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Michelle Flake in Love with Maldives



Maldives Promotion House – Meet Michelle Flake from UK, who has spent most of her life in the tourism industry. From, hotels, major International Tour Operators to Travel Agents both UK and now her in the Maldives.  She has spent over 10 years living and working in Maldives and considers this her home.

“I first came to Maldives in the year 2000 as a Rep/Administrator for Kuoni on six months placement living on Kurumba and looking after the Atoll Explorer. Kurumba was known as Kurumba Village back then and I loved it especially looking after the Atoll Explorer.   Six months soon turned into 1 year then I finally decided to head back to the UK.  I always knew I would come back to the Maldives but thought for a holiday not to work but that all changed and I got the opportunity to return in 2003.   Again I initially came back on a six month placement but I’m still here so I guess six months has turned into 9 years,” Michelle said.

Michelle returned in 2003 with Kuoni Travel, but this time as their Destination Manager, a role she held for 5.5 years.   However after almost ten years of working in Kuoni she left the company in 2009. Though her passion towards her work never died, she had fallen in love with Maldives and she was determined not to leave. She continues to work in the tourism industry promoting the Maldives.

“I worked for Kuoni as the Destination Manager until 2009. As with any Tour Operator you work from season to season and they can move you at any time and i April 2009 I was told that they were considering moving me to Egypt for a three months placement.  This was a destination I had previously worked and whilst I enjoyed my time there and loved the destination I know that three months can turn into much longer!  So after much thought, I decided now was the right time to do something a little different.  As I had to work two months notice I decided I would email partners and colleagues in advance (most people tell you they are leaving the day before they finish) and let everyone know in advance that I had taken the decision to leave Kuoni Travel, however although I had no fixed plans in place at that time, I was staying in the Maldives.”

“Whilst still working my notice for Kuoni I was approached by a new company who were just setting up and was asked if I would like to join them and help launch the company and this is how I came to work for my current employers Scaevola Travel,” she added.

Scaevola Travel is a local Maldivian inbound Agency and Michelle’s position is Contracting & Marketing Manager.  Though her main role is to contract the resorts and build up good professional relationships with them, she also deals directly with clients; giving them suggestions and helping them plan their trips.  According to Michelle, Scaevola Travel major market at the moment is the Chinese market and they have their own dedicated Chinese Agent in Shanghai promoting Scaevola Travel.  “The majority of their clients book luxury accommodation and travel as couples or families but not groups”, says Michelle

“One of my first clients was from China and a well travelled lady that enjoys writing blogs about her experience.  I didn’t know this at the time, but then all of a sudden we started to get all these enquiries from China and a people asking for me by name and knowing I was from the UK.  Some clients sent me the link to the blog and I used Google translator to see what Ariel (my client) had said and whilst the translation was not brilliant, the comments were very positive.  This is how we started in the Chinese Market.  Then I booked a client’s honeymoon for him and he was so impressed with the service and efficiently that he decided he wanted to work with us, and this is how we came to have an agent in China” Michelle said.

Whilst working for two major international Tour Operators Michelle has also had the chance to experience some of the most remarkable destinations in the world, including, Spain, Greece, France, Switzerland, Egypt and Thailand. However when asked if she has seen anywhere more appealing than Maldives, she replied saying that Maldives is so unique. She also said that there is no place she would rather live in, other than Maldives.

“Lots of people ask me how I’ve managed to live in Male for so long when I’ve had the opportunity to work all over the world including Dubai.  I tell them that you can’t get what we get here in Maldives anywhere else in the world.  Whilst Malé is busy and overcrowded and not the nicest of places to live, you have to think beyond Male.  The Maldives is not Malé and you have all these beautiful resorts and islands all around you.  You just have to take time out and enjoy them,” Michelle said.

Michelle was in the Maldives also during the 2004 Tsunami. She described it as a challenging and sad experience. She also said that it was a wonderful feeling to know that you are there to help people who need support. She also added that she has seen major changes from when she first came to Maldives.

“When I first came to Maldives, Malé was very different. It has changed a lot since then.  I didn’t like coming to Male when I lived on Kurumba as I felt quite intimidated as most people would stare at me, not in a rude way or anything. It was more because of curiosity, I think.  These days I don’t seem to notice it anymore. Malé has also improved and developed,” she said. “You can find more selection of foods in the supermarket which has been imported and more and more restaurants have opened up giving more choice. I also feel that Maldives has changed me as a person.  I’m less materialistic and don’t really worry about the future.  What will be, will be.  Plus I feel safe here, even safer than I feel when I’m at home,” Michelle humoured.

Michelle hasn’t only helped people plan their dream holiday or honeymoon, she has also helped the island communities across Maldives. While she is passionate about her work, she also loves Maldives from the depth of her heart. For her Maldives has more to offer than just the natural beauty.

Michelle also co-founded Volunteer Maldives, an organisation that brings in volunteers and tourists to help improve social areas such as education, health and sports, in local communities. Volunteer Maldives has worked with other nongovernmental organizations and island organizations, setting up programs in various islands.

