Connect with us

An Insider

Maleeh, Taking MATATO Forward



Maldives Promotion House – You know how most of us wake up from a dream and don’t really think much of it. Just like a movie, we don’t really think about the film crew behind the scene. Sometimes we lay back and talk about the movie, but we don’t really talk about the people who did all the hard work.

Most people dream of a perfect Maldives, where everything runs itself. Like most dreams people don’t really notice the people who make it work. Meet Mr. Maleeh Jamaal. He walked me through how Maldives still remains a little paradise. Maldives, that’s where most celebrities and romantics come to celebrate. Over half a million of them arrive here every six months, with their eyes glowing and their faces radiating their dreams.

Mr. Maleeh Jamaal is the Secretary General of Maldives Association for Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO), an organisation formed in 2006 which represents the Maldivian Travel Agents and Tour Operators. He is also well known among industry professionals.

It was in 1999 when he began to work for the Tourism Ministry of Maldives that Mr. Jamaal found his way into the Tourism Industry. After working for about a year in the Trade Standard Section of the ministry he left abroad for his studies.

“In 1999 I joined the Trade Standard Section, because I have always wanted work in the industry. Before the ministry I had actually worked in MTCC and one other private company,” Mr. Jamaal explained in an exclusive interview with Maldives Promotion House.

After taking a degree in Tourism Mr. Jamaal rejoined the ministry which marked the beginning of his career. Soon he moved to Maldives Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB) which was working along with the ministry to promote Maldives as a destination.

“Back then, the ministry was working closely with MTPB. It was more like a sector of the Tourism Ministry. So it was relatively easy for me to transfer to MTPB. They were mostly involved in resort inspections,” he noted.

After working at MTPB for a year Mr. Jamaal once again went abroad to United States of America for his masters in Tourism. After he finished his masters Mr. Jamaal worked with MTPB until 2009. He explained that it was an “interesting time to work in the field,” due to the large scale development work which was being carried out in the Maldivian tourism industry.

During this period of development and establishment, there was a sudden boom in tourism along with the introduction of many resort islands. However it was during his inspections and visits to resorts that Mr. Jamaal had learned about how the industry was thriving in Maldives, allowing him to further promote Maldives.

“When I went for the inspections I learnt a lot about how the resorts were designed and operated and I got to meet a lot of people. So by meeting with foreigners I learnt their opinions about Maldives. I got to know them,” he said.

However after a fulfilling career in promoting tourism Mr. Jamaal stepped away from the field for some time. During this time, Mr. Jamaal explored the major sectors of the industry and pondered on how to solve the issues faced by the industry.

Today Mr. Jamaal is back in the industry working at MATATO. He joined MATATO because he knew that it is a “lacking component in the travel industry.” He said that while the industry itself is very strong and developing swiftly, there is a huge opportunity for local travel agents and tour operators. However he stressed that there are many challenges currently faced by local Travel Agents.

“Travel agents and tour operators can be seen as a subsector of the tourism industry. But for local agents to become successful there should be laws protecting them, and the perception of the resorts towards local agents should also change,” he noted.

Mr. Jamaal said that the local Tour Operators and Travel Agents “should be empowered.” He further added that they need better rates and more support from the resorts for them to be successful in the industry.

Currently working as the Secretary General for the “voice and most active lobbyist of Tour Operators and Travel Agents,” as he describes it, Mr. Jamaal believes that some things must change for the good of local companies. “For this to be done, some laws must be changed,” he said.

While there is much work to be done, Mr. Jamaal and MATATO have already achieved a lot. “I was selected as Secretary General during the second executive board members selections. Since then it has been two years and we have achieved a lot,” Mr. Jamaal noted.

“I don’t think before 2010 people would have even known what MATATO was. You could easily confuse it with a tropical fruit,” he humoured. “We have organised multiple fairs in different countries and our most important achievement is the publication of Maldives Finder.

Maldives Finder is a magazine published by MATATO to introduce their members to the world and to promote Maldives. Currently Maldives Finder is being distributed all over the world and is also a popular magazine in resorts.

When asked about his future plans, Mr. Jamaal said that MATATO will, in association with UNDP, Economic Ministry and Tourism Ministry, carry out a major project in the near future. “We are going to conduct the first survey about Tour Operators and Travel Agents in Maldives. It has four components,” he said.

“We will compile a comprehensive report on operators, the challenges they face and how to handle it. The next is a Strategic Framework and a MATATO Code of Conduct. We are also going to push towards the amendment of the Travel Agents and Tour Operators regulation. It was created a long time ago and needs a lot of work,” he added.

Mr. Jamaal said that the most important part would be the Code of Conduct. He also explained that there are lots of complaints about “price undercutting” in the “cutthroat competition” between companies. He also noted that because some agents are negligent on making payments to resorts, the Code of Conduct will be a confidence building set of rules that every MATATO member should follow.

With all his efforts Mr. Jamaal wishes to expand this unexplored territory in the industry which is full of opportunities. According to Mr. Maleeh MATATO’s aim is to ensure that at least 50 percent of the beds in Maldivian Tourism Industry are sold by Maldivian Tour Operators and travel Agents.

