The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry, a group representing resort operators, held an award ceremony on Sunday night (17 July) as part of celebrations for the golden jubilee of tourism this year.
The ’50 Years of Tourism Awards by MATI’ honoured “organisations and individuals that have exceptionally contributed to the tourism industry” over the past half-century.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, as chief guest of the ceremony held at Kurumba resort, handed out the ‘Pioneers Award’ to the four trailblazers who brought the first tourists to the Maldives. A special award also recognised the contributions of former presidents Ibrahim Nasir and Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
The winners of the 57 awards in total were “selected by a committee of industry experts and veterans that comprehensively vetted and evaluated all nominations received,” according to MATI.
In his remarks, the president assured his administration’s support for the industry. The completion of Velana International Airport’s new terminal would increase capacity to 7.2 million passengers annually and unlock further growth potential, he said.
Celebratory activities organised by NGO for the year includes the introduction of the Chevening/ MATI scholarships, a partnership with Parley Maldives to tackle plastic pollution and promote environmental conservation, and two coffee table books – ‘Maldivian Resort Architecture – 50 years of island resorts’ authored by Mauroof Jameel and ’50 years of Tourism in Maldives – the Pioneers, People and Policies that Shaped the Industry’ by Dr Simad Saeed – to be released during a gala dinner to mark the 40th Anniversary of MATI on 12 August 2022.