MALE, Maldives, 22 September 2022: Decisions stakeholders make today will define the next era of Maldives tourism, said QUO CEO David Keen during the keynote address at the sixth annual Hotelier Maldives GM Forum.
He defined the Maldives as a global icon and benchmark for tourism worldwide, suggesting it was time to form a road map to sustain its pre-eminent role.
This year’s forum marked the 50th anniversary of Maldives tourism. In looking to the future, Keen urged attendees to remember how the Maldives arrived at the present, noting an “absolute correlation between where we sit and where we’re going”.
“The Maldives is the benchmark for global tourism,” Keen told the audience that included the Minister of Tourism, Dr Abdulla Mausoom.
Keen shared candidly that the country was at a turning point from which it had to form a road map to the future.
He noted that the Maldives’ reputation as an icon of glamour and luxury would be tested by economic headwinds and arrivals growth, which he summarised as trade-offs between exclusivity and accessibility. A key challenge would be developing strategies for the two to coexist.
Commenting on the early days of Maldives’ tourism industry — when the nation’s isolation and pristine nature fuelled a sense of adventure in visitors — he said the future of tourism would be defined by decisions industry stakeholders made today.
“Following the current market, forces could lead to short-term growth at the expense of perception.”
Instead, Keen urged attendees to take charge and curate the coming era by diversifying product offerings, integrating experiences between islands and pioneering new experiences for guests. The result would be long-term growth, greater cultural distinction and an emboldened Brand Maldives.
Hotelier Maldives managing editor Mohamed Mamduh said at the close of the event: “Keen’s keynote and the Q&A with the pioneers placed the challenges facing the Maldives in a global context. It will certainly catalyse the destination, giving policymakers and tourism entrepreneurs plenty to think about as they strategise for the next 50 years.”
The forum was organised by Hotelier Maldives and hosted at Kurumba Maldives, the archipelago’s first resort.
(Source: Delivering Asia)