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Local stories: Zakwan Ahmed, Assistant Director of Sales & Contracting for THE OZEN COLLECTION

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Zakwan Ahmed is the Assistant Director Of Sales & Contracting at THE OZEN COLLECTION, a brand by the hospitality company Atmosphere Core. He has achieved remarkable career growth in the Maldives’ hospitality industry through unwavering dedication and perseverance. In this interview, Zakwan (Zack) shares his journey in the hospitality industry and his approach to sales and contracting.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey in the tourism industry?

I began my professional journey in the tourism industry as a waiter, but my ambition pushed me to transition into the sales field. In 2017, I successfully landed a role as a Sales Coordinator, and through perseverance and dedication, I gradually advanced to the position of Assistant Sales Manager. I joined THE OZEN COLLECTION when the brand was introduced in 2020, comprising two resorts: OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI and OZEN LIFE MAADHOO. Since then, I have continued to progress within the company and currently hold the position of Assistant Director for Sales & Contracting.

What do you think it takes to succeed in the field of sales?

I am a testament to how internal opportunities can shape a career, and my dedication to the field of sales has been key to my success. Passion and love for the field of sales are essential for success. Combined with effective communication, resilience, product knowledge, adaptability, and a growth mindset, they form the foundation for a thriving sales career. It not only works in the sales field. I would say in any field, if you love the work, you grow even faster.

What does your role as Assistant Director of Sales and Contracting entail?

As Assistant Director of Sales and Contracting, my responsibilities include overseeing sales operations, managing relationships with key partners and travel agencies, negotiating contracts, and collaborating with various teams to ensure successful sales outcomes. I work closely with the sales team to develop strategies and achieve sales targets. Additionally, I frequently act as a brand representative at industry events, trade shows, and sales missions.

Can you tell us what is unique about THE OZEN COLLECTION resorts?

I would say, personalised attention to detail and harmonious indulgence. The resort’s exclusive holiday plans encompass all that guests need for a memorable holiday. From rejuvenating spa treatments and exhilarating water sports to cultural experiences and excursions, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The resorts also boast breathtakingly beautiful locations, with pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and stunning coral reefs.

How has your career in sales allowed you to fulfil your dreams?

Working in sales has been a dream come true for me, especially because it has allowed me to travel the world for work. This field has opened doors for personal and professional growth, and I couldn’t be happier with the path I’ve taken. My very first business trip was to OTM Mumbai in 2019 and ITB Berlin in 2019. Since then, I have represented THE OZEN COLLECTION at various sales events including Loop events in Tirol, Hungary, UNIQUE Event in Neuschwanstein, SOUL Berlin, ILTM Cannes, and a 3-week Europe Roadshow. Connecting with partners in their home base makes it easier to understand the nuances of the market, leading to more effective sales strategies. At the same time, it gives me a chance to immerse in a new culture.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their career in the hospitality industry?

Working in the hospitality industry may not be a smooth journey, but it is worth it. Venturing into unfamiliar territory can be daunting, as it requires stepping out of one’s comfort zone. However, when you look back after about a year, you will see what kind of a person you have become and you will be proud of yourself. I would just say don’t give up, work hard, and the final result will be very sweet.

Atmosphere Core, representing Atmosphere Core Private Limited, offers world-class hospitality inspired by the ‘Joy Of Giving’ philosophy. Atmosphere Core operates eight resorts in the Maldives within a powerful brand portfolio comprising THE OZEN COLLECTION, Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts, and COLOURS OF OBLU.

The company is poised for strong growth in South Asia, with three THE OZEN COLLECTION properties in the pipeline. OZEN MANSION KOLKATA opening in Q1 2024 in India, OZEN PRIVÉ ATHIRI GILI set for Q4 2024 in the Maldives, and OZEN SECLUDED TANGALLE in Sri Lanka.

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The Nautilus Maldives welcomes Christopher Terry as Executive Chef

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The Nautilus Maldives has announced the appointment of Christopher Terry as their new Executive Chef. Chef Terry brings a wealth of experience and a global flair to the resort’s diverse dining experiences.

A native of Antigua and Barbuda, Chef Terry’s culinary skills encompass a wide range of cuisines, including Mediterranean, French, Caribbean, European, and Asian. This makes him a perfect fit for The Nautilus, which is known for its eclectic and unique dining options.

Throughout his 15-year career, Chef Terry has honed his craft at some of the world’s most prestigious luxury resorts, including Aman, Rosewood Resorts, and Sandals Resorts. His exceptional talent has been recognized with numerous awards, such as the Artisan Award at the Antigua & Barbuda National Youth Awards and Young Chef of the Year by the Antigua Hotel’s and Tourist Association.

