Sundaram: Tourism in 2023, both globally and for the Maldives, looks promising
In an interview Meenakshi Sundaram, General Manager, The Residence Maldives shares more on the hospitality and the tourism scenario:
Travel Daily (TD): Maldives is one of the most sought-after holiday destinations for travellers, especially from India. What makes The Residence Maldives stand apart as a favoured resort? What are the new offerings that you have rolled out?
Meenakshi Sundaram (MS): The Residence by Cenizaro has two properties in the Maldives (Dhigurah and Falhumaafushi) that are connected by a kilometre-long bridge. The unique concept of being able to experience two resort islands seamlessly in one stay makes The Residence Maldives stand out among the competition, alongside the warmth and sincere service from our dedicated team of staff. Our resorts are located in the largest and deepest atoll in the Maldives, which gives a whole new meaning to underwater expeditions and water-based activities. Also, the resorts are tucked away from major tourist spots and can be reached by a domestic flight giving them unparalleled quietude and privacy.
We have a specially curated Indian buffet in The Dining Room at Dhigurah made by chefs from India. The guests can, thus, enjoy Indian food along with world cuisine and fresh seafood.
TD: Which countries are your main source markets? Which new markets do you hope to target in 2023?
MS: The main source markets are the UK, Spain, Germany, France, India, and Korea. We are also continuing our efforts in growing and attracting guests from the Americas as this is a segment we see growing in the Maldives.
TD: What are some of the sustainable practices and initiatives that you have undertaken?
MS: The Residence Maldives is committed to sustainable travel and sustainable practices to minimise our carbon footprint. The initiatives include conducting audits across departments to reduce waste, on-property bottled drinking water, renewable energy sources (solar panels on Falhumaafushi), and turning food waste into compost for the on-site Earth Basket kitchen gardens.
Headed by the Green Committee, these kitchen gardens grow pesticide-free produce which is used in kitchens and spas. The Earth Basket programme also offers guests workshops and culinary classes to help them learn about sustainable living and experience the local cuisines of the destination.
TD: What are the facilities that are on offer for the MICE segment?
MS: For the MICE segment, we have a multi-prong approach to cater to their needs, and various seating arrangements, from a boardroom setup for a small group of 12 to a theatre-style arrangement for up to 50 delegates. A recreation specialist coordinates and arranges the itinerary, conference facilities, audio-visual set-up, and food and beverage menu. Some of the team-building activities that are offered here include water sports, diving, snorkelling, cooking classes, dolphin cruises, and deep-sea fishing.
TD: Share your views on tourism for 2023. What initiatives is the tourism ministry taking to promote tourism in Maldives?
MS: Maldives has recorded a good number of tourist arrivals in 2022. Tourism in 2023, both globally and for the Maldives, looks promising owing to the lifting of travel restrictions, however, we remain cautious at the same time with a looming global economic recession as travel might slow down. The Ministry of Tourism plans to reach two million tourist arrivals to the Maldives by the year 2023. It has launched a website to provide detailed information about islands, cultural attractions, heritage sites, ecological features, Maldivian cuisine, and diving/snorkelling spots that will further help promote tourism.
TD: News of a new Covid variant is coming in. What protocols are you still following?
MS: The Maldives Government has not issued any protocols in relation to this and we feel it would be inappropriate for us to comment until the Government has put out a memo advising on the above.