Honourable MATI Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to welcome you all to the 27th Annual General Meeting of MATI.Since MATI as a functioning organisation started representing the tourism and hospitality sector 34 years ago, our membership has been enhanced from relatively few members to 103 members. This is a commendable achievement. Yet, I note here that there are many resorts and hospitality organisations that need to join our organisation for us to be more representative of our sector and bring about the weight of our industry to bear upon developments. MATI as you will all appreciate is run primarily with membership fees and some donations. As Chairman of MATI, may I urge all tourism organisations to join us to benefit from our services and help MATI continue to grow.
We have just concluded 2016 tourism year. While arrivals just tipped above 2015 figures, the same cannot be said about yield. Despite this, we expect tourism to grow in 2017.
The Government has embarked on a bold ground-breaking development vision for the nation with mega projects such as Hulhumale’ bridge, modernization of Velana International Airport, development of first and second phase of Hulhumale’ with tourism components. We are confident these developments will lead to stronger growth in our industry. I take this opportunity to thank His Excellency President Yamin Abdul Qayoom for the support given to our industry.
We support the policy of the Government to spread tourism developments across the entire nation. MATI is committed to a close partnership with the Government in the development of our hospitality sector. We continue to cherish this relationship and we are confident the Government is committed to working with us as equal partners.
Resort Development started with 5-year leases. Now we can enjoy 99-year leases. I am sure long term leases will benefit the industry with investor confidence. I wish to thank the Government for this initiative in coming up with longer term leases
We all know the importance of destination marketing. The present outlook on Maldivian tourism requires more emphasis be placed on destination marketing.
We urge the Government and MMPRC to do more destination marketing this year and to bear in mind that we are competing internationally against other strong destinations, which are in many cases more visible in the market than we are.
May I conclude in wishing you all the best for this year and a bright future for our industry.
Thank you all.