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Ahmed Zahir and Judy Ong, Exemplars of Dedication and Vision in Angsana Velavaru

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Angsana Velavaru is thrilled to announce the promotions of two of its exemplars of dedication and vision.

In a remarkable testament to dedication, loyalty, and transformative leadership, Ahmed Zahir has ascended from humble beginnings to become the first local General Manager within the Banyan Group, Maldives.  His success story is inspirational for the young Maldivians who wish to soar high in the hospitality industry, especially in their own country, dubbed as the ‘sunny side of life’.

His remarkable journey within the Banyan Group commenced in 1995 as a Laundry Supervisor at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru.  Zahir’s unwavering commitment became evident.  Over the years, he assumed pivotal roles including Housekeeping Supervisor, Assistant Housekeeper, Executive Assistant Housekeeper, and Executive Housekeeper, showcasing his versatility and dedication to every aspect of hotel management and operations.

In 2006, Zahir became the Front Office Manager at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, marking a significant step in his career.  In 2009, Zahir served as Rooms Division Manager at Angsana Velavaru.  His dedication, persistence, and leadership skills were further evident during the InOcean Villa Pre-Opening, and his role as the acting General Manager from 2012 to 2013.

In 2015, his journey continued with roles like Director of Rooms at Banyan Tree Bangkok, and then became the Executive Assistant Manager at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru from 2016 to 2021.  Zahir played a pivotal role in running the daily hotel operations, and assisting the General Manager on various projects.  

In 2020, Zahir assumed the role of Acting General Manager at Angsana Velavaru before being promoted to Hotel Manager in 2021.  His transformative leadership especially during challenging times set new standards for excellence – a journey that symbolises a commitment to the hospitality industry that culminated in his recent promotion from Hotel Manager to General Manager.  

His recent role as Hotel Manager showcased exceptional leadership and strategic vision, bringing about unprecedented achievements, including consecutive years of maximum bonuses and incentives.  His influence extends beyond financial success.  Under his leadership, Angsana Velavaru earned accolades, including the title of “Best Honeymoon Destination” by Travel Trade Maldives and TripAdvisor’s Readers’ Choice Award – both in 2023.  During his tenure, the resort achieved its historical highest associate Satisfaction Index (91.3%) with the lowest associate turnover, fostering a positive and motivated work environment.

Zahir expressed, “Guiding my team through challenges taught me the significance of clear communication, trust, and empowering diverse skills.  Leading through organisational change underscored adaptability, vision, and effective communication.  Personally, I aimed to cultivate resilience, flexibility, and collaboration. I promoted innovative solutions, maintained open communication, and offered steadfast support.”

He added, “As a leader, I emphasised setting a positive example and embracing adaptability.  This personal journey has influenced my leadership style, focusing on adaptability, empathy, and fostering a collaborative culture for positive team results.”

Outside of work, Zahir finds joy in fishing, photography, and watching soccer matches and movies.

Simultaneously, Judy Ong’s commitment and vision shine in her journey from Director of Sales & Marketing to Senior Director of Sales & Marketing.  Since her return to the Banyan Group in 2018, Judy has consistently demonstrated exceptional leadership, achieving impressive revenue growth and exceeding targets.  Her multifaceted role includes strategic planning, team leadership, and effective sales initiatives. Embracing diversity is one of the visions of the sales and marketing team where Judy ensures fair market share for the resort from the tourist arrivals into Maldives. 

In 2021 and 2022, Judy’s achievements included remarkable revenue growth and substantial increases in Average Daily Rate (ADR) and gaining above market share from each key feeder market arrivals.  As Senior Director, Judy will continue spearheading strategic planning and revenue generation, underscoring her commitment to cost-effective sales and marketing operations.Outside of work, Judy finds joy in staying active through high intensity training workouts and indulges her passion for travel to nature.

Part of Banyan Group, an independent, global hospitality company with purpose, formerly known as Banyan Tree Group, Angsana Velavaru is a vibrant tropical getaway offering 79 private villas, all with beach frontage, and a cluster of 34 InOcean Villas.  As the resort celebrates these exceptional leaders, their journeys stand as a source of inspiration for the Banyan Group and the broader hospitality industry.

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Sun Siyam Resorts Boosts PR & Communications Team with Appointment of Erika Magora for Sun Siyam Iru Veli & Sun Siyam Vilu Reef

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Sun Siyam Resorts has announced a dynamic addition to its PR and Communications team with the appointment of Erika Magora as Cluster Assistant PR & Communications Manager for Sun Siyam Iru Veli and Sun Siyam Vilu Reef. With an impressive background in law from the UK, coupled with a diverse upbringing in the Philippines and Malaysia, Erika brings a unique blend of skills and experiences to our renowned luxury resorts.

Prior to joining Sun Siyam Resorts, Erika served as the key figure in managing Marketing Communications at the prestigious 5-star luxury resort, The Datai Langkawi in Malaysia. Her collaboration with international media, partners, and agencies has significantly contributed to the resort’s global presence. She has worked with top journalists, production crews and PR partners from the UK, Europe, Australia, America and Asian regions. Erika also has experience in sales and marketing when she played a pivotal role in the Asia Pacific region’s sales and marketing for Foodpanda, a leading delivery brand in Asia. 

I cherish the cultural diversity and distinctions of both properties that I work for. Sun Siyam Iru Veli fascinates me as it revels in its private luxury tranquility, attracting a premium market. In Sun Siyam Vilu Reef, the naturally playful environment and genuine warmth of the people that create an inviting haven for repeater guests, captivate me. Both are beautiful, each in its unique way. Embracing diverse media and markets adds excitement to my work. The pristine beach and sea in both places energize me, fueling my passion for what I do.” expressed, Erika.

