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Once targeted by officials, street vendors make unexpected comeback in China



BEIJING (Reuters) – Three weeks ago, Beijing authorities swooped in on Shan Peng and her makeshift street stall, seizing her merchandise – yogurt and casual pants – and even her electric tricycle.

She was used to police evictions.

“Just raise your gun an inch, sir, and we paddlers would be able to get by,” she would say, begging them to let her off.

In the same busy alley today, the 51-year-old was selling shrink-wrapped bacon out of a cardboard box – unharassed.

Shan hoped to take home at least 100 yuan ($14) a day. She has mouths to feed – her elderly mother, a dog she rescued from a shelter, and herself, a cancer patient.

Street stalls, seen officially as a blight on China’s modernising urban landscape, are making an unexpected comeback in a year of rare economic pain.

At the annual session of parliament last month, the livelihoods of ordinary people were widely discussed. Afterwards, Premier Li Keqiang told reporters 600 million people still live on monthly salaries of 1,000 yuan.

The spectre of mass unemployment has sharpened the focus of China’s top leadership on low-income groups with little financial backup to cope with job losses.

In a U-turn, authorities said last week local governments will not be assessed by the number of roadside vendors in their cities this year. In the past, municipal officials were awarded high marks for eradicating hawkers.

The premier also gave his blessing. During a visit to a seaside town in Shandong province, Li said the “street stall economy” was the light of humanity and the vitality of China.

Ready, get, set

With uncharacteristic speed, cities like Shanghai and Chengdu have taken steps to promote their street stall economies. Even Wuhan – former epicentre of China’s COVID-19 outbreak – joined in as the coronavirus threat receded.

E-commerce giants pledged support. Alibaba and said they would sell merchandise to street-stall owners on credit. Pinduoduo will offer discounts on a range of “must-haves” for setting up a stall such as flashlights and small fans.

Wuling Motors said a new mini truck specially designed for street stalls received more orders on Wednesday alone than all of May, official media reported. Its Hong Kong shares rose over 200% this week.

Dongfeng Motor Group and Jiangling Motors Corp (JMC) said some of their vans can be modified to suit vegetable sellers or BBQ street food vendors.

Meanwhile, a PDF book of unknown authorship on how to be a successful street peddler found fame on social media this week.

According to “The Secret Manual of Street Stall Business”, only the latest mobile phones must be sold, and there should be no displays of bras and panties, for “no young girl would dare to buy them in the open”.

Lunch money

Some economists say street stalls will not make much difference to gross domestic product, but reflect the enormous pressure on the government to stabilise employment and curb any social unrest.

“It’s an emergency and temporary solution to the unemployment woes brought on by the coronavirus,” said Nie Wen, economist at Shanghai-based Hwabao Trust.

Wang Kang, 38, works at a mobile payment company. But with his salary slashed by 30%, he started hawking t-shirts and toys in the evenings.

“I’m here because I need the money,” he said. “Even if it’s just tens of yuan per night, that’s enough for lunch.”

Yi Shaohua, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China’s top state think-tank, said the street stall campaign will at least help lift people’s spirits.

“The upshot is it’ll get people out of their homes, add liveliness to the streets and thus help boost economic confidence,” Yi said.

Reporting and photo: Reuters


Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) holds its 34th Annual General Meeting



The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) held its 34th Annual General Meeting at Kurumba Maldives today, with a total of 100 members in attendance. 

The day’s events began with a welcome address from the Chairman of MATI, Mr. Mohamed Umar, who also presided over the session. The agenda included an address from the Secretary General, Mr. Ahmed Nazeer, the review and approval of the minutes of the 33rd AGM, the review and adoption of the Annual Report and Financial Reports for 2023, the approval of the 2024 budget, the appointment of auditors for 2024, the welcoming of new members and election of executive board members to the two vacant positions (by-election).

In the member discussion session, the following topics were covered: the Government’s aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2023 and renewable energy generation in the Tourism Industry, new terminal of Velana International Airport and developments, employment challenges, the Industrial Relations Act and trade unions, environmental conservation and the significance of creating and executing efficient management plans for protected areas like the South Ari Marine Protected Area (SAMPA).

Following the official proceedings, the Minister of Tourism Hon. Ibrahim Faisal and the Minister of Economic Development and Trade Hon. Mohamed Saeed joined the forum. The Ministers provided remarks and engaged in a Member Q&A session. This session provided members with the chance to directly engage with the Ministers and delve into crucial industry topics. The queries focused on the Economic Outlook, forthcoming development plans and  immediate challenges and issues affecting the Tourism Industry.

