Maldives celebrated its golden jubilee in tourism sector on 3rd September 2022. Fifty years ago, no one would have believed that the island nation in the India ocean would go on to becoming one of the world’s top leading destination in future.
This all feels like a dream, but the pioneers made it happen. A curious foreign traveler, George Corbin who was in search of new tourist destinations met with the tourism pioneer Mohamed Umar Manik and they made magic happen in a land where people were still using radios and morse code to communicate. Reminiscing the old days Manik says that Corbin made him realize the jewel that Maldives was and that it had great potential to flourish as a tourism sector. He says this is what encouraged him, Naseem and Hussain Afeef to embark on this journey.
Maldives 50 years later:
The ceremony to commemorate the first National Tourism Day was held at Kurumba Maldives. The venue of the gala – Kurumba Maldives – is Maldives’ first resort – which opened on October 3, 1972. Today, 50 years later, the Maldives has 170 resorts, 866 hotels and guesthouses, and 154 liveaboards registered in the Maldives which brings the total bed capacity to 59,601. Today, the Maldives is known to everyone and tourism has flourished with the passion, determination and hard work of its young and energetic Maldivian founders.
President Solih makes his address:
President Solih said the biggest transformation to the Maldivian tourism sector was seen in the 1980s – due to the hard work of the people who joined the sector. He said that the role of any government is to design national policies that can be implemented through the legislative system, and that the Maldivian tourism sector became world-renowned because the private sector had complete autonomy over its development.
In his speech, President Solih said that the aim was to expand tourism throughout the country, and noted the expansion of Hanimaadhoo Airport, Velana International Airport, and Gan International Airport. He also said that the development of airports, expansion of the seaplane network, and connecting the atolls across the country via Raajje Transport Link (RTL) ferries would boost opportunities for island tourism.
President Solih also stated that thousands of new job opportunities have emerged in the Maldives’ tourism industry over the last four years.
At the event, the President launched the Maldives Tourism Awards and presented awards to six recipients.
During the gala, the President conferred the President’s Tourism Gold Award to 77 individuals.
Remarks made by MMPRC Director:
Speaking at the event, Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) Thoyyib Mohamed stated that Maldives is victorious in tourism due to the hard work done despite the looming fear of the Covid-19 global pandemic. He said that Maldives was able to move past tourism coming to a complete halt with Covid-19, due to the decisions made by the government leaders.
Furthermore, he said that the title of leading destination has already been achieved, and the work must be done to retain it, adding that it is not an easy task.
NHGA envisions a world-class tourism institute in Maldives:
National Hotels and Guesthouse Association of Maldives (NHGA) on Sunday expressed the significance of establishing a world-class tourism institute in Maldives.
The President of NHGA Abdulla Nasheed said that the industry can only be taken to future generations by ensuring its benefits are reaped by people from all walks of life. He thanked President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih for bringing in a law that allowed guesthouses to be developed in the islands while fulfilling the role of a senior Parliamentarian from MDP.
He further said that once Hanimaadhoo International Airport is operational, the guesthouse industry will see a further expansion across the atolls.
He expressed his certainty that just as the people of Maafushi enjoy the incoming dollars, people of the country in the north and south will be eager for the same. He then said that soon, people in these regions will be enjoying the true benefits of the industry as well.
National Tourism Day will officially be marked on the 3rd of October ever year from now on. This year, the day was made a public holiday by the government.