The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) has released a document highlighting several key issues and recommendations for the sustainable development of the tourism sector in the Maldives. Among the various points raised, the focal concern is the current quota policy for employment in the tourism industry, especially within the resort sector.
MATI highlights the significant reliance of the Maldivian economy on the tourism industry, with resorts playing an important role. However, a major challenge facing the industry is the mismatch between the available local workforce and the increasing employment demands. A study by People First HR Consultancy revealed that by 2027, the tourism industry will require approximately 78,087 employees, an increase of 20,245 from 2022. This growth far outpaces the forecasted number of local entrants to the workforce, which stands at only 18,658 for the period 2023-2027.
Alarmingly, the expected influx of local workers into the tourism industry is predicted to be a mere 2,439, making it impractical to maintain the current employment ratio of 55% expatriates to 45% locals. MATI emphasizes the urgent need to reassess and revise this ratio to reflect the actual availability and distribution of the workforce across industries in the Maldives.
The association also points out the importance of facilitating work visas for foreign musicians, performers, and entertainers, acknowledging the shortage of local talent in these areas. Entertainment and music are vital services in tourist establishments, often integral to their brand promise, and according to MATI, the current local pool is insufficient to meet the demand.
Further recommendations from MATI include streamlining operational licensing processes, increasing the involvement of the resort sector in destination marketing, and simplifying visa procedures for business visitors. MATI advocates for the Ministry of Tourism to serve as the central hub for overseeing all matters related to the industry and suggests that more representation from MATI in tourism-related institutions would be beneficial.
This document from MATI highlights the need for a more pragmatic approach to employment and operational policies in the Maldives’ tourism sector, ensuring its continued growth and sustainability amidst a rapidly evolving global landscape.