The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) hosted its inaugural Member Forum on Monday (15 May). Over 80 attendees participated at the forum held in Malé, including members of MATI, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Technology.
According to MATI, 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, and to convey the importance of sharing knowledge, expertise and industry best practices to enhance collaboration within the Industry.
Discussion themes for the forum included waste management, renewable energy generation at resorts and managing fluctuations in fuel costs. According to MATI, the topics were assigned based on feedback received during its 33rd Annual General Meeting held in February.
“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, MATI said.
“Furthermore, concerns were raised by the fact that with newly enacted regulations barring disposal of wet waste into the ocean coming into effect, that facilitation of alternative industry wide solutions was lacking.”
MATI members also called for the facilitation of industry and nationwide dissemination of knowledge, expertise and financing mechanisms to increase industry renewable energy production.
According to MATI, increasing fuel costs is considered one of the most burdening 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 the themes were given by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Technology, Four Seasons Resorts Maldives, Sun Siyam Resorts, Soneva, Crown and Champa Resorts and Atmosphere Core.
The forum concluded with a statement by Ahmed Nazeer, the Secretary General of MATI. Nazeer reiterated the importance of addressing waste management, renewable energy generation and management of fuels costs, issues that he deemed were nationwide challenges that were critical in ensuring the sustainability of not only the tourism industry but the entire nation.
Nazeer also emphasised the importance of enhancing the ongoing partnership between the public and private sectors, and highlighted the longstanding history of MATI’s close partnership with the Government. He concluded the statement 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.