Note from the Chairman


 

Dear Valued Members of MATI,

Welcome to the 4th Quarter Issue, 2018 of the MATI Matters Newsletter.

Since, the re-launch of the MATI Matters Newsletter towards the end of the 3rd Quarter of 2018, key developments have taken place in Maldives. The most significant being that, the 7th President of the Republic of Maldives has now been sworn into office.

 

MATI met with the the Economic Affairs Committee of the Transitional Team of Office of the President Elect as well as the Minister of Tourism Hon. Ali Waheed in November of 2018 to discuss important matters related to the Tourism Industry.

 

In terms of the most pressing concerns for the industry, We advocated for the need to place immense emphasis and effort on Destination Promotion. However, of importance is not simply the funding designated towards this effort, but how it is utilised. In this effort, there is a greater need to implement creative and modern marketing strategies and tactics, alongside the traditional channels of marketing.

 

It should be noted that as per the request of the President, we have submitted a document highlighting important areas of concern with regard to the Tourism Industry in December of 2018.

 

We have also promised to offer our full support to the Government and the Ministry of Tourism to assist in the sustainable development of the Tourism Industry.

 

Furthermore, we are strongly optimistic for the future and it is our hope that all stakeholders of our Industry including Guesthouses, Liveaboards, Hotels, Resorts, etc. work together as a collective, on a much enhanced level, to assist in the sustainable development of not just the Tourism Sector, but our nation as a whole.

 

Lastly, I would like to welcome Kandooma Holdings Pvt Ltd,  MTR Holdings Pvt Ltd and Sun Aqua Iru Veli / Ocean Islands Pvt Ltd and Champa Central Hotel that became members of MATI during the 4th Quarter of 2018.


Mr. M. U. Maniku
Chairman of MATI

 

This section is intended to update and inform you of key initiatives and activities conducted by MATI during the 4th Quarter of 2018.

 

Please note that the following is not a comprehensive list of all of our activities, but those which we believe to be the most significant.

 

      1. Executive Board Meetings

 

1. MATI holds the 174th Executive Board Meeting

The Executive Board Members of MATI met on the 24th of October 2018 for the 174th Executive Board Meeting.

Issues discussed included the meeting with President-Elect Hon. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih scheduled for later that day, final review of MATI Matters Newsletter: 3rd Quarter 2018 issue, final review of the new MATI Membership Prospectus, MATI + Parley Maldives joint clean-up event and an update regarding the status of the new Fire Regulation.

 

2. MATI holds the 175th Executive Board Meeting

The Executive Board Members of MATI met on the 5th of December 2018 for the 175th Executive Board Meeting.

Issues discussed included review of the Tourism Industry Matters Document to be submitted to the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Economic Development, AGM 2019, Business Council nominations, review of the new MATI website and the MATI membership registration process for Foreign NGOs’.
 

     B) Development and promotion of the Tourism Industry

 
  1. Creation and submission of ‘‘Tourism Industry Matters’’ document

 

Following meetings with the then President-Elect Hon. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and the Economic Transition Committee of the Office of the President-Elect, it was requested from MATI, to submit a document outlining concerns and suggestions with regard to the Tourism Industry of Maldives.

 

The document highlighted upon issues related to Destination Marketing, Tourism Development, Regulations and Performance Measurement, Operating License, Green Tax, Business Visa, Waste Management, MACL, MIRA and more.

 

The finalised document termed ‘’Tourism Industry Matters’’ was submitted to both the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Economic Development on the 23rd of December 2018.

 
  1. Participation in the Official State Visit of HEP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to India

 

MATI was officially invited to be part of the Business Delegation accompanying HEP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on the first ever State Visit to India from the 16th - 18th December 2018.

 

MATI participated in official discussions with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), to offer information related to investment opportunities and other aspects of the Tourism Industry.