“Scaevola Travel is my full time job and something I am very passionate about, as I love to help people plan and enjoy their dream holiday or honeymoon, but I enjoy being able to help communities through the projects we do with Volunteer Maldives and absolutely love the local island community spirit and think more tourists should experience it for themselves and by having guest houses on local islands this will open up more opportunities for tourists to experience the real Maldivian hospitality and culture,” she said.

An Insider

Oriana Migliaccio: The Marine Guardian Transforming Conservation in the Maldives



At the heart of Anantara’s commitment to tailored luxury and authentic experiences lies the passionate work of Oriana Migliaccio, a marine biologist whose devotion to oceanic preservation resonates deeply in the sky-blue waters of the Maldives. Oriana, a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer with a PhD in Life and Biomolecular Sciences, embodies the spirit of discovery and conservation at Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort, Anantara Veli Maldives Resort, and Naladhu Private Island Maldives.

Raised on the sun-kissed shores of Naples, Italy, Oriana’s early years were steeped in the wonders of the Mediterranean Sea, a rich biodiversity hotspot. She frequently spent winter breaks at the aquarium. “It is this deep love for the marine world that got me interested from an early age in pursuing a career in marine biology,” she reflects. Following her passion, Oriana earned her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Marine Biology in Italy. Her journey then took her to the Maldives for an additional master’s in Tropical Marine Biology, where the allure of tropical environments steered her focus towards specialising in coral reef biology and conservation. This newfound dedication culminated in earning her PhD in the United Kingdom, solidifying her commitment to preserving marine ecosystems.

Oriana’s expertise, honed in the jungles of Borneo as a Conservation Manager and Dive Leader, now flourishes in the Maldives. Her initiatives span coral reef restoration, sea turtle protection, and sustainable practices, all pivotal to the region’s marine ecosystem. A crowning achievement is her creation of the “Reef Hero” PADI specialty, a course designed to educate divers on coral conservation, nurturing a new wave of ocean stewards.

“I created the ‘Reef Hero’ course during my time as a marine biologist and dive instructor in Malaysian Borneo. This course, focusing on coral reef restoration and rehabilitation, was inspired by my diving students’ desire to positively impact the oceans they love exploring. Witnessing the adverse effects of marine issues like debris, over-fishing, pollution, and global warming, this inspired me to create guidelines that can be used by recreational divers to save coral reefs around the world.” – Oriana Migliaccio

In April 2023, Oriana joined Anantara, where her role transcends traditional boundaries, as she immerses guests in a world of marine wonders through various interactive initiatives:

  • Marine Talk on Coral Reef & Marine Life: Weekly educational sessions that spotlight the vital role of coral reefs and the importance of responsible diving.
  • Discovering Marine Biology for Kids: Fun, interactive lessons that spark young minds’ curiosity about the underwater world.
  • Workshop on Repurposing Ghost Nets: Transforming abandoned fishing nets into bracelets, raising awareness about their impact on marine life.
  • Marine Biologist Corner: An open forum for guests to engage with Oriana, deepening their understanding of marine conservation.
  • Visit the Coral Nursery: Snorkeling adventures to coral nurseries, where guests explore coral species and participate in the resort’s coral restoration efforts.
  • Coral Adoption: Encouraging guests to play an active role in coral restoration, either by planting corals or sponsoring a coral rope, and tracking their growth.

“In the Maldives, a country faced with pressing environmental challenges, sustainability and environmental conservation are not just trends. They are a necessity,” Oriana emphasises, outlining the long-term goals for sustainability and marine conservation at Anantara’s Maldives resorts. “The survival of this tropical paradise is intertwined with adopting sustainable practices and reducing the anthropogenic impact on the environment.”

Following the devastating coral bleaching event of 2016, Oriana has been instrumental in Anantara’s HARP initiative (Holistic Approach to Reef Protection), aimed at rehabilitating damaged coral reefs. With over 10,000 corals grown and planted since 2017, the project is on course to double this number, enhancing marine biodiversity. Guests are invited to become coral gardeners, contributing to the project’s success while receiving progress updates on their adopted “baby corals”.

Collaborating with esteemed organisations like the Olive Ridley Project, Manta Trust, and the Maldives Whale Shark Research Program, Oriana’s work includes a photo-ID programme for studying sea turtles, manta rays, and whale sharks. She invites guests to join as citizen scientists, aiding in data collection during their underwater explorations.

Oriana Migliaccio’s contributions reflect the essence of Anantara’s luxury experience — unique, immersive, and deeply connected to the local environment. Her passion and dedication are not just preserving the ocean’s beauty but also inspiring guests to become active participants in its conservation, ensuring its wonder endures for generations to come.

For more information on Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, please visit 

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An Insider

Abdulla Wisam: A journey of excellence and growth in the Maldivian hospitality industry



In the heart of the stunning Maldives, where luxury resorts and crystal-clear waters come together to create a paradise on Earth, there are individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that every guest’s experience is nothing short of exceptional. One such individual is Abdulla Wisam, whose remarkable journey in the hospitality industry is a testament to his dedication, passion, and unwavering commitment to providing the best possible service to guests.

