the tourism industry as a whole. The association represents the industry and its employees internationally and locally by attending different seminars, organising and providing research and professional consultation to relevant bodies.

Photo: Mihaaru

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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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