 

Furthermore, a meeting was held with the Outbound Tour Operator Association of India (OTOAI) to discuss Indian market specific issues as well as general Tourism Industry matters.

 
  1. Participation in the 1st Maldives Guesthouse Symposium organised by the Ministry of Tourism

 

MATI participated in the 1st Maldives Guesthouse Symposium organised by the Ministry of Tourism. The Symposium was held on the 29th of December 2018 at Dharubaaruge. Additionally, Mr. Asad Ali, the Deputy Secretary General of MATI was on the panel focused on “Destination Promotion’’

 

The Main objective of this symposium was to create a platform for guesthouse operators and relevant government authorities to come together and discuss issues and constraints, providing strategic directions for sustainable development of guest house sector, which support environmentally sensitive business operations, while protecting the cultural and natural heritage of the island in providing maximum economic and social benefits to the local people.

 

Furthermore, the Chairman of MATI, Mr. M.U.Maniku attended the Gala Dinner hosted during the evening which was also attend by HEP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

 

     C) Regulations and Safety Standards

 
  1. MATI participated in a stakeholder discussion with the Ministry of Environment to review Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedures and practices

 

MATI participated in a stakeholder discussion with the Ministry of Environment to review EIA procedures and practices on the 15th of December 2018.

 

The meeting reflected upon the existing EIA regulations and sought feedback from Industry participants to review and refine the regulation, processes and monitoring mechanisms, to ensure that refined EIA regulation to be  drafted meets industry best practices and assists in the protection and preservation of the ecosystem.

     D) Environment, Culture and Socio-Economic Issues

 
  1. Advocacy for K. Thanburudhoo to be designated as a Protected Area.

 

MATI met with senior representatives of the Maldives Surfing Association (MSA) accompanied by Mr. Abdul Azeez Abdul Hakeem (N.D. Azeez) on the 4th of November 2018 to discuss advocating for the designation of K. Thanburudhoo and surrounding reefs as a protected zone.

 

MSA presented documents related to the socio-ecological and economic importance of protecting K. Thanburudhoo.Furthermore, with the assistance of Mr. Abdul Azeez Abdul Hakeem, in December of 2018, MSA published a booklet detailing the case to protect K. Thanburudhoo which highlights upon the natural land and marine ecosystem that are part of K. Thanburudhoo.

 

MATI fully supported this initiative and sent a letter of support to HEP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on the 3rd of January 2019.

 

2. MATI participates in the 2nd Project ENDhERI Stakeholder Consultation Workshop

 

MATI participated in the 2nd and follow-up workshop of “Project ENDhERI (Enhancing National Development through Environmentally Resilient Islands)” PPG Stakeholder workshop organised by the Ministry of Environment and Energy, held on the 23rd of July 2018.

 

Project ENDhERI is an atoll-wide (Laamu atoll) environmental conservation based project, to be replicated nationally depending on the results. The primary purpose of this project is to implement a system of Natural Capital Accounting.

 

The 2nd workshop was aimed at briefing participants regarding project progress and obtain feedback for ongoing implementation processes.

 

3. MATI donated MVR 250,000 to the National Disaster Management Centre

 

On the 6th of December 2018, MATI donated MVR 250,000 to the National Disaster Management Cetnre to support the relief in relation to the flooding event in Male’ during the first week of December 2018.

 

4. MATI participated in a stakeholder discussion with the UNDP with regard to a planned nationwide vulnerability assessment.

 

MATI attended a meeting on the 8th of November 2018 to provide feedback and information for a nationwide vulnerability assessment which UNDP is planning to conduct in November 2018 to better understand the vulnerabilities facing Maldivian youth and certain factors/groups that are further exacerbating this vulnerability
.

 

3.Insight
 

 
Maldives a Surfers Dream

Maldivians have been surfing since time immemorial. Our ancestors were not blessed with modern surfboards and body boards; however this did not prevent them from venturing out onto the beautiful but unforgiving reef breaks of Maldives. They created makeshift boards from wooden planks, sometimes even stealing old wooden bed slats (locally referred to as Malhu) from some unfortunate grandfather or grandmother.

