Guesthouse owners and their employees in Maldives will bear the brunt of the economic impact on the island nation’s lucrative tourism industry by the coronavirus pandemic, the World Bank said Sunday.
The worst hit economy in South Asia will be the Maldives, where the collapse of high-end tourism could see its economic output shrink by as much as 13 per cent, warned the World Bank.
“Although tourist arrivals are expected to rebound once the pandemic subsides, the loss in global wealth will dampen worldwide tourism growth, especially the luxury segment,” the latest issue of the World Bank’s bi-annual South Asia Economic Focus report read.
“Unlike previous shocks, when tourism was mostly confined to high-end resort islands, the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will disproportionately affect the incomes of guesthouse owners and their employees on local islands, as most of the growth in visitor arrivals has occurred in this segment of the tourist market in recent years.”
The World Bank expects the Maldives to have the largest employment losses as a share of total employment if the lockdown drags on due to the high share of tourism in employment, almost 70 per cent.
The analysis by the 189-member global financial institution comes weeks after a local representative body said the Maldives’ guesthouse sector would face losses of some $28.9 million due to the pandemic.
Publishing the results of a survey, Guesthouse Association of Maldives (GAM) said it is uncertain when the outbreak will be contained but the impact on the guesthouse sector will last for at least six months.
Meanwhile, the World Bank has advised governments in South Asia to “ramp up action to curb the health emergency, protect their people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, and set the stage now for fast economic recovery”.
The World Bank also recommended temporary work programmes for migrant workers, debt relief for businesses and individuals while cutting red tape on essential imports and exports.
Last week the Washington DC-based lender said it would deploy up to $160 billion in financial support over the next 15 months to help vulnerable countries deal with the pandemic and bolster their economic recovery.
A total of $17.3 million has been pledged to the Maldives from the World Bank’s fast-track financing facility to help countries fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The Covid-19 outbreak has hit the Maldivian economy hard, as travel restrictions and other preventive measures affect the country’s lucrative tourism industry, which contributes the bulk of the island nation’s state revenue and foreign reserves.
Before the pandemic, the government had been bullish about tourism prospects, targeting two million, high-spending holidaymakers this year after last year’s record 1.7 million.
However, tourist arrivals saw a year-over-year decline of 22.8 per cent in the first 10 days of March. Officials say the number of tourist arrivals to the Maldives could drop by half in 2020.
With arrival numbers falling and a blanket visa suspension in effect, several resorts across the Maldives had been closed.
Tourism has been the bedrock of the Maldives’ economic success. The $5 billion-dollar economy grew by 6.7 per cent in 2018 with tourism generating 60 per cent of foreign income.
However, the government is at present projecting a possible 5.7 per cent economic contraction this year — an estimated $778 million hit.
On March 8, Maldives reported its first cases of the novel coronavirus, as two hotel employees tested positive for Covid-19 at a luxury resort in the archipelago.
Eighteen more cases — all foreigners working or staying resorts and liveaboard vessels except five Maldivians who had returned from abroad — were later identified.
However, 14 out of the 20 have made full recoveries. Four Maldivian patients are being treated at designated quarantine facilities, whilst two had been repatriated to their home country of Italy.
The Maldives announced a state of public health emergency on March 12, the first such declaration under a recent public health protection law.
The public health emergency declaration has allowed the government to introduce a series of unprecedented restrictive and social distancing measures, including a partial curfew in capital Male and its suburbs, and a nationwide closing of schools, colleges and universities. Non-essential services and public places in the capital such as gyms, cinemas and parks have also been shut.
Restaurants and cafes in the capital have been asked to stop dine-in service and switch to takeaway and delivery.
A nationwide shutdown of all guesthouses, city hotels and spa facilities located on inhabited islands is also in effect.
Photo: Kani Grand
‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion: Four draws, countless winners, more to go
The ‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion, which launched with great fanfare on June 23, continues to captivate audiences across the nation with its promise of incredible prizes and adrenaline-pumping excitement. As Coca-Cola moves forward, the company has announced not one, but four draws that have rewarded lucky winners with exciting prizes!
The ‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion has been a huge success, with dozens of lucky winners taking home amazing prizes, such as Benelli motorbikes, helmets, and Charged drink cases. The promotion, which started on June 23, has been attracting customers from all over the Maldives, who have been enjoying the refreshing taste of Charged caffeinated beverage and the thrill of scratching their cards to reveal their codes.