Abdulla Wisam’s journey in the hospitality industry began right after completing his schooling. In 2003, he embarked on his professional career by joining Dhoveli Beach Resort & Spa, where he gained his first taste of the world of hospitality. It was here that he discovered his passion for creating memorable guest experiences and building relationships with visitors from around the world.

After his initial foray into the industry, Wisam’s career path continued to evolve. His dedication and hard work caught the attention of industry leaders, leading him to take on roles of increasing responsibility. His time at Meeru Island Resort saw him as an Outlet Cashier and Night Auditor, roles that allowed him to develop a deep understanding of the operational aspects of a resort.

Wisam’s determination and eagerness to learn led him to the iconic Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, where he started as a Recreation Attendant. Over time, he showcased his exceptional skills in guest relations and management, and he was promoted to the position of Front Office Supervisor. His journey with Four Seasons served as a stepping stone for what was to come next.

In 2014, Wisam joined the W Maldives, a resort known for its luxurious offerings and unparalleled guest experiences. Starting as a Welcome Team Leader, he quickly rose through the ranks due to his impeccable guest service skills and innate leadership abilities. His promotion to Guest Experience Manager was a testament to his ability to not only meet but exceed guest expectations. He was then transferred to The St. Regis Maldives as the Assistant Front Office Manager with the pre-opening team.

As his career trajectory continued its upward trajectory, Wisam took on the role of Front Office Manager at prestigious resorts such as Milaidhoo Island, Raffles Maldives, and The Standard Maldives. These roles allowed him to refine his management style, hone his problem-solving skills, and contribute to the overall success of each resort.

Wisam’s journey eventually led him to COMO Cocoa Island, a resort renowned for its unparalleled luxury and exquisite attention to detail. Joining as the Front Office Manager, he embraced the challenges and responsibilities that came with the position. His dedication, combined with his innate ability to create genuine connections with guests, led to his promotion as the Director of Rooms.

Wisam’s journey in the Maldivian hospitality industry is a remarkable tale of perseverance, growth, and a genuine passion for creating exceptional guest experiences. His diverse roles, spanning from recreation to guest experience management, have equipped him with a holistic understanding of the industry. His commitment to continuous improvement and dedication to delivering top-tier service have not only benefited the resorts he’s been a part of but have also contributed to elevating the reputation of Maldives as a premier luxury travel destination.

As Wisam continues to shape the guest experience landscape at COMO Cocoa Island, one can only imagine the heights he will reach and the impact he will make on the ever-evolving hospitality industry of the Maldives. His journey stands as an inspiration to aspiring hoteliers and a testament to the boundless opportunities that await those who are truly passionate about their craft.

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An Insider

Hamzath Ameen: Elevating human resources



In the fast-paced and thriving hospitality industry of the Maldives, where exceptional service and guest satisfaction are paramount, there are individuals who stand out for their dedication, expertise, and leadership qualities. Hamzath Ameen is making his mark as a proficient human resources professional in island resorts of the Maldives. With an impressive career trajectory and a passion for excellence, Hamzath has become a respected figure in the industry.

Hamzath Ameen was born and raised in Addu Atoll, a region known for its stunning natural beauty and vibrant culture. Following his schooling, he pursued his higher education at Cyryx College in Male’, where he successfully completed an Advanced Diploma in Business Management. This academic foundation laid the groundwork for his future career in the dynamic world of hospitality.

Hamzath embarked on his professional journey at Dhonveli Beach Resort, where he assumed the role of Accounts Officer. This initial foray into the hospitality industry allowed him to gain valuable insights into the financial aspects of resort operations and the importance of maintaining accurate records and efficient systems.

Eager to expand his horizons and broaden his skill set, Hamzath sought opportunities at various reputable companies and resorts throughout the Maldives. His determination and exceptional work ethic caught the attention of industry professionals, leading to his appointment as the Human Resources Officer at Furaveri Island Resort. Recognizing his potential, Ameen quickly rose through the ranks and was promoted to the position of Assistant Manager, and subsequently, Human Resources Manager.

During his tenure at Furaveri Island Resort, Hamzath made significant contributions to the establishment’s human resources department. He spearheaded various initiatives to enhance employee engagement, streamline recruitment processes, and foster a positive work culture. Under his leadership, the resort witnessed an increase in employee satisfaction and a notable reduction in turnover rates, solidifying Hamzath’s reputation as a skilled people manager.

In 2022, Hamzath accepted an exciting new opportunity and joined Rihiveli Maldives Resort as the Human Resources Manager. With his wealth of experience and proven track record, he assumed a pivotal role in overseeing the resort’s human resources functions, including recruitment, training and development, performance management, and employee relations. Hamzath’s strategic approach and ability to build strong relationships with staff and management alike have made him an invaluable asset to the resort.

Hamzath Ameen’s journey from an Accounts Officer to a respected Human Resources Manager exemplifies his commitment to personal growth and professional excellence. Through his hard work, dedication, and leadership abilities, he has successfully carved a niche for himself in the competitive Maldivian hospitality industry. Hamzath’s passion for nurturing talent, fostering positive work environments, and delivering exceptional guest experiences continues to make a lasting impact on the resorts he has served.

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