Maldives Promotion House – Dusit International has yesterday celebrated the grand opening of its milestone property, the Dusit Thani Maldives in a ceremony that saw President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik and First Lady, Madam Illham Hussain, as guests of honour. Also in attendance was the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor.
VIP guests representing the Dusit group included Chanin Donavanik, CEO of Dusit International and Chatri Sophonpanich, Chairman of Dusit Thani Public Company limited and the DMS board of directors.
The now fully operational Dusit Thani Maldives is yet another jewel in the Dusit International crown and while it looks to be hugely successful as a luxurious resort hotel that has already enjoyed an unprecedented reception as an eco conscious travel experience par excellence, it is also recognized by its host country as making a significant contribution to the local economy.
In this regard, the President Dr. Waheed said, “The Republic of the Maldives will not only benefit from economic gains and job creation as a result of Dusit International’s investment, but equally, if not more important, is the legacy afforded by the education opportunities that Dusit International will introduce to this country.”
The President continued, “the group has created a blue print to develop their well established and highly successful hospitality college in the Maldives.”
President Dr. Waheed said that this is a major milestone for the tourism industry and it is imperative in order to continue to maintain high standards and opportunities for all Maldivians. He noted that the tourism today is the single largest contributor to the national economy, representing some 30% of our GDP. He added that the strengthening of our tourism education infrastructure will allow us to ensure that the Maldives remains the leading global luxury tourism destination.
Furthermore, the President highlighted that the tourism sector has never been more buoyant – and the government is on target to achieve our goal of our One Millionth tourist arrival this year.
Indeed the number of visitors from Southeast Asia alone – particularly Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia – increased by almost 14% in the first half of 2012. We look forward to this trend continuing with the opening of Dusit Thani Maldives, a well-known and respected Asian brand with deep Thai roots,” he said.
Chanin Donavanik, CEO of Dusit International said, “It has always been the dream of Dusit International to establish a hotel property on this beautiful island destination. To see the dream transformed into the reality of the Dusit Thani Maldives is a source of tremendous pride and satisfaction for the entire Dusit group.”
The CEO said that Thanpuying Chanut Piyaoui opened the Dusit Thani College in 1993 and confirmed that the Dusit Thani College is in the process of being established in the Maldives.
“We have much confidence in the Maldives. We believe that our investment will be greatly beneficial and look forward to long-term success as full business partners in the tourism industry,” he said.
Located on Mudhdhoo Island in Baa Atoll, Dusit Thani Maldives is 35 minutes by seaplane from the capital Malé and only 10 minutes by speed boat from the new domestic airport opening soon. It is also just a short boat ride away from Hanifaru Huraa, the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
General Manager, Desmond Hatton said, “It is a natural environment that has inspired and motivated the design of Dusit Thani Maldives to ensure that it co-exists in harmony with the magnificent Maldivian biodiversity. We are also doing everything we can here to set standards for sustainability. Our entire operation is geared toward achieving a carbon-neutral programme using pioneering, green energy solutions.”
The fully operational Dusit Thani Maldives comprises a luxurious collection of exclusive guest villas and residences that feature a host of amenities including a complimentary Wi-Fi internet connection, 46” LED IPTV with satellite channels, BOSE surround sound systems, wine chiller and Nespresso coffee. The resort also features three restaurants, two bars and Dusit’s signature Devarana Spa, uniquely elevated above a grove of coconut palm trees.
Hilton earns top honors as World’s Best Workplace and Great Place to Work
For the first time ever, Hilton has been named the No.1 World’s Best Workplace by Fortune magazine and Great Place to Work. This recognition – the culmination of eight consecutive appearances on the “World’s Best” list – also marks the first time a hospitality company has achieved the top honor in this best-in-class program.
In another first, Hilton was certified as a Great Place to Work in the Maldives earlier this year, celebrating a workplace culture where team members are encouraged to pursue their passions, draw upon their unique experiences, and be their authentic selves at work as they deliver exceptional stays for all guests.
These awards are a testament to Hilton’s continuous efforts to build an inclusive, purpose driven workplace culture that provides growth opportunities and robust support for team members to achieve their potential and thrive.
Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa continues to foster an environment for local talent to flourish, empowering Maldivian professionals who have developed within the group to progress along their career paths.
Key figures at the resort include Director of Operations Ahmed Anees, who is the first Maldivian professional to be elevated to this role within Hilton’s portfolio of brands in the country; Bars and Beverage Manager Ali Hamdan, and sommelier Gasim Ibrahim.
Anees’ 18 years of experience encompass a variety of roles, such managing transport, housekeeping and front office operations for both Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. His years of overseeing housekeeping also led him to co-found the Maldives Housekeepers Association, the country’s largest and sole nationally recognized association, where he advocates for training and development, and provides professional support.
Ali Hamdan joined Conrad Maldives as a bar attendant and was promoted to bartender within three years. His growth as a mixologist was enhanced by plentiful opportunities to train in various locations, from a Singaporean brewery to a Japanese sake house and the great Champagne houses of France. He is the first Maldivian mixologist certified by the International Bartenders Association.
