Maldives inks deal with Limkokwing University to train locals for tourism jobs

Maldives on Friday signed an agreement with Limkokwing University to facilitate training opportunities for locals joining the island nation’s multi-billion-dollar tourism and hospitality industry.

At a ceremony held at Limkokwing University’s campus in London, Maldives’ tourism minister Ali Waheed and the Malaysia-based university’s Vice President Dato’ Tiffanee Marie Lim signed the agreement.

Minister Waheed said the agreement will allow Maldivians to get fully- and semi-funded scholarships from the university.

“President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih aims to develop local talent, so that they can reach top managerial positions in the industry. There are several locals who can reach that level with further training. Under this agreement, they will be given the opportunity to obtain the necessary training,” he said.

In his first presidential address to the parliament early this year, President Solih said at least 35,000 jobs related to tourism would be created during his five-year term. A significant portion of these jobs would be reserved for Maldivians who would be trained to ably work in this industry, he added.

The president’s comments followed an initiative by the tourism ministry that to compile a registry of locals employed in the tourism industry.

For assessment purposes, the country is currently undertaking a nationwide effort to register and enter into statistical compilations all those employed in the tourism industry. This will allow the government to evaluate the broad trends pertinent to employment in the tourism industry and calculate options to improve their situation and extrapolate ways to further improve the tourism sphere.

The Maldives’ tourism industry has greatly expanded over the past 40 years, becoming the country’s main economic activity and the biggest employer.

Over the past five years, dozens of uninhabited islands have been leased to local and foreign resort developers. Several international brands have entered into the market, increasing the number of resorts to 140. That number is set to increase as the government has announced the opening of some 20 new resorts by the end of this year.

Along with the new resort openings come the challenge of increasing demand from budget travellers who choose guesthouses over luxury resorts that the Maldives is known for. The guesthouse sector has rapidly expanded with over 500 guesthouses in operation today.

With the expansion comes the need to train locals for a range of new jobs that are expected to open up.

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