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No ware to sell: Beijing’s street vendors back on the run



BEIJING (Reuters) – Clad in black, Beijing’s city inspectors descended on street vendors this week and ordered them to clear out, just days after the Chinese premier had sparked a rush to set up curbside stalls by praising them as a creator of jobs in the coronavirus-hit economy.

Wang Yihu, 50, a home decorator whose business has dried up after the COVID-19 pandemic, was in despair.

“The premier has already given us support. The power of the Beijing city government couldn’t be stronger than the State Council right?” Wang said as he packed away tens of toy cars in anticipation of being chased away.

“The premier’s words are always skewed by you local-level people,” Wang said heatedly within earshot of some inspectors.

“We’ve lost our basic right to feed our families!”

Deemed by city officials as filthy and unsightly, street stalls made an unexpected comeback last week after Premier Li Keqiang said on a visit to Shandong province that roadside vendors provided vitality to China.

Days earlier, Li cited media reports about a certain city in western China that created 100,000 jobs overnight after setting up 36,000 street stalls. Up to 30 million people may lose their jobs this year due to the pandemic, some economists say.

But the State Council, or cabinet, has yet to announce any new policy in support of roadside vending.

Beijing Daily, a newspaper run by the city government, said over the weekend that letting the street market economy proliferate will harm the image of the Chinese capital.

The Beijing city government declined to make any additional comments.

“Premier Li’s words in Shandong were more of an improvisation, not an official report,” said Liu Shengjun, an independent commentator on the economy.

“What he didn’t say but would naturally imply was that the street stall economy must be well regulated too”.

Job losses

The resistance towards street vendors widened on Monday as state television cautioned tier-one cities – traditionally Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – against chasing short-term employment solutions.

Among them only Guangzhou has unveiled new policies promoting street vending.

Guangzhou on Friday specified 60 locations in the city where street stalls can be set up. It also imposed restrictions on merchandise type.

The street stall economy is more suitable in central and western cities, some state media said.

Preventing mass unemployment remains a top concern for the Chinese leadership, with President Xi Jinping pledging to turn China into a moderately prosperous society and eliminate abject poverty by the end of 2020.

Beijing street vendors told Reuters they were desperate to boost their incomes.

One was struggling with her rent and her son’s mortgage, while a former jeweller with 100,000 yuan ($14,126) of unsold inventories at home was peddling 150-yuan Thai elephant brooches.

Yan Ying was selling black tea marketed by a company she was working for.

The 30-year-old has not received any wages since February, and if she fails to sell the tea, she will be fired.

“Even though the inspectors chased me away, I’ll find other places,” said Yan, who works part-time at Decathlon in the day.

“Reality is very cruel.”

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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