Who could blame them, the pull of the Maldivian ocean and surf-breaks were far too greater. These were truly the waves of Paradise. A constant 28 degree Celsius water temperature akin to a modern temperature controlled spa bath, lush green islands heralding the whitest of white sandy beaches for a view and crystal clear water underneath your board inhabited by fishes of Paradise itself. Some people say that these perfect wave conditions put some riders into trance like states as even gashes and cuts suffered as a result of wipeouts go unnoticed. As a surfer, I for one can verify this claim.

Though the Maldives have gained popularity internationally for central and southern atoll surfing. There are more than hundreds of surf breaks spread across the Maldives. Conventionally speaking, the South-West Monsoon (Hulhangu Moosun) has been promoted as the official natural surfing season of the Maldives. However, this is a fallacy as there are numerous world class breaks that work even during the North-East Monsoon (Iruvai Moosun)

Of course, it is up to the adventurer in you to locate and learn about these breaks and discover the unsung mysteries of our ancient oceans.

Be warned though, you might never wake up from Maldives: the surfers dream.

 

 

 

  1. ‘’In 2004, with regard to the upcoming expiration of the ‘’Second Tourism Masterplan’’ in 2005 and as a precursor to engaging with the government on the draft of the ‘’Third Tourism Masterplan’’, MATI presented to the government, a research report titled “Strategic Directions for the Maldives Tourism Industry – 2005 & Beyond”. The main thrust of the report was that Maldives should remain faithful to its core market; the budget/charter market that comprised 80% of arrivals while not losing sight of the 20% top end segment’’.

 
  1. ‘’In February of 2005, MATI sent a recommendation to the Government of Maldives, to extend resort leases to a minimum period of 50 years to be effective from date of passing of revised Tourism Act (2/99). MATI believed that it was in the interest of both the government and private sector to extend resort island leases to a minimum period of 50 years as opposed to the present 2-step process by which leases can only be extended to a 50-year period if certain criteria set by the Government are met.

 

Justification being, the confidence required to put more into the investment was being perceived as proportionally less by investors as the shorter the ownership or control of land in which investments are made, the less security in the return on investment. Furthemore, it was global standard business practice that 99-year lease periods are granted for investment’’.

 

 

5. Quarterly Key Statistics  (All 4th Quarter Issues of MATI will cite figures for the entire year)

 

Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA)

 

For a detailed list of all MIRA related figures please click on the link below.

Download
Please note that all the figures represented in the graphs are in US Dollars.
 






MACL
 

 

 


 


Innahura Maldives Resort is Open!
14th January 2019

 

 

...‘I don’t want to spend a holiday in the Maldives!’, said no one ever, and it is easy to understand why: on the attractiveness scale of 1 to 10, the Maldives’ islands are a solid 11! Joining the Crown & Champa Resorts collection is Innahura, whose formula is straightforward: take the quintessential sun, sea and sand elements, add a traditional twist to modern facilities and round it up with a generous dose of authentic experiences.
Paradise-seekers of all ages will find that life at Innahura is easy. Here, in the south-east corner of Lhaviyani Atoll, days revolve around laid-back and fun adventures, socialising and feeling the heartbeat of the Maldives.


Be it for a honeymoon, family get-together or simply a week or two to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and complete a personal Maldives bucket list challenge with a group of friends, Innahura’s 3-star and All Inclusive Easy concepts are perfect for all those who are desperate to spend a holiday in the Maldives but don’t particularly fancy the hefty price tags with benefits you don’t always enjoy.