Like Hamdan, Gasim Ibrahim began his Conrad Maldives stint as an F&B attendant, and it was there that he came under the tutelage of the head sommelier and began his education in earnest. Over a decade later, he is now one of the rare Maldivian sommeliers working in the industry and is currently completing his WSET Level 3 certification.
While at Conrad Maldives, both Hamdan and Gasim competed with distinction at the Hilton South East Asia Food & Beverage (SEA F&B) Masters, an annual series of rigorous competitions designed to showcase the best F&B talent across Hilton properties in the region on an international level.
Another valuable benefit of working with Hilton is career mobility. This facilitates the seamless exchange of skills and brings a diverse range of perspectives and expertise to the organization, which is evident in the team make-up.
Other team members such as Executive Housekeeper Hussain Visham, Front Office Manager Ali Shunaiz and Purchasing Manager Adam Ali, all of whom were previously from Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, brought their invaluable experience to Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa, and are fundamental to the smooth operations at the resort.
Similarly, HR Manager Nani Rasheed, IT Manager Naji Mohamed, Restaurant Manager Mohamed Niyaz, and Laundry Manager Abdulla Shareef all came from Conrad Maldives, and other team members, like Duty Manager Sajid Bushry, joined from overseas Hilton properties and contributed a wealth of multicultural perspectives.
Resort leaders are actively involved in nurturing young professionals. Anees mentors fellow Maldivian and Hilton SEA Management Trainee Hassan Visam throughout an 18-month program designed to develop him for the Duty Manager role.
Regular career workshops are a staple feature of resort activities, as are networking and coaching sessions through the Women Team Members Resource Group. Team members are also able to access specialist certifications, such as the childcare certification from Worldwide Kids that was recently awarded to the Krakengiri Kids’ Club team.
Hilton continues to build purposeful relationships within the community, empowering team members to pursue meaningful initiatives that lead to a lasting positive impact.
IT Manager Naji Mohamed champions Hilton’s Travel with Purpose initiatives. These include a recent visit to Maafushi School in North Male Atoll where Team Members distributed educational children’s literature to the students and water dispensers for the school.
The resort also partnered with Maldives National University to provide internship and career opportunities for the next generation of young hospitality leaders. The first intake culminated in an intern’s successful integration as a regular member of the culinary team.
Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa is part of Hilton Honors®, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 22 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly on the hotel’s website will have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi and the Hilton Honors app.
Chef David Hemmerle at InterContinental Maldives’ The Lighthouse this festive season
Chef David Hemmerle, a leading chef originally from France and now based in Moscow, will be visiting InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort and taking over The Lighthouse restaurant in December.
The Lighthouse has a 360-degree view of the resort and the sparkling Indian Ocean below, offering the finest seasonal ingredients and seafood.
The collaboration with Chef Hemmerle promises to elevate the resort’s culinary experience, providing guests with a diverse range of carefully crafted and delectable dishes that showcase Hemmerle’s culinary skills.
Known for his work in Michelin-rated restaurants in Europe and Asia, Hemmerle has over 30 years of experience in fine dining at the likes of the Four Seasons in Moscow and the Cristal Room Baccarat (Mercury Group), all of which has helped develop a deep understanding of the tastes of metropolitan gourmet cuisine, combined with a rich experience in Michelin-rated restaurants.
Chef Hemmerle will bring the flair and refinement of his homeland’s cuisine to the resort this winter, cooking with creativity & complex techniques and the finest local ingredients.
JA Resorts & Hotels welcomes Khumar Askerova as Director of Sales and Marketing for the Indian Ocean
JA Resorts & Hotels has announced the appointment of Khumar Askerova as the new Director of Sales and Marketing for the Indian Ocean region. Khumar brings with her an impressive 25 years of experience in sales and marketing within the hospitality industry, and a key appointment to the regional team.
The appointment will see Khumar overseeing sales for the company’s Indian Ocean flagship property JA Manafaru in the Maldives and two properties in the Seychelles, the boutique JA Enchanted Island and luxury villa residencies at JA Enchanted Waterfront.
Khumar is a seasoned sales specialist with a diverse background in the hospitality sector. Fluent in English, native in Russian and Azerbaijani, with a good command of Portuguese and Turkish, Khumar’s multilingual skills underscore her ability to connect with a global audience.
Khumar’s most recent role as the Regional Director of Sales & Marketing at COMO Hotels saw her successfully manage a portfolio of key partners, and her expertise extends to new hotel openings, where she has played pivotal roles in the launch and success of four upper-scale Marriott hotels.
Additional Maldivian experience was gained whilst Khumar was Group Director of Sales & Marketing at Lily Beach Hotels also in the Maldives, where she led a cluster team, overseeing sales, reservations, marketing, and revenue for two islands in the Maldives.
Robert El Khoury, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at JA Resorts & Hotels comments, “We are confident that Khumar’s wealth of experience, strategic vision, and leadership qualities will contribute to the ongoing success and growth of our unique properties in the Indian Ocean. We warmly welcome her to our team and look forward to further developing our international presence with Khumar’s global expertise.”
Khumar holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management from Baku State University. She has also obtained certificates in Executive Revenue Management & Strategic Pricing from the Institute of Hotel Management and eCornell Hotel Revenue Management Certificate.
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