chairman speech at 28th AGM

chairmanBismillah Hirrahman Nirrahim

Distinguished MATI members, Members of the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen.A very good morning to you all!
It is with great pleasure that I extend to you a very warm welcome to this Annual General Meeting of MATI. Further, it is a very special honor for me to be hosting this AGM
at Kurumba, an island that is very close to my heart and which also has a highly prominent place in the tourism industry of Maldives.Reflecting on the recent past, you will agree that tourist arrivals to the country took a turn for the better towards the end of 2017. It is with pleasure I also note that the trend iscontinuing in 2018 and expected to remain strong for at least the next four to six months.
We are cautiously optimistic about this trend continuing for the rest of the year as well! This trend is even more noteworthy when you take into account the increased flight capacity  into the country this season, combined with a number of new Airlines commencing scheduled operations.With respect to the above, it is also pertinent to note the tremendous amount of
redevelopment underway at Velana International Airport. As you would appreciate such development is critical if we were to sustain the increased flight movements together with the growing passenger arrivals to the country. The expected result being the viability of the substantial development of resorts and other infrastructure taking shape as we speak.At this critical hour, we must not be complacent in our efforts to sustain this increased interest in the country. We must continue working together on marketing and promoting Maldives as a destination. It is a topic I have touched at previous AGM’s. If we fail
to aggressively promote the destination, we will find ourselves left behind. We must continue our efforts to allocate increased resources for this purpose. Money well spent in this area has handsome rewards for the entire industry and the country. As we all know, competition from other countries remains intense. Although Maldives continues to be a
unique destination, we must not forget to remind the world what it is that makes this destination so unique. In the world of the social media, information is instant. We must be able to adapt and apply all new technology at hand to publicize our strengths.At this juncture, it is also worth mentioning that the country still faces huge challenges with regard to our Waste Management. Although we are heading in the right direction, you will agree much remains to be done. The “Uniqueness’’ of our destination is all about our environment. If we fail to protect it, all will be lost! The world is focused on the oceans and plastic pollution is the single biggest threat facing the Oceans. 70% of the oxygen we breathe comes from the sea. Protecting the Sea, the lagoons and the reef is vital not only to the industry, but to the world as well. Minimizing the usage of plastics in our business and disposing them correctly and responsibly, must be the way we do it. Maldives is a tourism trendsetter, and this is a trend we must set for the rest of the world to follow.I would like to take this opportunity to express a special word of thanks to HE President Abdullah Yaameen and the Minister of Tourism – the Hon. Mr. Moosa Zameer, for their vision and direction, enabling our industry to keep moving forward in the right direction.I am delighted to see in recent times, the industry working in a much more coordinated way to achieve our shared objectives. It is only then that meaningful benefits will start coming our way. It is my sincere hope that in 2018, much more progress be made in in this
direction. Do enjoy your time at Kurumba! I wish MATI and the Hospitality Industry of Maldives a highly successful 2018!