MATATO debating whether to continue New7Wonders campaign after cabinet’s withdrawal

The Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) is considering offering to support New7Wonders to promote the Maldives in the competition, following cabinet’s decision to withdraw the country’s entry.

Announcing the decision last Wednesday May 18, State Minister for Tourism Thoyyib Mohamed said the Maldives was withdrawing from the competition “because of the unexpected demands for large sums of money from the New7Wonders organisers. We no longer feel that continued participation is in the economic interests of the Maldives.”

Sponsorship packages and funding of New7Wonders’ ‘World Tour’ event would have cost the Maldives upwards of US$500,000, tourism authorities estimated, not including the millions of dollars in licensing arrangements solicited from local airlines and telecom providers.

In an opinion column for Minivan News this week, New7Wonders’ Head of Communication Eamonn Fitzgerald emphasised that Maldives was still in the competition, “because the authority to withdraw a participant from the campaign is a decision for New7Wonders alone, not for any government agency.”

Secretary General of MATATO, Maleeh Jamal, said the association had been in contact with New7Wonders and was considering working on the event in the government’s stead.

The studies offered by New7Wonders promised an “enormous return on investment”, Jamal suggested.

“I think US$500,000 for such an award would be quickly recovered. Although the money was a concern, we had a fair chance of winning,” he said. “A lot of competing destinations, such as Australia and South Africa, are taking this competition very seriously.”

Sri Lanka had recently spent millions of dollars bidding to host the Commonwealth Games, he noted, as well as hosting a film festival.

“I think a lot of these awards are, as a matter of fact, marketing tools. Not many people are going to go into detail as to whether the competition is democratic. What is important is how it can benefit the destination.”

Asked whether he predicted that MATATO would be able to negotiate a discount from New7Wonders following the government’s withdrawal, Jamal said the association had not yet discussed financial matters with the organisation.

“Some of our members have indicated that they would be willing to contribute financially and offer other support. The executive will meet and discuss it this week and decide whether to continue or discontinue,” he said.

Meanwhile Secretary General of the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI), Mohamed ‘Sim’ Ibrahim, said he had “no idea about New7Wonders, beyond that it has been going on for some time.”

“It sounds like a gimmick. I understood there was a lot of money involved,” he said.

“MATI will not support it financially. Like any other business people will have to judge if its worth it. We were never consulted on the matter and were never party to this – we like to keep away from things we don’t know about.“


23 thoughts on “MATATO debating whether to continue New7Wonders campaign after cabinet’s withdrawal”

  1. I think people at MATATO are as foolish as those who persuaded the government to join this N7W scam.

  2. The New 7 Wonders Campaign is not recognized by any international authorities. The UNICEF has no involvement in this nor do they recognize this.

    Just have a look at the candidates who participated in this campaign from the first place! This is Scam and the Maldives was too embarrassed to pull out of this when they first found out about this. This is understandable. But once MMPRC realized that there was no way to go forward without paying ridiculous fees to remain in this stupid campaign they decided to pull out.

    This is the right decision. Better late than never. There is no marketing benefit from remaining in this campaign for the country.

    MATATO should first try and verify all the facts before jumping to any stupid conclusions.

  3. I had no idea the country was for rent to do with as anyone pleases? The facts have been examined and the decision made. It is a SCAM!!

  4. Maleeh is nothing more than just a brainless freak. I have no doubt other MATATO board members would not support his idea of renegotiation. I suggest Maleeh to reapply for the post he lost from then MTPB and work upside down.

  5. Maleeh in matatao now would do anything possible to get this going. He was the man behind signing this agreement when he was in mtpb. Jj plsmask that question

  6. Like us who support anything done by the current government, those who oppose the government go against everything done by government.

    This MATATO secretary general seems to be a person associated with two drs of Qawmee Party and it is natural that he finds a way to say something against this.

    May be the best way for him will be to get the 02 doctors to take this case to court or wind it up with a Press Release accusing government of everything they can think of.

  7. Is MATATO outside the sovereignty of Maldives. Stop operating in the Maldives if MATATO cannot recognize the Government of Maldives

    Common sense is better part of valour

  8. Well. the good name to the country will be a blessing for all. Not only to MATATO. It will help bring more tourists. It will increase investor confidence. If a private entity does something good for the nation, whats wrong with it. Any Maldivian or Maldivian entity has the right use the name Maldives. Nobody can stop that.

  9. We received this award in 2007. I am from Brazil. It was big. It was good. We benefitted a lot. I dont know why you guys are having such a negative thinking. new Seven wonder is marvelous. Believe me. Brazil has proved that.

  10. This is stupid. what a wonderful chance we missed.Even if Maleeh or whoever does something good it should be valued. If MMPRC cant do it. Let MATATO or MATI, MACI, MNNCCI do it. whats wrong.

  11. I think MATATO should concentrate on issues related to local travel agents and tour operators.

    Why not MATATO check on rules and regulations concerning local agents?

    Why not MATATO negotiate with resorts for better rates and room allotments for local agents?

    Why not MATATO go and negotiate with bankers for financial facilities for local agents?

    When I read this article, I feel that secretary general of MATATO is forgetting the VISION and MISSION of MATATO.

    MATATO is not a political party. It is an NGO formed to work for the best interests of local travel agents and tour operators.

    I am sure the executive board of MATATO is wise and well-informed enough to make sound decisions.

