The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) hosted its inaugural Member Forum on the 15th of May 2023 at H. Meerumaa, Male’. The event hosted 80 attendees that included MATI members and representatives of the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Technology.
The primary objective of the forum was to engage in productive discussions and find meaningful solutions to pertinent issues and challenges faced by the Maldives Tourism Industry. As importantly, to convey the importance of sharing knowledge, expertise and industry best practices with the intention of enhancing the collaborative atmosphere within the Industry.
The thematic areas designated for the forum included Waste Management, Renewable Energy Generation at resorts and managing increases in fuel costs. These topics were assigned based on feedback received during the 33rd AGM of MATI held in February of this year. Members had raised concerns that waste management best practices were being imposed on just the Tourism Industry and advocated for a national waste management plan to be implemented encompassing all industries and communities.
Furthermore, concerns were raised by the fact that with newly enacted regulations barring the disposal of wet waste into the ocean coming into effect, the facilitation of alternative industry-wide solutions was lacking. On the topic of renewable energy generation, members called for the facilitation of more industry and nationwide dissemination of knowledge, expertise and financing mechanisms to increase industry renewable energy production. Increasing fuel costs are seen as one of the most burdensome operational costs for the tourism industry. The volatility of oil prices and limitations of suppliers serving the industry has meant that this is a critical component affecting the profitability of resorts. There was an urgent call to come up with innovative solutions and address this issue at a national level.
Presentations on these thematic areas were given by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Technology, Four Seasons Resorts Maldives, Sun Siyam Resorts, Soneva, Crown and Champa Resorts (CCR) and Atmosphere Core.
The forum concluded with a statement by the Secretary General of MATI Mr Ahmed Nazeer. Mr Nazeer reiterated the importance of addressing issues such as waste management, renewable energy generation, and management of fuel costs, which he deemed were nationwide challenges that were critical in ensuring the sustainability of not only the tourism industry but the entire nation. Mr Nazeer also emphasised the importance of enhancing the ongoing private sector / public sector partnership and highlighted MATI’s longstanding history of a close working partnership with the Government. He concluded with a call to pursue policies and actions that enhance economic and social well-being and a commitment to continue this close working relationship in the years to come.
The 2nd Edition of the Member Forum is tentatively scheduled to take place in July 2023.