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Maldives Working Towards A Low Carbon Development Strategy



Maldives Promotion House – One of the travel and tourism industry’s most exclusive and prestigious events last weekend drew Hollywood A-listers, top business CEOs, a head of state and senior environmental campaigners together in the Maldives to discuss how to make tourism a benefit rather than a threat to the planet’s environment.

The SLOWLIFE Symposium, organised by the luxury resort company Six Senses drew actors Daryl Hannah and Edward Norton, business leader and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, the heads of two solar power companies and green thinkers Jonathon Porritt and Tim Smit to Soneva Fushi resort in Baa Atoll, Maldives.

They were joined by President Nasheed of the Maldives, who has committed his country to becoming carbon neutral by 2020, and delivered a keynote speech outlining the progress his administration has so far made towards achieving the goal. This includes publishing an online plan for carbon neutral electricity, moving towards a 60 percent solar power goal and changing import duties to encourage electric vehicles.

President Nasheed told delegates that what the Maldives is doing should be a model for others. “Interest in new technology is a blessing for the Maldives,” he said. “We won’t save the world by becoming carbon neutral. We emit nothing compared with other countries, but if we can demonstrate a low carbon development strategy that can be copied elsewhere, it will be a step in the right direction.”

Overall the aviation industry accounts for more than 5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for causing global warming – more than the whole continent of Africa. Virgin Group entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson told the Symposium that dealing with aircraft emissions was a must. “We have been diverting our profit from airlines into developing fuel for aircraft that won’t damage the environment,” he said. Since leaving the Maldives, Branson has announced a new target for making several Virgin Atlantic routes carbon neutral by using new fuels.

The tone of the conference was extremely positive, with many speakers emphasising the opportunities inherent in making tourism sustainable. Branson said that winning the climate battle was the “biggest entrepreneurial opportunity of our lifetime”, whilst President Nasheed also emphasised that he saw green growth as an opportunity for his country rather than a cost and hoped that the Maldives could become a laboratory for new clean technologies appropriate for tropical island locations worldwide.

The actor Edward Norton – whose world-leading work with the Maasai people in Kenya is already helping tourism raise millions to fund conservation – congratulated President Nasheed on his policies. Norton also showcased his work with the Baswood company, which pioneers ecologically-friendly sewage treatment options for islands and cities alike. Daryl Hannah focused in particular on marine biodiversity, praising the new designation of Baa Atoll as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Six Senses is now working with other resort companies in the atoll to pioneer a funding model to conserve the coral reefs and the fish species in the area through no-take zones and other measures.

Six Senses has also committed to making Soneva Fushi a zero-carbon resort by 2013, and is in the process of installing a second large solar photovoltaic facility on the island. Both business leaders and politicians – including the Maldives environment and tourism ministers, both also present at the conference – are now discussing ways to bring multi-megawatt solar power generation to more Maldives islands on an accelerated scale.

“The SLOW LIFE Symposium brought together some incredible minds in the field of sustainable tourism and business. I fully expect some wonderful initiatives to come out of the work done last week,” Six Senses CEO Sonu Shivdasani, host of the meeting said. Mr Shivdasani added that he was already thinking of next year’s event, and hoped that returning attendees could report back substantial progress.


JA Resorts & Hotels welcomes Khumar Askerova as Director of Sales and Marketing for the Indian Ocean



JA Resorts & Hotels has announced the appointment of Khumar Askerova as the new Director of Sales and Marketing for the Indian Ocean region. Khumar brings with her an impressive 25 years of experience in sales and marketing within the hospitality industry, and a key appointment to the regional team.

The appointment will see Khumar overseeing sales for the company’s Indian Ocean flagship property JA Manafaru in the Maldives and two properties in the Seychelles, the boutique JA Enchanted Island and luxury villa residencies at JA Enchanted Waterfront.

Khumar is a seasoned sales specialist with a diverse background in the hospitality sector. Fluent in English, native in Russian and Azerbaijani, with a good command of Portuguese and Turkish, Khumar’s multilingual skills underscore her ability to connect with a global audience.

Khumar’s most recent role as the Regional Director of Sales & Marketing at COMO Hotels saw her successfully manage a portfolio of key partners, and her expertise extends to new hotel openings, where she has played pivotal roles in the launch and success of four upper-scale Marriott hotels.

Additional Maldivian experience was gained whilst Khumar was Group Director of Sales & Marketing at Lily Beach Hotels also in the Maldives, where she led a cluster team, overseeing sales, reservations, marketing, and revenue for two islands in the Maldives.

