Travellers around the world are invited to join a virtual journey on Monday to rediscover the memories of the beautiful islands of the Maldives, as the Indian Ocean tourist paradise prepares to reopen its borders to visitors.
The ‘Maldives, the sun will shine again’ Facebook live event aims to tell the world that the Maldives is slowly but surely on the road to recovery and is getting ready to start welcoming visitors again.
The three-hour live feed will let participants “re-live the Maldives dream” from the comfort of their home. They will be virtually transported to some of the very best locations in the Maldives and be told of “how we are preparing as we await your return”.
Well-wishers from around the world, including celebrities, key opinion leaders, influencers, artists and fans of Maldives, will join officials from the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) at the event.
Local musicians and artists will also come together to show their love, sentiments, wishes, memories and messages to “remind that indeed the sun will shine again” in the Maldives.
During the event, lucky winners will get over two dozen free holiday packages offered by the luxury resorts in the archipelago.
The Maldives is preparing to reopen its borders to visitors in July.
The coronavirus 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.
All international airlines have suspended scheduled operations to the Maldives, as the island nation enforced a blanket suspension of on-arrival visa in late March in a bid to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
With arrival numbers falling and the 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 13 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.
A six-case cluster of locals, detected in capital Male on April 15, confirmed community transmission of the coronavirus. Several more clusters have since been identified, bringing the total number of confirmed case in the Maldives to 1,903.
Eight deaths have been reported and 827 have made full recoveries.
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 stay-at-home orders in capital Male and its suburbs, a ban on inter-island transport and public gatherings across the country, and a nationwide closing of government offices, 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.
Show your love for the Maldives by being part of the Facebook live event on Monday, June 8, 2020 from 8-11pm local time (GMT +5).
Hilton earns top honors as World’s Best Workplace and Great Place to Work
For the first time ever, Hilton has been named the No.1 World’s Best Workplace by Fortune magazine and Great Place to Work. This recognition – the culmination of eight consecutive appearances on the “World’s Best” list – also marks the first time a hospitality company has achieved the top honor in this best-in-class program.
In another first, Hilton was certified as a Great Place to Work in the Maldives earlier this year, celebrating a workplace culture where team members are encouraged to pursue their passions, draw upon their unique experiences, and be their authentic selves at work as they deliver exceptional stays for all guests.
These awards are a testament to Hilton’s continuous efforts to build an inclusive, purpose driven workplace culture that provides growth opportunities and robust support for team members to achieve their potential and thrive.
Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa continues to foster an environment for local talent to flourish, empowering Maldivian professionals who have developed within the group to progress along their career paths.
Key figures at the resort include Director of Operations Ahmed Anees, who is the first Maldivian professional to be elevated to this role within Hilton’s portfolio of brands in the country; Bars and Beverage Manager Ali Hamdan, and sommelier Gasim Ibrahim.
Anees’ 18 years of experience encompass a variety of roles, such managing transport, housekeeping and front office operations for both Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. His years of overseeing housekeeping also led him to co-found the Maldives Housekeepers Association, the country’s largest and sole nationally recognized association, where he advocates for training and development, and provides professional support.
Ali Hamdan joined Conrad Maldives as a bar attendant and was promoted to bartender within three years. His growth as a mixologist was enhanced by plentiful opportunities to train in various locations, from a Singaporean brewery to a Japanese sake house and the great Champagne houses of France. He is the first Maldivian mixologist certified by the International Bartenders Association.
Like Hamdan, Gasim Ibrahim began his Conrad Maldives stint as an F&B attendant, and it was there that he came under the tutelage of the head sommelier and began his education in earnest. Over a decade later, he is now one of the rare Maldivian sommeliers working in the industry and is currently completing his WSET Level 3 certification.
While at Conrad Maldives, both Hamdan and Gasim competed with distinction at the Hilton South East Asia Food & Beverage (SEA F&B) Masters, an annual series of rigorous competitions designed to showcase the best F&B talent across Hilton properties in the region on an international level.
Another valuable benefit of working with Hilton is career mobility. This facilitates the seamless exchange of skills and brings a diverse range of perspectives and expertise to the organization, which is evident in the team make-up.
Other team members such as Executive Housekeeper Hussain Visham, Front Office Manager Ali Shunaiz and Purchasing Manager Adam Ali, all of whom were previously from Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, brought their invaluable experience to Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa, and are fundamental to the smooth operations at the resort.
Similarly, HR Manager Nani Rasheed, IT Manager Naji Mohamed, Restaurant Manager Mohamed Niyaz, and Laundry Manager Abdulla Shareef all came from Conrad Maldives, and other team members, like Duty Manager Sajid Bushry, joined from overseas Hilton properties and contributed a wealth of multicultural perspectives.
Resort leaders are actively involved in nurturing young professionals. Anees mentors fellow Maldivian and Hilton SEA Management Trainee Hassan Visam throughout an 18-month program designed to develop him for the Duty Manager role.
Regular career workshops are a staple feature of resort activities, as are networking and coaching sessions through the Women Team Members Resource Group. Team members are also able to access specialist certifications, such as the childcare certification from Worldwide Kids that was recently awarded to the Krakengiri Kids’ Club team.
Hilton continues to build purposeful relationships within the community, empowering team members to pursue meaningful initiatives that lead to a lasting positive impact.
IT Manager Naji Mohamed champions Hilton’s Travel with Purpose initiatives. These include a recent visit to Maafushi School in North Male Atoll where Team Members distributed educational children’s literature to the students and water dispensers for the school.
The resort also partnered with Maldives National University to provide internship and career opportunities for the next generation of young hospitality leaders. The first intake culminated in an intern’s successful integration as a regular member of the culinary team.
Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa is part of Hilton Honors®, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 22 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly on the hotel’s website will have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi and the Hilton Honors app.
Chef David Hemmerle at InterContinental Maldives’ The Lighthouse this festive season
Chef David Hemmerle, a leading chef originally from France and now based in Moscow, will be visiting InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort and taking over The Lighthouse restaurant in December.
The Lighthouse has a 360-degree view of the resort and the sparkling Indian Ocean below, offering the finest seasonal ingredients and seafood.
The collaboration with Chef Hemmerle promises to elevate the resort’s culinary experience, providing guests with a diverse range of carefully crafted and delectable dishes that showcase Hemmerle’s culinary skills.
Known for his work in Michelin-rated restaurants in Europe and Asia, Hemmerle has over 30 years of experience in fine dining at the likes of the Four Seasons in Moscow and the Cristal Room Baccarat (Mercury Group), all of which has helped develop a deep understanding of the tastes of metropolitan gourmet cuisine, combined with a rich experience in Michelin-rated restaurants.
Chef Hemmerle will bring the flair and refinement of his homeland’s cuisine to the resort this winter, cooking with creativity & complex techniques and the finest local ingredients.
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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