Innahura boast 78 Beach Bungalows, a restaurant, two bars, a spa, a Prodivers dive center, a water sports center with non-motorised activities, a gym, and a diverse events program to help guests appreciate the Maldives in its entirety and make lifelong memories together with their dearest ones and the joyful resort team, including General Manager, Rainer Steinhilber

 

For more news from Innahura Maldives, please visit

 

https://www.innahura.com/latest/
 

 

Coastal Clean-ups by Angsana Velavaru

 

Q4, 2018

 

 

Garbage has been discarded into the oceans for as long as we can remember, this had little to no effect on the marine life living there because all substances were biodegradable. Everything changed when the invention of plastic happened in early 1900s, plastic has a high molecular weight, very low cost and high versatility.  What was not considered was the degradability of this compound and the implications it would have to the environment.

 

There are thousands of plastics produced on a daily basis and practically everything we use contains some form of plastic.  Plastic can be produced from either natural or synthetic compounds with around 300 million tons produced on an annual scale and 8 million metric tons finding its way into the oceans every year.  Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.

 

This has led to increased levels of pollution as we are constantly dumping non-biodegradable and polluting trash such as plastics into the ocean.  Angsana Velavaru last year launch a plastic awareness campaign working with guests, associates and locals from surrounding islands to educate in plastic reduction.  The main aim was to focus on the environmental impact of plastic being discarded into the oceans, how to recycle or reuse plastics and to participate in beach cleanups.  In 2018 with the help of everyone involved the team managed to remove 1.5 tons of plastic from the local beaches.




 

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru promotes the ‘‘International Year of the Reef (IYOR) 2018’’

 

Q4, 2019

 

 

Last year marked the third ever International Year of the Reef (IYOR), an awareness-building initiative addressing the growing threats to coral reefs and associated ecosystems across the planet.

 

The 2016 global coral bleaching event was the most severe event recorded to date and there is more urgent need than ever to increase awareness about threats to coral reefs, and a greater commitment is needed to restore and conserve coral reefs. Banyan Tree, with its core values deeply rooted in sustainability and responsible travel, was firmly committed to supporting IYOR 2018.

 

Over the course of 2018 we promoted the occasion by engaging guests and associates with enjoyable and meaningful activities that connected them to the importance of this cause. During the last quarter of 2018, a total of 2402 guests joined our CSR activities and during the course of the year 8303 guests and 141 associates participated in activities such as coral predator removal, marine neology talks, stingray awareness and coral planting events. These efforts contributed to the conservation of coral reefs in the Maldives. But rest assured, as the New Year commences, Banyan Tree’s efforts to increase awareness about threats to coral reefs and their commitment to restoring and conserving coral reefs, will by no means lessen, regardless of the lack of IYOR’s official status.

 

 

For more information on CSR activities by Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts please visit:  

 

http://www.banyantreeglobalfoundation.com/

 

Preservation of original vegetation / Preservation of Indigenous Flora and Fauna by Dhigali Maldives

 

Q4, 2018

 

 

 

Dhigali Maldives has preserved around 80% of the original vegetation of the island. Unlike other resort developments, the ‘Jungle’ that you see in the center of the island was untouched during construction phase. Almost all plants used in the landscaping around the buildings consist of indigenous varieties.

 

We are home to more than 20 different species of birds. The tropical birds carry seeds from one island to the other and they have played an integral part in the growth of what you see today on the island. Our Spa and signature restaurant Battuta are both located in the center of the island which is set inside thick vegetation.

The “jungle walk” which is a one of the unique places to visit embraces the look and natural feel of time gone by.

 

For more news from Dhigali Maldives please visit:

 

https://dhigali.com/newsletter-page

 

Velassaru Maldives receives the Agoda Gold Circle Award 2018

 

 

 

Velassaru Maldives has been awarded the Agoda Gold Circle Award 2018. The Gold Circle Awards, now in its 10th Year, recognizes elite service, high scoring peer-to-peer customer reviews from the 22 million reviews on Agoda, as well as excellence in pricing and availability.  Velassaru Maldives Resort is among the only 7 hotels in the Maldives to receive the prestigious award this year.