Robert El Khoury, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at JA Resorts & Hotels comments, “We are confident that Khumar’s wealth of experience, strategic vision, and leadership qualities will contribute to the ongoing success and growth of our unique properties in the Indian Ocean. We warmly welcome her to our team and look forward to further developing our international presence with Khumar’s global expertise.”

Khumar holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management from Baku State University. She has also obtained certificates in Executive Revenue Management & Strategic Pricing from the Institute of Hotel Management and eCornell Hotel Revenue Management Certificate.

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JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa promotes Mohit Dembla to General Manager



JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa, renowned as a haven for families and multigenerational travel, has announced the promotion of Mohit Dembla to the position of General Manager.

Mohit Dembla, a seasoned hotelier with extensive experience in the hospitality industry, began his career with The Oberoi Group and later contributed his expertise to prestigious brands including Taj Hotels, Kempinski Hotels, and Minor International across India, the Seychelles, and the Maldives. In 2014, Mohit joined Marriott International as Complex Front Office Manager at Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre and Courtyard by Marriott Hyderabad. His journey with Marriott International continued in 2018, when he joined JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa as Resort Manager for the grand opening. 

Through his tenure at JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa, Mohit has played a key role in developing and implementing strategies that set the tone for the resort’s success. His dedication, leadership, and commitment to delivering exceptional guest experiences have been integral to the resort’s growth. Demonstrating exceptional managerial skills, he has overseen day-to-day operations and made significant contributions to the resort. His promotion to General Manager is a recognition of his outstanding performance, vision, and ability to lead the team in a dynamic and competitive industry.

Mohit’s leadership centers on fostering a people-first culture, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and teamwork throughout all departments, which has contributed to the resort’s success, consistently delivering exceptional experiences to valued guests.

As General Manager, Mohit Dembla will continue to prioritize teamwork, excellence, innovation, and guest satisfaction. He expressed his gratitude, stating, “I am honored to take on the role of General Manager at JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa. This resort holds a special place in my heart, and I look forward to continuing my journey here with an exceptional team, crafting unforgettable moments for our guests.”

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THE OZEN COLLECTION welcomes new General Managers: Elisabeth Alleyne at OZEN LIFE MAADHOO and Monica Coppetta at OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI



Elisabeth Alleyne and Monica Coppetta, join as the General Managers at OZEN LIFE MAADHOO and OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI, respectively, continuing with the progressive brand’s tradition of women leading the resorts.

THE OZEN COLLECTION, an exceptional hospitality brand by Atmosphere Core, is thrilled to announce the appointment of two new General Managers: Elisabeth Alleyne at OZEN LIFE MAADHOO, effective from October 2023, and Monica Coppetta at OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI, effective from November 2023. In their new roles, these two veteran leaders will continue to build upon the strong brand foundation of REFINED ELEGANCE, positioning their respective resorts as the destination of choice for sophisticated global travelers.

Elisabeth Alleyne, a Swedish-Barbadian National, brings over two decades of diverse hospitality experience across Europe, the Caribbean, and in leading luxury cruise liners. A passionate leader, Elisabeth is adept at running smooth operations, regardless of the size of the property. She will play a pivotal role as the General Manager of OZEN LIFE MAADHOO, and says, “My leadership style involves inspiring colleagues with creativity, innovation, and dedication, ensuring opportunities for skill building, internal promotions, and professional development. I will always be hands-on and visible in operations, making sure our guests have an unforgettable visit.”

Italian hotelier Monica Coppetta possesses a strong business acumen, a drive for results, and the ability to articulate luxury, having worked in global boutique and luxury environments for over two decades. With a proven track record in delivering results, whether from the perspective of profit, process, or people, Monica is a perfect fit for the role of General Manager at OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI. She states, “I like to connect emotionally with my team, inspiring them to bring their best every day. Creating an inclusive work environment is very important to me, one where women – and all colleagues – are heard, cared for, and have equal opportunities.”

From the very beginning, influential female leaders have shaped the brand. Women are integral to the workforce at THE OZEN COLLECTION, and both properties have always had women General Managers. This appointment further adds to the stellar female senior leadership already in place at Atmosphere Core.

We have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion across the company’s portfolio of three brands and eight resorts. And I am delighted to welcome the two talented and dedicated hoteliers, Elisabeth Alleyne and Monica Coppetta to our team.” says Ashwin Handa, the Senior Vice President of Operations at Atmosphere Core.

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