While MATATO is currently in the midst of its executive board elections, Mr. Jamaal hopes to be selected as Secretary General once again. Mr. Maleeh Jamaal is among those people who ensure the sustainment of the tourism industry in Maldives.

Though he may not be as well know among the public his efforts and the work of MATATO is what keeps the engine from spinning out of control. He is the film crew behind the scene. He is part of the system that brings in those half a million celebrities and romantics every six months, so that they can experience the unmatched bliss of this paradise.

An Insider

Abdulla Wisam: A journey of excellence and growth in the Maldivian hospitality industry



In the heart of the stunning Maldives, where luxury resorts and crystal-clear waters come together to create a paradise on Earth, there are individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that every guest’s experience is nothing short of exceptional. One such individual is Abdulla Wisam, whose remarkable journey in the hospitality industry is a testament to his dedication, passion, and unwavering commitment to providing the best possible service to guests.

Abdulla Wisam’s journey in the hospitality industry began right after completing his schooling. In 2003, he embarked on his professional career by joining Dhoveli Beach Resort & Spa, where he gained his first taste of the world of hospitality. It was here that he discovered his passion for creating memorable guest experiences and building relationships with visitors from around the world.

After his initial foray into the industry, Wisam’s career path continued to evolve. His dedication and hard work caught the attention of industry leaders, leading him to take on roles of increasing responsibility. His time at Meeru Island Resort saw him as an Outlet Cashier and Night Auditor, roles that allowed him to develop a deep understanding of the operational aspects of a resort.

Wisam’s determination and eagerness to learn led him to the iconic Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, where he started as a Recreation Attendant. Over time, he showcased his exceptional skills in guest relations and management, and he was promoted to the position of Front Office Supervisor. His journey with Four Seasons served as a stepping stone for what was to come next.

In 2014, Wisam joined the W Maldives, a resort known for its luxurious offerings and unparalleled guest experiences. Starting as a Welcome Team Leader, he quickly rose through the ranks due to his impeccable guest service skills and innate leadership abilities. His promotion to Guest Experience Manager was a testament to his ability to not only meet but exceed guest expectations. He was then transferred to The St. Regis Maldives as the Assistant Front Office Manager with the pre-opening team.

As his career trajectory continued its upward trajectory, Wisam took on the role of Front Office Manager at prestigious resorts such as Milaidhoo Island, Raffles Maldives, and The Standard Maldives. These roles allowed him to refine his management style, hone his problem-solving skills, and contribute to the overall success of each resort.

Wisam’s journey eventually led him to COMO Cocoa Island, a resort renowned for its unparalleled luxury and exquisite attention to detail. Joining as the Front Office Manager, he embraced the challenges and responsibilities that came with the position. His dedication, combined with his innate ability to create genuine connections with guests, led to his promotion as the Director of Rooms.

Wisam’s journey in the Maldivian hospitality industry is a remarkable tale of perseverance, growth, and a genuine passion for creating exceptional guest experiences. His diverse roles, spanning from recreation to guest experience management, have equipped him with a holistic understanding of the industry. His commitment to continuous improvement and dedication to delivering top-tier service have not only benefited the resorts he’s been a part of but have also contributed to elevating the reputation of Maldives as a premier luxury travel destination.

As Wisam continues to shape the guest experience landscape at COMO Cocoa Island, one can only imagine the heights he will reach and the impact he will make on the ever-evolving hospitality industry of the Maldives. His journey stands as an inspiration to aspiring hoteliers and a testament to the boundless opportunities that await those who are truly passionate about their craft.

Continue Reading

An Insider

Hamzath Ameen: Elevating human resources



In the fast-paced and thriving hospitality industry of the Maldives, where exceptional service and guest satisfaction are paramount, there are individuals who stand out for their dedication, expertise, and leadership qualities. Hamzath Ameen is making his mark as a proficient human resources professional in island resorts of the Maldives. With an impressive career trajectory and a passion for excellence, Hamzath has become a respected figure in the industry.

Hamzath Ameen was born and raised in Addu Atoll, a region known for its stunning natural beauty and vibrant culture. Following his schooling, he pursued his higher education at Cyryx College in Male’, where he successfully completed an Advanced Diploma in Business Management. This academic foundation laid the groundwork for his future career in the dynamic world of hospitality.

Hamzath embarked on his professional journey at Dhonveli Beach Resort, where he assumed the role of Accounts Officer. This initial foray into the hospitality industry allowed him to gain valuable insights into the financial aspects of resort operations and the importance of maintaining accurate records and efficient systems.

Eager to expand his horizons and broaden his skill set, Hamzath sought opportunities at various reputable companies and resorts throughout the Maldives. His determination and exceptional work ethic caught the attention of industry professionals, leading to his appointment as the Human Resources Officer at Furaveri Island Resort. Recognizing his potential, Ameen quickly rose through the ranks and was promoted to the position of Assistant Manager, and subsequently, Human Resources Manager.

