Connect with us

An Insider

Mohamed Solah: Globalising Maldivian talent



By Shamman Zahir

Prior to being the Cluster General Manager for Zaya Hospitality in Dubai, Mohamed Solah has held notable positions, climbing the career ladder in the industry to be where he is at today. Maldives Insider sits down with Solah to look back on his illustrious career of 20 years.

Getting into the industry was unlike what it is today. Professional career guidance was rare or information being readily available as it is today. Soon after completing school at EPS with ambitions to pursue higher education, the choice was between Accounting and Hotel Management. Hotel Management emerged as the clear choice given that it was more affordable to his parents at the time.

Having completed his studies at Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Studies (FHTS), Solah began his exposure to the industry starting as a telephone operator at Meeru Island Resort and Spa in 2002. Being promoted a little over a year later, he remarks that the managers and stakeholders were very supportive of developing staff and those willing to venture out of their comfort zones which encouraged him to complete his Higher Diploma from Taylor’s University in Malaysia and returning to work as the Assistant Front Office Manager. Recalling how the time abroad was an eye-opening experience to multicultural work environments, the infrastructure of bigger countries as well as working with global name brands, Solah encourages more people to do the same.

After completing his Bachelor’s Degree, he also worked and underwent training in Langkawi, Malaysia, and Seychelles. He became the Front Office Manager at the age of just 25 and went on to being appointed the General Manager of Komandoo Island Resort in 2018.

Solah in Malaysia.

Fast track today, he is arguably one of the very first Maldivian General Managers abroad.

Being a General Manager is not simply a job, it’s a responsibility. The tourism industry is a people-oriented job every way you look at it and requires an enhanced level of people-skills to excel at it. As a General Manager, his job from start to finish would be ensuring the customer expectations are met, maintaining a good relationship with his staff, and coordinating with many more stakeholders. In every aspect, it is a people-oriented field. Working on one’s people skills to constantly improve which would reflect in the work within the industry as well as personal growth.

For the younger generation following in the footsteps of seasoned hoteliers like Solah, he highlighted the importance of getting the proper guidance. Solah advises working on people skills to constantly improve which would reflect in the work within the industry as well as personal growth.

“A common misconception is that working at a resort is enjoyable and always pays well. It is, but also requires hard work. While there’s a certain degree of truth to it, it is also true that you have to earn it with sheer hard work and determination. The mindset and the lifestyle need to be understood; that it is not a typically easy job. You work outside fixed hours to make sure the job gets done, to keep operations running smoothly every day, be it a weekend or public holiday because the hotels never stop,” he says.

For the Maldives to maintain its position as a dream destination, Solah highlights the importance of giving more opportunities to locals.

“We have always been blessed with beautiful beaches and amazing nature, but immaculate hospitality is what sets us apart. To keep those customs alive, our youth need the training to reach those levels. It is sad to note that with so many global brands in the Maldives, only a selective few offer apprenticeships to develop and help those progress and interested in breaking into the field.

Solah shared a quote by one of his mentors, “You’ll have a million reasons to be upset if you depend on others to motivate you, you must motivate yourself instead.” He also pointed out that a lot of effective changes and support by the authorities were needed to keep up with the ever-changing world of tourism.

“For such a premium destination, we largely lack the infrastructure at our entry point to cater to such demand and we must not let up when the Maldives has always been the benchmark of tourism globally. Anywhere you go in the world, people would advertise as the Maldives of Vietnam or the Maldives of Middle East, etc. We don’t grasp how massive the Maldives is as a brand, it is iconic just as people speak of New York and Paris. It is the responsibility of the stakeholders to keep the Maldives as a premium destination,” he says.

“It is important to note the majority of our markets are coming from long distances, so those improvements to our infrastructure and better logistics are key to keeping up a good first impression. Ten hours of flying to reach, only to have to wait two hours before being able to get to the hotel can be a daunting and disappointing experience. We do see improvement with more resorts being catered by domestic flights.”

Solah in Norway.

Solah also reflects on his experience working in the Maldives and abroad. For him, the detail and service quality is much higher in the Maldives and guests also expect a lot more from hotels and resorts in Maldives.

“In Dubai it is fast track and intensity is high but the authorities are very hands-on as well as quick in finding solutions to obstacles we face in an effective manner. The Maldives is a once-in-a-lifetime destination for a lot of people. A considerable portion of guests are repeaters as well. Seeing this, relationship marketing approach is just as key. If you were to go to a place, you are more than likely to ask a person who has already been there how his experience was and what things to do. With every client, you are building on what you already have,” he explains.

For the Maldives to secure the future of its tourism industry, Solah notes that a step forward would be a forum for seasoned professionals in the industry to express and contribute to the industry’s development, starting with the tourism curriculum taught in the country’s schools. Solah suggests a consultation process with industry stakeholders to update what is more relevant to cater to the evolving needs of the industry.

“Speed of global tourism is very fast paced, We cannot sit back on our laurels and take it easy in an ever changing industry. We should be stepping up. Our teams need to be exposed to outside the Maldives for them to understand to appreciate the working and living condition in majority of our industry. The pioneers of this industry are ready to hand over the reins to the next generation and they require support and effective partnerships with the authorities to make it a success,” he says.

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 

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading


Copyright all rights reserved by Maldives Promotion House 2023.