He made these remarks in his speech at the event to inaugurate the ‘Maldives Border Miles’ on Sunday night.
Extending greetings of the ‘World Tourism Day’ celebrated on Sunday, the minister expressed gratitude to the Maldives Immigration for the initiative.
In his remarks, Dr Mausoom noted that this year’s theme ‘Tourism and Rural Development’, goes hand in hand with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s policies and the main ruling party’s Agenda 19.
Citizens will only receive the benefits of tourism once Maldivians become leaders of the sector, once small hotels, guesthouses and other tourist establishments across residential islands begin running beneficially when jobs in the industry are dominated by Maldivians when an opportunity is given for farmers, fishermen and others to participate and when the opportunity is created to increase women’s involvement in the industry, said the minister.
Highlighting that the ministry will shape their work to achieve these, the minister noted that the support and cooperation from the tourism industry are required to make the program a success, Dr Mausoom noted that industry professionals have given their assurance of their full support.
Further, he expressed sincere gratitude to industry officials, experts, officials at the immigration office, Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) and the Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) for their support.
The Maldives reopened borders on July 15 and began welcoming international flights, and is one of the few countries to have reopened borders for international travel, amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
In this regard, the minister noted that the decision was a brave and important one for the economic growth of the island nation, heavily dependent on tourism. This decision prioritizes the safety of Maldivian citizens, employees and tourists and also aims to efficiently provide services under the given circumstances.
Dr Mausoom added that the government expects to face 2021 with major progress and expressed hope that the upcoming year will be a successful year for the tourist industry.
We don’t have any other economic activities so the decision was made to move on with tourism but with safety and security for island communities for staff and for tourists. Over the time we have had very difficult times. Resorts initially had to restructure the employees benefits after some time they were even laid off. We have good news, with support from everybody as we move on we are seeing good days, better days. So we hope as the industry gets better, you would start re-employing the Maldivian staff members you were forced to lay off or give no pay leave. We hope that the year 2021 will be a year that we can celebrate the success the hard work we are doing today we hope we will be fruitful in 2021. The border miles program we launched today is going to encourage business. Many resorts already have programs in place encouraging businesses. Many resorts get lots of repeat guests. This program will further encourage people to re-visit Maldives. Success of this program is very much dependent on your participation. Each chair would entitle some benefits. I would like to thank the initiative of immigration for the border miles and support from MMPRC and Maldives Airports Company Limited and the tourism industry to work with the ministry to take tourism to a new level to increase the arrivals to Maldives. I hope that when we celebrate tourism day in 2021 we will be in a joyous festive mood with the blessings of Allah, the Almighty.”
~ Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, Minister of Tourism
The ‘Maldives Border Miles’ loyalty program was introduced for the first time in the world and is a tourism promotion program initiated by the Maldives Immigration, developed with joint stakeholders.
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