World Travel Market 2011

World Travel Market

WTM 2011 Maldives

Maldives came to London last week.

The World Travel Market is Europe’s largest travel and tourism trade fair filling the entire Excel exhibition centre in London. It is an opportunity for tourism agencies and major players to convene with existing customers very efficiently (in fact, sort of a treadmill fashion of one meeting after another from morning until night) as well with prospective new customers who are exploring new destinations to add to their portfolio.

The Maldives contingent was proudly represented front and centre of the ‘Indian Ocean’ hall right as you walk in the door (photo below) with a harried group of Ministry of Tourism, Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation and staff from various resorts. It was a great chance to meet the movers and shakers of the Maldives resort industry just a tube ride away. I caught up with Senior Marketing Officer Aminath Hudha (see photo above) of the MMPRC who was the very first person in the Maldives to help me get Maldives Complete off the ground. I also met up with resort managers both veteran (Champa, Villa, Universal) and newcomer (Dusit Thani, Viceroy). But the highlight of the day was finally meeting one of my Maldives heroes, Adrian Neville. We chatted into the evening about all things resort and Maldives comparing notes, stories and perspective.

I was a delight to welcome Maldivians to the British shores for once after so many years of them welcoming me to theirs.

 

WTM 2011 hall

Best of the Maldives: Beach Tennis – Palm Beach

Palm Beach beach tennis

 

While perhaps the most famous ‘beach’ sport (and the only one of Olympic standing), Beach Volleyball is not the only ‘beach’ game in town. In fact, there are so many, that the Maldives was just this month announced as host of the next 2013 South Asian Beach Games. Including some I have never even heard of.

One of those is ‘Beach Tennis’ which Palm Beach features. It is also known by its Italian name, Racketoni. Basically, it is a paddle like racket with a slightly heavier tennis ball. You will often see it on beaches around the world where people play without any net or court just hitting it to each other and trying to keep a volley going. But Palm Beach has a proper, dedicated court at Palm Beach as well as an instructor, Mohamed Adam (shown here in the far court).

Best of the Maldives: Veteran Manager – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi

Asim Mohamed Hudhuranfushi GM
Asim Mohamed on right from his Flickr photostream

For Mohamed Asim, it is not just a job, not just posting, not just a career, not even a passion…it is his life. He is not only one of the few Maldivian native GMs, but he is definitely the first one still serving.

He doesn’t just ‘manage’ the property, he lives it. He surfs the Lohi surf break. He dives. He has his own Flickr stream with nearly 100 images to share his avid photography documenting so many facets of Maldive life and Adaaran Hudhuranfushi highlights. He first cut his teeth in ‘food and beverage’ operation when he entered the Maldive tourism industry in its earliest days so he even mixes it up in the resort kitchen from time to time.

Asim has decades of experience and despite numerous assignments and bountiful opportunity to travel and work just about anywhere in the world, he can think of no better place to be than the Maldives. I can think of no better legacy of the Maldives increasingly proud and world leading tourism industry.

Happy Birthday Asim!

Best of the Maldives: Aroma – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru pathway incense 2

Walking along a sandy path under the canopy of coconut tress. Lori and I love our sunset walks around the island when we visit the Maldives. How could it get any better?

Well, that’s what Four Seasons prides itself on. Those little touches that make a spectacle of the already spectacular. At Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, one of the their staff lights torches for lighting (instead of electrical lights) along the pathways that makes them all the more romantic. But that’s not all. He also lights little incense sticks that are put in the sand next to the torches. It gives the evening air a soothing accent making a simple walk to the restaurant or back to your villa even more magical.

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru pathway incense

Cool Women

Cool Women

Happy Mothers Day!

Mothers Day is celebrated on whole range of days in different countries around the world, but it is celebrated on the ‘India Sub-Continent’ today (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka). The holiday has roots in the Roman festival of Hilaria where the ‘Earth Goddess’ was celebrated on the final day of the vernal equinox festival (spring finally sprung!).

It is also celebrated in the USA today where my own mother lives. The ‘traditional’ American ritual includes breakfasts in bed, homemade cards and a break from traditional chores as children (and husbands) try to chip to give Mom a break for one 24 hour period.

It seemed appropriate to post on ‘Cool Women’, which was created for International Women’s Day earlier this year, on this more traditional day of honouring women. My mother, Marjorie Lynn, is also a ‘Cool Woman’ in very much the spirit of the video. She ran a YWCA which provided support programmes for women including a women’s shelter and a number of outreach and community initiatives. Mom has always been a rather outspoken activist for well-being and capabilities of women with all the strength of Aemii Musko’s wave (see above).