Tourism Growth Outpaces Local Workforce in Maldives, Study Finds

A new study has revealed a projected critical imbalance in the local-to-expatriate employment ratio within the Maldives tourism industry. The report, utilizing 2022 Census data and industry growth forecasts, anticipates a ratio of approximately 30:70 (local to expatriate) by 2027. This is attributed to both demographic challenges within the Maldivian workforce and the sector’s continued expansion.

According to the 2022 Census, 22,244 Maldivians are currently employed in the tourism industry. The National Skills Development Corporation forecasts industry growth between 25% to 35%, creating 14,461 to 20,245 new jobs in the next five years. However, demographic projections suggest only 2,439 new Maldivian entrants will join the tourism workforce during this period.

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Consequently, the 2027 employment demand within the tourism sector is estimated to reach 78,087. Given the limited increase in the local workforce, this creates a substantial gap of approximately 55,404 positions likely to be filled by expatriates.

The research highlights a need for policy adjustments and targeted initiatives to encourage greater local participation in the tourism sector. Recommendations include enhanced vocational training, scholarships, flexible work arrangements, digital job platforms, and integrating hospitality knowledge into school curricula. The study’s authors emphasize the importance of addressing this imbalance to ensure the sustainable growth of this vital industry within the Maldivian economy.

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