Claudia Klingbeil, Group Director of PR & Communications at Sun Siyam Resorts said: “Erika’s appointment underscores our dedication to assembling a team of talented individuals who not only possess exceptional professional capabilities but also embody the diverse cultural tapestry that defines our global clientele. We are confident that Erika’s passion for communication, coupled with her international perspective, will elevate our PR and Communications efforts to new heights of success.”

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Harshal Kumar Appointed as Cluster Executive Chef for Hurawalhi Island Resort &  Kudadoo Maldives Private Island

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Crown and Champa Resorts has announced the appointment of Harshal Kumar as  the Executive Chef for Hurawalhi Island Resort and Kudadoo Maldives Private Island.  With an illustrious culinary journey, spanning years of dedication and expertise, Harshal  brings a wealth of experience and innovation to his new role.Harshal’s journey began  with a graduation from the School of Hotel Management, HTMI Switzerland New Delhi,  laying the foundation for a remarkable career. He enhanced his skills at prestigious  establishments such as The Claridges Hotels New Delhi and V Qutab Hotels & Resort, 

Mahindra resorts, where he showcased his culinary proficiency and commitment to  excellence. 

Throughout his distinguished career, Harshal has garnered numerous accolades,  including being a gold medalist in the South American Chef Competition and  representing the Chef’s Culinary Forum of WACS. His talents have earned him global  recognition, with collaborations alongside renowned chefs such as Australian celebrity  chef Luke Mangan and Michelin-starred chef Dominik Kappelar. Notable highlights of  Harshal’s journey include his tenure with Gordon Ramsay for his pop-up restaurant,  Bread Street Kitchen, at Amilla Fushi Maldives, where he elevated culinary experiences  to new heights. His exceptional leadership and culinary vision led to his promotion to  Cluster Executive Chef for Kudadoo and Hurawalhi Island Resort in 2023. 

In his own words, Harshal reflects on his culinary journey: “I stand in the heart of the  kitchen, surrounded by the symphony of sizzling pans and the aromatic dance of herbs  and spices. It all began with a love for food – the magic of transforming simple  ingredients into extraordinary creations that tantalize taste buds and evoke emotions.” 

As Executive Chef, Harshal is poised to craft exceptional menus for the most  breathtaking undersea restaurant in the Maldives and to oversee culinary operations  at both Kudadoo and Hurawalhi. His passion for culinary excellence and dedication to  creating unforgettable dining experiences will undoubtedly elevate the guest  experience to new heights. 

Nestled amidst the pristine beauty of the Maldives, Hurawalhi Island Resort and  Kudadoo Maldives Private Island offer unparalleled luxury and tranquility. With pristine  lagoons and powdery white sandy beaches, these resorts provide the perfect backdrop  for unforgettable holiday experiences. 

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Oaga Art Resort Appoints New Island Chief  and Resort Manager

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Oaga Art Resort, a renowned destination for art enthusiasts and luxury seekers  alike, has announced the promotion of two key members of its team:  Samee Saeed has been appointed Island Chief Katheeb, and Nazim Mohamed,  known as Naadhu, has been named Resort Manager. 

Samee Saeed, a seasoned hospitality professional with over 18 years of experience, brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his new role as Island  Chief Katheeb. Having previously served as Resort Manager at Oaga, Samee possesses a deep understanding of the resort’s operations and brand values. In  his new position, he will be responsible for overseeing a wide range of projects,  from planning and organizing to directing and managing, ensuring they align with  the Board of Directors’ vision and contribute to the resort’s continued success. His  strategic approach, coupled with strong communication skills, will be instrumental  in leading various resort areas and curating experiences that elevate the guest  journey. 

Nazim Mohamed (Naadhu), with over 20 years of experience in the hospitality  industry, takes on the crucial role of Resort Manager. Naadhu has steadily climbed  the ranks since his start as a Guest Relations Officer, demonstrating dedication  and leadership qualities. His diverse experience, encompassing roles like Front  Office Manager at various Maldivian resorts, equips him with an understanding of  resort operations and guest service excellence. As Resort Manager, Naadhu will be  responsible for planning, organizing, directing, and managing all resort operations,  ensuring they deliver the exceptional Oaga guest experience while maximizing  profitability and fostering employee engagement. 

“We are delighted to promote Samee and Naadhu to these pivotal roles. Both  individuals have demonstrated their commitment to Oaga’s values and vision,  and we are hopeful that they will make significant contributions to the resort’s  success,” stated the Company Directors of Oaga Art Resort.

With Samee and Naadhu at the helm, Oaga Art Resort is poised for continued  growth and success. Their combined expertise and commitment to excellence will  ensure that the resort remains a haven for art enthusiasts and discerning  travellers seeking an unforgettable Maldivian experience. 

For Maldives lovers searching for an all-inclusive holiday, Oaga Art Resort’s  Greatest All-Inclusive plan re-defines the limits of what All-Inclusive is all about;  with inclusions such as Creative Expression (art) classes, Take Notes (music)  experiences, In-Villa Dining to floating meal, choices of excursions, motorised  watersports and many more. Guests looking to book the resort can visit the  website, www.oagaresorts.com to book your stay, don’t miss out! 

Situated in North Malé Atoll, Oaga Art Resort is 45 minutes by speedboat from  Malé International Airport. A small island with 60 villas with beach and over water  options, 5 dining venues and a spa inspired by Maldivian traditional healing  practices, Oaga Art Resort’s artistic and creative spaces offer an immersive  experience curated by local and visiting artists, and craftsmen from the Maldives.

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