    Anyone who is politically motivated should get out of MATATO and find his way towards where he can play his dirty games.

  12. What is MATATO, how many members do they have?? what have they done for Tourism Industry in the past.. Can anyone give more information about MATAO..

  13. Guys come on. dont take things personal. MATATO, MACI, MATI, MMPRC has the right do everything that is related tourism. No good image of Maldives no tourists come to maldives so no money for travel agents. Good awards many investors many business for local travel agents.

    MATATO is the most active NGO in Maldives now. Specially they are doing lot of good things. so dont try to stop their work.

    MATATO executive board member was in DHiTV last night talking about minimum wage. It was good. I am local travel agent and i watch their activities closely. Their membership is increasing.

  14. Government has persuaded why the MATATO, want continue.

    these are cheaters. this country is unique people will come have as always. NO NEED TO SPEND that for them.

  15. I am big fan of New Seven Wonder campaign. I really want Maldives to continue. I am member of ruling MDP but i think the resignation was a mistake. I know how many people even within president office feel about it. They are upset with this decision.

    Maldives in the past have receive many awards. Remember the 350 campaign we did. we spent lot of money on it. We spent lot of money on Copenhagen summit. Our delegation was bigger than China delegation. So what wrong in spending some money on a nice good award like this. tourism is our life blood. we need to invest in it. dont simply talk for the sake of talking.

  16. Oh look... everybody is being so internet clever with providing more believable type names attached to a dummy search engine powered website. Looks more believable and more like a sincerely comment that way. Nice!! the comment posters on minivan news are getting smarter.. 😛

    That still doesn't change the fact that Maleeh is a little weasel of a man, who is bitter and angry or something and want to oppose for the sake of opposing because, somehow deep down he feels like it would matter and people would care, or something. and he has all those rich masters to serve.


    Ahmed Mohamed, you said: "Well. the good name to the country will be a blessing for all. Not only to MATATO. It will help bring more tourists. It will increase investor confidence. If a private entity does something good for the nation, whats wrong with it. Any Maldivian or Maldivian entity has the right use the name Maldives. Nobody can stop that."

    You are absolutely right. anybody should have the right to promote and use the name of Maldives in anyway that creates greater good will towards the country. Agreed. No body should stop any Maldivian from serving the country in the best way that person feel or can.

    but that is NOT what maleeh is doing. what he is doing is representing a political ideology that is very scared. scared of loosing all the wealth that they had gathered over the last 30 years. maleeh is like the rat boy of these rich guys that don't want the economic reform to happen. because these vested interests wouldn't want to loose a single dollar of their money to taxation.

    but the thing with maleeh is still more interesting. he has no clue that he is being used only to be discarded by the very people he is trying to help. its all really very sad. maleeh and his people are self declared enemies of the Maldivian people.

    Abdulla, you said: "This is stupid. what a wonderful chance we missed.Even if Maleeh or whoever does something good it should be valued. If MMPRC cant do it. Let MATATO or MATI, MACI, MNNCCI do it. whats wrong."

    Again i agree. but only if they truly cant. this is a different type of issue that we are having. its not like the government didn't have money or there was other reasons for dropping out. the government has raised major issues that relate to the honesty of the organizers, and the ethics of the matter. because the N7W is truly dishonest in the conduct of their affairs. thats a really good reason to drop out of competition of you ask me.

    If this was any other way, i would have agreed. but on this instance, you know its true. you are willing to pay into a scam competition just so you can try and have a go at making the government look bad. maleeh ge intentions are not honest.

    but this is what we all should be worried about. this is a case of direct sabotage by the rich of this country on our economy when they start messing with the tourism indutry. they can handle the crisis because they are more liquid than the normal Maldivian. the average Maldivian is suffering and feeling the heat of the dollar crisis and it is showing in peoples life. people who would pay their bills on time have started missing the bills deadline and been disconnected service. those are just first signs of an impending ctastrophe if this ecomic crisis is not managed properly. we all agree that we will face difficulty in this early days of economic reform. and it is expected to stabilize as well. but it will only stabilize if you let it. not when the rich are trying to sabotage government efforts to the manage the crisis.

    @ Maleeh... you are a sleazy rat!

  17. Attention "John from Brasil". Congratulations on recently winning and clearly enjoying the benefits of using this great trophy to transform your economy! Just one small thing?, how come your country's tourism website has 15 different logos on the home page but none of the previous winners including Brasil use the New7Wonders logo at all????

    Are you sure you are who you say you are??

  18. Someons shud investigate MMPRC. Who is this Simon Hawkins guy? does not look Maldivian to me. Why is he getting us into this fight???? Also why does MMPRC want money from everyone itself, just look at its website here and here Seems a lot of money they are chargin??> Also why is the MMPRC money going to a NEW YORK USA bank account not to a Male account. Is Simon Hawkins from NewYork?? Maybe that is why we have USDOllar shortage??!! I am thinking this is the real scandal. They areusing this false new7Wonders fight to distract us.... NOT HAPPY WITH MMPRC!!!

  19. Maldivian, ladies and gentlemen countrymen, tourism workers.

    I feel there are elements within Maldives who want fail our tourism. It can be through not getting an award that we might win. or it can be through loosing investor confidence.

    We must be careful. I analyzed in detail. I could find a single reason to drop off from New Seven Wonder. I ask all the people to wait for 11th November 2011 to see who gets these awards. People will flock to these destination.


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