The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has expressed interest in the Maldives hosting the World Travel Awards (WTA) main international event next year – a move said to reflect the destination’s aim of expanding into event-based tourism, reports Minivan News’ spin-off travel site, Dhonisaurus.
After hosting the Indian Ocean regional WTA ceremony at the Paradise Island Resort and Spa earlier this month, Deputy Tourism Minister Mohamed Maleeh Jamal has since confirmed that discussions had commenced on the Maldives potentially hosting the WTA’s flagship event in 2014.
The Maldives dominated this year’s WTA Indian Ocean ceremony held on may 12, with local operators and resort groups among the main winners on the night.=
Responding to the country’s award success, one senior tourism industry figure present at the ceremony this month raised concerns over the credibility of the wider WTA voting process – pointing to the high number of collaborators and sponsors for the Indian Ocean event that received accolades.
However, local authorities have maintained that this month’s ceremony will provide a major boost to the reputation of the Maldives resorts for meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE) tourism in the long-term.
Deputy Minister Maleeh stressed authorities were already working to play up the destination’s potential to businesses travellers.
“We are quite clear on our aim of trying to attract MICE tourism here. In this regard we have already been in touch with management companies. The WTA has said it was happy with how the [Indian Ocean ceremony] went and we have already started discussing hosting the international event, hopefully this can be arranged,” he said.
Paradise Island Resort and Spa in the Maldives’ North Male’ Atoll is next month set to host a World Travel Awards ceremony focusing specifically on the Indian Ocean region.
Paradise Island, which last year hosted an inaugural ceremony honoring key figures and businesses across the local resort industry, is now set to host the Indian Ocean World Travel Awards gala on May 12, 2013.
According to organisers, the ceremony will see awards in 58 categories presented to industry figures and operators from across the region.
World Travel Awards Director Sion Rapson said that strong interest from the Indian Ocean in its various international accolades had led organisers to establish a dedicated prize giving event for the region.
“Partnering with Maldives Tourism Promotion Board, Let’s Go Maldives and Azidon indicates the enthusiasm of all three and their commitment to maintaining their respective positions as industry leaders in this vital region,” Rapson added.
Paradise Island Resort and Spa is operated by the Villa Hotels and Resorts group operated by local business tycoon, MP and presidential candidate for the government aligned Jumhooree Party (JP) Gasim Ibrahim.
Paradise Island Resort and Spa is set to host the 2012 GMR Maldives Travel Awards ceremony on September 28, organisers have said.
The North Male’ Atoll-based resort will be hosting the event, which has been launched by the Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO).
GMR, presently contracted to manage and develop a new terminal at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA), will serve as the awards’ main sponsor.
Local group High Rise Pvt Ltd has said it will be organising and managing the ceremony over the next three years.