Chef Terry believes in using the finest ingredients, with a focus on fresh, local produce. His culinary philosophy aligns perfectly with The Nautilus’s commitment to providing exceptional experiences and unforgettable taste journeys for its guests.

Under Chef Terry’s leadership, guests at The Nautilus can expect to explore the following:

  • Zeytoun: Offering a focus on the aromatic herbs and spices of the Mediterranean.
  • Ocaso: Blending Japanese cuisine with a modern Latin American twist.
  • Thyme: Featuring comforting international cuisine, with flavors ranging from Asian to Mediterranean.

Chef Terry’s creations promise to be a reflection of pure, high-quality ingredients, thoughtfully paired for a delicious dining experience.

Equipped with a degree in Culinary Arts and a Wines and Spirits certification, Chef Terry brings a spirit of curiosity and a passion for culinary innovation to The Nautilus. Inspired by the Maldives’s rich natural bounty and pristine ingredients, he aims to elevate The Nautilus’s menus with his signature Caribbean-infused creations.

To discover the epicurean journeys available at The Nautilus Maldives, visit www.thenautilusmaldives.com.

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Avani+ Fares Maldives Resort appoints Thaaif Ahmed appointed as Director of Sales & Marketing

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 Avani+ Fares Maldives Resort, part of Minor Hotels, has announced the appointment of Thaaif Ahmed as the Director of Sales & Marketing, effective 1 May 2024. 

Thaaif brings nearly two decades of experience in the hospitality industry, with a significant portfolio  of roles within Minor Hotels. His career includes serving as the Director of Sales at NH Collection  Maldives, where he played a pivotal role in driving revenue growth and fostering strategic  partnerships. 

Throughout his tenure, Thaaif has demonstrated exceptional leadership capabilities and a profound  understanding of the industry landscape. His strategic prowess and collaborative approach have  consistently delivered outstanding results, making him a respected figure within the organisation. 

In his previous capacity as Cluster Director of Sales, overseeing Anantara Dhigu Resort Maldives,  Anantara Veli Resort Maldives, and Naladhu Private Island, Thaaif contributed to the success and  growth of the brand.  

As he assumes the role of Director of Sales & Marketing at Avani+ Fares Maldives Resort, Thaaif is  poised to leverage his wealth of experience and expertise to drive brand positioning, enhance  revenue streams, and elevate the overall guest experience. His appointment underscores the  resort’s commitment to excellence and innovation in the hospitality sector. 

Please join Stuart De San Nicolas, Cluster General Manager of Anantara Kihavah, Avani+ Fares and  NH Collection Havodda plus Riaan Drever, General Manager of Fares in congratulating Thaaif on his  well-deserved promotion. We also express our gratitude to Paul Counihan, for his support during our  pre-opening and opening stages. Paul will transition to focus on Anantara Kihavah, our sister  property in Baa Atoll, while Thaaif assumes leadership at Avani+ Fares Maldives. 

Set on the natural tropical island of Fares and surrounded by the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve’s deep  blue hues, the resort offers an abundance of aquatic adventures as well as pristine sandy beaches  for pure relaxation. With 176 stylish villas, pavilions, and studios, Avani+ Fares welcomes couples  and honeymooners, as well as families and groups, with a focus on multi-room accommodation. 

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Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives appoints Warren Moore as Executive Chef

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Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives has announced the appointment of Warren Moore as the resort’s new Executive Chef. 

Chef Warren Moore hailing from South Africa, brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise,  having earned his Culinary Degree at City and Guilds Culinary Institute. With over 25 years of  distinguished service in the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry, Chef Warren is poised to elevate the  culinary offerings at Seaside Finolhu to new heights. 

In his previous role, Chef Warren served as Executive Chef at Jawakara Maldives, where he showcased  his culinary prowess and leadership skills. Prior to that, he spent seven years honing his craft within  various properties of the esteemed Crown and Champa Resorts Group. His culinary journey has taken  him across continents, including stints in South Africa, Mozambique, London, and the United States. 

As the Executive Chef at Seaside Finolhu, Chef Warren will oversee all culinary operations, ensuring  the highest standards of hygiene and food quality are maintained. His responsibilities include  supervising daily kitchen operations, managing food production, and leading kitchen staff with a focus  on excellence and innovation.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Warren Moore to our team at Seaside Finolhu,” said Steven Phillips  General Manager of Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives. “His extensive experience and passion for  culinary excellence will undoubtedly enhance the dining experience for our guests and further solidify  our reputation as a gastronomic heaven in the Maldives.” 

With Chef Warren Moore at the helm, Seaside Finolhu looks forward to delivering unforgettable  culinary experiences that celebrate the rich flavours of the Maldives and beyond. 

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