 

For more 4th Quarter news from Velassaru Maldives, please visit:

 

http://www.velassaru.com/uploads/files_uploaded_folder/news_letter/Velassaru_Moments_December_2018_Issue.pdf

 

 

Mysteries of Kurumba Tour

 

Q4, 2018

 

 

Kurumba is a leader among Maldivian resorts in its use of green technology to protect the environment on and around the island. The Mysteries of Kurumba Tour is introduced to in- house guests with an aim to give them a better view of how Kurumba ticks, where the resort treats water as well as convert organic and inorganic waste into nutrient-rich soil, which is then freely shared with gardeners on nearby local islands.

 

The herb and vegetable garden is usually the highlight of this tour where the resort produces some of its own harvest along with a coconut oil processing machine which produces high-quality refine oil used for traditional spa treatments and cooking.

 

The resort’s aim is to preserve the island for future generations.

 

For more information on Kurumba’s CSR policies please visit:

 

http://www.kurumba.com/keeping-paradise-pristine.

 

For more news from Kurumba Maldives please visit:

 

http://www.kurumba.com/maldives-newsletter

 

 

 

 

7. Member Q & A

 

Answers compiled with assistance from the Ministry of Tourism and MIRA

 

1) Why does MIRA collect T-GST on complimentary rooms?  

 

We have not received a definitive answer from MIRA as to why it is charged on complimentary rooms.

 

However we have obtained an answer as to how it is charged:

 

If a room in a tourist establishment is supplied on a complimentary basis in order to promote the business of the supplier or for carrying out the business of the supplier, or as a charitable donation to an institution which is financed wholly/primarily through state the budget, no GST should be charged on the value of supply of such room.

However, if such room is supplied free of charge to an employee of the supplier or a person related to such employee, or a director of the supplier or a person related to such director, or any person related to the supplier, such person must be actively conducting the business of the supplier at the same time as when the room is supplied to him. Or, such person must have spent a reasonable amount of time devoted wholly to the activities of the business of the supplier during the day on which the room was supplied to him. Please note that for cases as such, the room can only be supplied free of GST up to a maximum of 168 hours. [168-hour limitation rule does not apply to employees of a resort who continuously conduct their employment at that resort]

Please note that Section 54 of the Goods and Services Tax Regulation stipulates all the rules relevant to the applicability of GST on goods and services supplied free of charge.
 


2) Is the Green Tax collected being utilized tor environmental conservation related projects? If not, towards what projects / purposes is the government utilizing the tax money collected from the Green Tax?

 

Currently, the Green Tax is not exclusively utilised for environmental conservation related projects. It is utilised for overall public services and goods for the Maldivian citizens which includes Education, Transport, Defense, Housing, Environment preservation etc.

 

3) What are the relevant authorities to approach, if we wish to host an event in an uninhabited island?

 

Any uninhabited island allocated for tourism development by the president and if the island is not leased, the permission need to be obtained by the Ministry of Tourism.

Islands leased for agricultural or for long term shall be obtained from the leaseholder or the caretaker. Any other island not allocated for tourism or aforementioned purposes vest with Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture.

More information regarding the status of the uninhabited islands can be checked through the website; www.atollsofmaldives.gov.mv.



4) Can guests stay overnight in uninhabited islands?
 

Yes (subject to the following condition).

 

All tourists arriving to the Maldives needs to be in a registered licensed accommodation by the Ministry of Tourism. However, picnics are allowed in uninhabited island and there is no regulation that restricts whether it be day or night.

8. New Members

The Executive Board and team of MATI would like to wish a very warm welcome to all the following new members that have joined MATI during the 4th Quarter of 2018:

 

Active

 
  1. Kandooma Holdings Pvt Ltd

  2. MTR Holdings Pvt Ltd

  3. Sun Aqua Iru Veli / Ocean Islands Pvt Ltd

  4. Champa Central Hotel

 


 

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