So far, four draws have taken place, each one broadcasted live on Television Maldives (TVM) at 9:30pm. The winners of the Benelli motorbikes were Mohamed Adam, MD Musharraf, Mohamed Rasel Hossain and Ahmed Zahir who were ecstatic to receive their prizes and thanked Charged for making their dreams come true. The winners of the helmets and drink cases were also delighted with their rewards and encouraged others to join the promotion.
But don’t worry if you haven’t won yet, because there are still more chances to win! The ‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion is not over yet. That means you still have time to grab your favourite Charged drink, scratch your card, and send your code to 2626 via SMS.
As the exciting journey continues, there are two main draws left in this thrilling event, scheduled for September 24 and October 20. You could be the next lucky winner of a Benelli Leoncino 250 motorbike! But the excitement doesn’t stop there; be sure to keep an eye out for the daily draws, with winners announced regularly on the @ChargedMaldives Instagram page. You could stand a chance to win a Charged branded helmet, or a Charged drink case.
Charged, a ground-breaking addition to Coca-Cola Maldives’ beverage portfolio, is available in 250 ml, in 100% recyclable aluminium cans, in line with our packaging strategy to use 100% recyclable packaging material. The caffeinated beverage is now widely available at major retail outlets, hotels, restaurants, and cafes throughout the Maldives.
JEN Maldives Malé by Shangri-La unveils Oro’s 100% Arabica Rose Coffee
JEN Maldives Malé by Shangri-La has introduced a special coffee to their collection – Oro’s 100% Arabica Rose Coffee. This latest addition to the menu of Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go aims to provide coffee lovers with the unique and delicate taste of Oro’s Arabica Rose.
The hotel was alive with excitement on Thursday evening with the launch of Oro’s 100% Arabica rose. Media personnel and coffee enthusiasts were treated to an exclusive tasting experience of freshly brewed Arabica Rose Coffee along with some tasty finger foods.
The highlight of the evening was a lucky draw giveaway, extending an invitation for all the guests to participate and win a Skechers Maldives voucher and coffee voucher from Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go.
Oro’s Arabica Rose Coffee is now available at Jen’s Kitchen on-the-go. It is the perfect spot to refuel with coffee, tea, freshly squeezed juices, or a light bite. Customers can now enroll to become a Shangri-La Circle Member and earn points with every purchase at Jen’s Kitchen On- the-Go and enjoy the rewards at Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts worldwide.
Master Baker Steven to conduct IREKS Baking Art & Science training in Maldives
The return of IREKS Master Baker to the Maldives brings exciting news for the local baking community.
Kuala Lumpur-based Master Baker – Chef Steven Selvamuthu, will be conducting pro-bono culinary demonstrations and extensive training sessions from 19th August to 7th September, 2023. Bakers and Pastry Chefs in resorts and HORECA institutions can look forward to enhancing their skills and knowledge under his guidance.
Steven’s expertise in pastries, acquired through training in Gelato University in Italy and a Chocolate Master program in Switzerland, has been instrumental in providing the best solutions to IREKS’ customers in the Maldives.
IREKS, the renowned German company, is a global player in the industry, celebrated for their expertise in developing innovative baking ingredients and catering to the preferences of the health-conscious and quality-driven generation. IREKS provides high-quality bakery flour and ingredients, including baking improvers, specialty bread mixes, gluten-free mixes, vegan mixes, and confectionary mixes. With a growing awareness of the impact of food production on people and the environment, IREKS offers a diverse range of organic baking improvers and mixes for the efficient production of various organic quality baked goods. They exclusively source raw materials from controlled organic cultivation.
In addition to its range of flour mixes focused on multiple baking needs, IREKS also offers a wide “Free-from” range, accommodating various dietary preferences such as lactose-free, palm oil-free, additive-free, egg-free, sugar-free, or vegan options.
In particular, IREKS has been providing a comprehensive Gluten-Free range since 1995. Gluten, a protein that provides structure, is essential for making grains bakeable, and it would be a challenge to bake without its presence. At the same time, gluten-free baked goods are growing in demand – even from those who do not suffer from medical conditions (e.g.: celiac disease). In order to meet the high safety requirements in this specialised production process, gluten-free ingredients are carefully and meticulously selected and processed at IREKS’s state-of-the-art facilities in Germany.
So, this powerhouse of the baking profession, Master Baker Steven, will share his vast expertise with the resort bakers’ community during these demonstration sessions. Should you wish to participate in a training session, please contact Bestbuy Maldives.
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