During his tenure at Furaveri Island Resort, Hamzath made significant contributions to the establishment’s human resources department. He spearheaded various initiatives to enhance employee engagement, streamline recruitment processes, and foster a positive work culture. Under his leadership, the resort witnessed an increase in employee satisfaction and a notable reduction in turnover rates, solidifying Hamzath’s reputation as a skilled people manager.

In 2022, Hamzath accepted an exciting new opportunity and joined Rihiveli Maldives Resort as the Human Resources Manager. With his wealth of experience and proven track record, he assumed a pivotal role in overseeing the resort’s human resources functions, including recruitment, training and development, performance management, and employee relations. Hamzath’s strategic approach and ability to build strong relationships with staff and management alike have made him an invaluable asset to the resort.

Hamzath Ameen’s journey from an Accounts Officer to a respected Human Resources Manager exemplifies his commitment to personal growth and professional excellence. Through his hard work, dedication, and leadership abilities, he has successfully carved a niche for himself in the competitive Maldivian hospitality industry. Hamzath’s passion for nurturing talent, fostering positive work environments, and delivering exceptional guest experiences continues to make a lasting impact on the resorts he has served.

Continue Reading

An Insider

Chef Mohamed Niyaz on celebrating authentic Maldivian flavours



Introducing the culinary genius who brings alive Kaagé specialty restaurant at VARU By Atmosphere

Chef Mohamed Niyaz is the Maldivian Chef who has breathed life into VARU By Atmosphere’s signature restaurant – Kaagé. In this interview, he speaks about his love for local cuisine and his inspiration. He also shares words of wisdom for budding chefs in the Maldives.

Where are you from? I was born and raised in the beautiful island of Ha. Dhihdhoo, in the Haa Alif Atoll, Maldives.

When did you first fall in love with cooking? Even when I was a kid, I used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen with my mom. I was so intrigued by her amazing cooking skills and how she would prepare all sorts of delicious dishes. I would eagerly watch and learn from her every time she cooked. That’s what inspired me to become a chef myself.

What motivates you? Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a deep passion for both art and cooking. My mother, who is incredibly creative, would whip up imaginative meals. I would often tell her that one day, when I grew up, I would become a chef and cook a special meal just for her. I’m proud to say that I’ve fulfilled that dream.

Tell us a little bit about your journey in the hospitality industry. In 2002, I had the chance to embark on my journey in the tourism industry when I began working as a Commis at Hulhule Island Hotel. Over 16 years, I climbed the ranks and eventually held the position of Chef De Partie at the same hotel. Then, in 2019, an exciting opportunity came my way as I joined VARU by Atmosphere as a Sous Chef. Currently, I am honoured to be working as a Maldivian Chef at the renowned Kaagé restaurant, which is the first of its kind in Atmosphere Core.

What are some of your achievements and awards? Throughout my 20-year career, I have had the privilege of receiving nominations and winning various awards in different competitions and ceremonies. The most recent and special achievement was when I was honoured with the CGM Chefs Award for Outstanding Achievement in 2022. The year 2016 proved to be another successful year, I achieved remarkable accomplishments in international competitions. Securing second place in the Team Challenge and first place in the Foreign Team Challenge at the Chinese Foreign Hotel’s cooking competition, CCTV ‘The Greatest Chefs.’ In addition, I have been participating in the Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge from 2012 to 2022 and have received 12 gold, silver, and bronze awards over the years.

Can you describe Kaagé restaurant for us? Kaagé is the signature Maldivian restaurant at VARU By Atmosphere.  The restaurant is designed as a traditional Maldivian house adorned by heritage photographs and video storytelling. Guests can relish local flavours presented with a progressive twist. We use traditional home cooking methods to ensure the food is fresh, aromatic, and flavourful.

As a chef, what are your preferred local ingredients? Coconut, pandan leaves, Maldivian chilli, and curry leaves hold a special place in my culinary repertoire.

Which dish would you highly recommend to all guests at Kaage? There are a variety of local dishes on our menu. I would recommend guests try Gulha, a deep-fried pastry ball filled with smoked tuna or vegetables and flavoured with finely chopped onion, grated coconut, and chilli. And Kandu Kukhulu, our renowned Maldivian tuna curry, stands out as the most exceptional and beloved dish. It is one of our signature specialties and the rich flavours are sure to leave a lasting impression on our valued guests.

What are your plans for the future? At present, Maldivian cuisine is exclusively available in restaurants within our nation. My aspiration is to present Maldivian specialty cuisine on a global scale.

What guidance would you offer aspiring Maldivian chefs? To the younger generation, I would like to emphasize that Maldivian Cuisine is truly distinctive, and with unwavering dedication and perseverance, you can achieve remarkable heights. In line with a Maldivian saying, “Fass enburi nubala abadhuves hih varaa eku kuriyah dhaan masahkaeh kuraashey, ehves masahkathaky hadi masahkatheh nooney” (loosely translated as, always strive to move forward with courage, without dwelling on the past, as no task is ever considered insignificant).

Continue Reading


Copyright all rights reserved by Maldives Promotion House 2023.