The Maldives’ first ever travel awards ceremony was held at Paradise Island Resort on Friday evening to mark 40 years of tourism in the country.
The event, organised by the Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO), was sponsored by India’s GMR, the current developers of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) which is expected to welcome over one million visitors into the country this year.
Following the opening of the events by some of the Maldives’ top musical acts, including Unoosha, Barchi, Ritte and Mummu, 21 awards were distributed for the categories of resorts, hotels, liveaboards and aviation.
The MATATO appointed judging panel included Dr. Mahamood Shougee (Former Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation and Former Minister of Education), Dr. Ahmed Adham Abdulla (CEO of Maldives Transport and Contracting Company), Ms. Zeenaz Hussain (Dean of Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Studies), and Mr. Ghaly Murthala (Tourism Development Consultant for FJS Consulting Pvt Ltd).
Amongst the individual award winners on the night was Gasim Ibrahim, owner of Villa Hotels – the parent company of Paradise Island and current leader of the government aligned Jumhooree Party (JP) – who received a lifetime achievement award.
The Hulhule’ Island Hotel (HIH) also won the award for best luxury hotel whilst Paradise Island resort won the award for leading business hotel. The Villa group also picked up an award for leading domestic airport.
Mr Maleeh Jamal – formerly head of MATATO and current Deputy Tourism Minister – was also in line for a personal award, receiving an appreciation plaque alongside Abdulla Jabir – Deputy Leader of the JP – and Yoosuf Riffath, managing director of Capital Travel.
“The event was very successful, and we thank all the sponsors and MATATO for their assistance and support in making the first Maldives Travel Awards a grand success,” said Ismail Hameed, Director of Marketing for the event’s management company, High Rise.
“We also thank all the nominees and congratulate all the winners, and hope that more resorts, hotels, Liveaboards, airlines and airports will participate in next year’s awards,” he added.
Friday’s award winner Maleeh Jamal declared that the “hard days were over” for Maldives tourism, the country’s primary industry, responsible for over 70 percent of the country’s GDP.
Amidst the uncertainty since February’s power transfer, tourism authorities in the country have pursued a strategy of collaboration with the country’s private sector to try and strengthen arrival numbers to the country.
This focus included signing a US$250,000 (Rf3.8million) advertising deal to promote the country’s tourism industry on the BBC through sponsorship of its weather services.
In April, the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) confirmed the appointment of New-York based public relations agency Ruder Finn to “oversee the overall media coordination and achievement of PR related solution for destination Maldives.”
Despite the scepticism of some leading branding consultants about the ease with which the Maldives can overcome the negative headlines of this year, Maleeh anticipated increased growth in the coming months.
Arrival numbers to the Maldives between January and August this year totalled 614,802 people – an increase of 2.9 percent compared to the same period during 2011.
10 thoughts on “Gasim receives ‘lifetime achievement’ award at Maldives Travel Awards”
Hahahaha! this is interesting to read, it is a mockery on one hand and a soft tap on the shoulder on the other.
Lets pick out a few key details and you add the missing blocks:
a) Event sponsored by GMR, a company that the ruling government and all political parties except MDP, want it to QUIT & LEAVE!!!
b) Gasim and lolly jabir are the leading campaigners to get GMR out of Maldives but yet accept GMRs gifits awards
c) Gasim just opened an airstrip few months ago, and yet he gets the award as the leading domestic airport. A joke?
d) Jamal represents the same government that is trying lick GMR out..yet comfortably getting media covered on this event.
Maldivians, it is true Gayoom made us stupid by denying us education. If i may ask you, what are the present lawmakers trying to make out of us, IDIOTS? oh, yes and they have achieved it so far and thats why we have this GMR ping pong game without an end.
No foreign investment in any country will happen without bribery and corruption. If you have some little brain, you will notice that even in the present government, GMR has got people on the payroll, otherwise why play this game?
Daytime in court and newspapers...and night time sponsoring functions or on TV!
The people who have built tourism and promoted it genuinely and MUST get this award are: Universal Enterprise chairman, Directors of Sunland group, Suntravel shiyam and maybe special award to HIH manager for achieving (through buying) highest number of awards for this small airport hotel that has nothing special except a mini golf court , and nice hawaian grass!
I wonder how Gasim received ‘lifetime achievement’ award? While most of his hotels are running really low..... Poor Service charge, also salaries not given on time. Service sucks...please do see it for your selves.....I see that every thing in this country is mislead. What a shame! May Allah help us to get rid of this illegitimate Government and also bless us with a fair and an unbiased Judiciary system...
I would not be surprised one bit even if this government awards Gasim the best English speaker in the country too.
GMR sponsored event offers Gasim life time achievement award. Wonder if the man would change his mind.
I guess the award should be given to madam Nasreena, Gayooms wife and Ilyas Ibrahim, Gayooms brother in law. If not for them Gasim will still be a servant boy cleaning kitchen. It is through their relentless effort that Gasim is what he is today, they helped him to create an oil supplying monopoly and making him access of government funds.
its so easy to criticize and politicize things. Does this mean Gasim should not accept his guests to arrive to GMR airport and he should bring his guests from Gan Airport?
GMR was the title sponsor but that i guess does not mean that the awards was given by GMR ? But if someone want to twist it for political reason, then let it be.
We were there when the vent happened at the Paradise and we saw MATATO and high-rise guys doing everything and not GMR.
If this was GMR award then we would have seen GMR role there and MATATO and High rise as key people in receiving the guests right ?
Even we have not seen anyone from GMR talking in the stage and welcome remarks was given by MATATO president and thanking remarks was given by anther board member from MATATO.
If GMR had any role in this award i would expect at least Andrew to be in forefront and lot more exposure for GMR to be given in the event.
We have not even seen any GMR key figures getting involved there at all and i saw Andrew sitting in one table along with some people like other sponsors.
Do not believe the hype. See this award ceremony for what it really is:
A couple of resort guys only praising themselves. Their resort suck and even they know it. They are just trying to get attention to themselves by awarding a few plaques among friends and allies. I could make a huge list of why these resorts do not deserve any awards at all.
And even Jabir gets an award. I wonder what is staff who have not been paid have to say about this...
Sad, very sad.
Lifetime award for being the fool he is would be a more appropriate!
Man could have people to love and trust him if he did not step nose deep into dirty politics in order to make dirty money!
He surly have worked hard, sweated a lot to be the napkin he is now! JA!
Villa Group has Awarded Gasim with a Lifetime Laura Award - LLA.
Hail Gasim bin Buruma (LLA)
In this country only one man need to received awards and one party need to be only the party and that is Anni and his party.
I asked others to leave the country or live like refugee in Maldives.
Our beloved president Nasheed told us that all maldivians need to be a member of MDP and if not he will show his muscle and his evil side and will be left to live without food.
I strongly believe that we need to change our constitution to include a pre requisite to be a member of MDP to become a citizen of Maldives.
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