A video presentation was also showcased that delved into the extensive work undertaken by MATI in 2023. The video also touched upon the Tourism Industry’s performance over the past 5 years, as well as the current and projected human resource capacity of the sector.

In his closing remarks, the Secretary General highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing industry challenges and called for greater unison amongst industry stakeholders, ending with an acknowledgement of the promising start to the year in terms of arrivals.

Executive Board Members elected to the 2 vacant positions (by-election):

  1. Ibrahim Shareef, CEO and Managing Director of Maldives Airports Company Limited
  2. Renato De Olivera, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands and representative of Marriott International
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Unlocking power of travel storytelling at Travel Creators Exchange 2024



Join us for the Travel Creators Exchange 2024, taking place on February 1, 2024, at the Hotel Jen in Male’, Maldives.

This dynamic event provides a platform for networking and collaboration among Maldives-based travel creators, fostering connections, idea-sharing, and the establishment of lasting partnerships to expand opportunities and monetise content.

Our lineup of distinguished speakers includes:

  • Zihuny Rasheed, Deputy Managing Director of MMPRC, will present on “Power of Digital Storytelling: Collaborative Strategies for Destination Promotion.” MMPRC actively markets the Maldives globally, utilising a comprehensive approach that includes travel trade shows, roadshows, digital marketing, and more.
  • Amjad Thaufeeg, Commercial Director of Kuda Villingili Maldives Resort, brings over 23 years of hospitality industry experience. He will discuss “The Role of Content in Tourism Marketing,” drawing on expertise in revenue, customer service, sales & marketing, and human capital development.
  • Suresh Dissanayake, Assistant Vice President of Sales & Marketing of Heritance Aarah & Adaaran Resorts, with nearly two decades of experience, will shed light on “What does a Sales and Marketing Director Do?” He brings extensive luxury hospitality experience and a proven track record in sales, distribution, and marketing.
  • Vishal Amir Ahmed, a versatile cinematographer and content creator, will explore “Who is a Content Creator.” Currently associated with Various Arts Studio, he specialises in providing multimedia solutions to various clients.

Organised by Maldives Insider, Maldives Virtual Tour, Travel Trade Maldives, and Hotelier Maldives, this collaborative effort aims to empower Maldives-based travel content creators and elevate the Maldives as a premier destination for captivating travel storytelling.

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Acclaimed contemporary artist Ana Pušica explores perpetuality and community at Patina Maldives



Ana Pušica Kramer, an internationally  acclaimed contemporary artist, joins Patina Maldives for an exclusive  art residency in the now infamous Fari Art Atelier. From January 22 to  February 22, 2024, Ana Pušica will grace the shores of the Fari Islands,  weaving a vibrant narrative of colour and emotion across her larger  than-life canvases. 

Her artistry transcends boundaries, melding abstraction and figuration into awe-inspiring masterpieces. Having exhibited globally, from New York to Beijing, Ana’s paintings are a physical, intuitive act rooted in movement.  Described as a “beautiful fluorescent thunderstorm,” Ana’s art explores light and colour, capturing the energy of life itself. 

The Fari Art Atelier which has previously hosted the likes of Daniel Arsham, Chris Stamp and David Nott, will be transformed into Ana’s studio and gallery showcasing her enthralling artworks—a mesmerising journey through poetry, memory, and the vibrant interplay of colour. Guests at Patina are invited to delve into Ana’s world, where each stroke reveals layers of meaning, evoking sensations of intense lightness and boundless interpretation. 

At Patina Maldives, Ana will immerse herself in a month-long residency, inviting the Patina Malidves community or guests and team to witness her artistic fervour firsthand. Guests will have the rare opportunity not only to observe her creative process but also to engage with and create art alongside this luminary.

Experience artistry at its most exclusive

Art Exhibition
Experience Ana’s captivating exploration of colour and emotion in her spellbinding artworks displayed at the Fari Atelier.

Art Workshops: Message in a Bottle
As part of a collaborative artwork, Ana invites Patina guests to participate in short workshops, actively contributing to the creation of a permanent installation at Patina Maldives.

Open Studio Session
Join Ana for an exclusive open studio session, offering guests a behind the-scenes look at her creative process.

Ana Pušica residency package
Discover a world where creativity knows no bounds as Ana Pušica, the maestro of contemporary art, transforms Patina Maldives into an immersive canvas of inspiration.

Book now to secure your experience.
For more information and reservations, please visit Patina Maldives or contact

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