Connect with us


New virus outbreak dashes hopes for quick Hong Kong economic recovery



HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s long recession showed some signs of easing in the second quarter as coronavirus restrictions were lifted, but a quick recovery is now in doubt as a fresh wave of infections prompt the government to impose tough new health measures.

The economy contracted 9.0% in April-June from a year earlier, shrinking for the fourth quarter in a row and the second biggest drop on record, government advance estimates showed on Wednesday.

But activity picked up markedly from a slump early in the year as anti-virus measures were gradually relaxed and people returned to offices and stores. Gross domestic product (GDP) eased just 0.1% from the first quarter, compared with a revised 5.5% drop in the previous three months.

However, a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks is now clouding the outlook for a recovery anytime soon.

On Monday, the government announced it was banning gatherings of more than two people and closing down restaurant dining, as leader Carrie Lam warned the city is on the brink of a large-scale outbreak.

“Not only are the new measures stricter than those implemented earlier in the year – and are therefore likely to weigh more heavily on consumption – but the higher number of infections means that the measures are likely remain in place for a while,” Martin Rasmussen, China economist at Capital Economics, said in a note to clients.

“That will postpone the recovery in consumption, and put additional pressure on employment and incomes, dampening the boost from government cash handouts,” the consultancy said, which sharply downgraded its 2020 GDP growth forecast from -4.5% to -8.0%.

The global financial hub’s economy was already reeling from often violent anti-government protests late last year and the U.S.-China trade war.

The advance readings showed consumption and investment remained weak in the second quarter, though activity likely drew some support from a strong bounce in China’s economy and from the Hong Kong government’s stimulus measures.

The economy had contracted a revised 9.1% in January-March year-on-year, the worst drop on record, according to the estimates released on Wednesday.

“Consumption of services, which is very important to the Hong Kong economy, hasn’t come back. We are now (in July) in a worse shape than we were in Q2,” said Iris Pang, chief economist for Greater China at ING.

Longer term, questions are being raised about Hong Kong’s role as a leading international finance centre, after Beijing imposed a sweeping new security law on the city on July 1, heralding a more authoritarian era for China’s freest city.

The law, which critics say is curbing the freedoms that helped Hong Kong prosper, has prompted Washington to strip the semiautonomous city of its special status in U.S. law that gave it preferential treatment from the rest of China.

Local and Beijing authorities say the legislation was vital to plug national security loopholes and it would in fact bring back stability and prosperity to the former British colony.

“Once the local epidemic is contained again and external environment continues to improve, the Hong Kong economy hopefully will gradually recover in the rest of the year,” a government spokesman said in a statement.

The government reiterated its forecast that the economy would contract by 4% to 7% this year.

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
Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading


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

Continue Reading


Copyright all rights reserved by Maldives Promotion House 2023.