In an exclusive interview with The islandchief, the pragmatic Mohamed Shaaz Waleed, Founder and CEO of Resort Life Maldives opens up to tourism review, his journey and contributions to the incredible industry.
1. What motivated you to set-up Resort Life Maldives? What catalyzed your decision?
I am from a destitute family from Male’. I had as it were auxiliary instruction it was exceptionally difficult to urge a great work unless you're from presumed family or a great association inside the government official, grant and other instructive grands are given by association. I understood myself I ought to discover my possess predetermination to outlive. I began as Independent “tour assistant” known as “DHAMAAKADAA” individual in Air terminal. There was a time that “DHAMAAKEDUN” limited and made our lives troublesome due to rules custom-made to halt independent visit directing and other exercises which drive me myself to set up a travel company beneath the title of Resort Life Maldives.
2. When you started your business 16 years ago, what were the major challenges and hurdles you came across then?
The travel industry of Maldives is oppressed by the hoteliers due to need of legitimate act of travel offices I accept that usually a root of challenges me and the rest the industry faces.
3. Have you personally always been involved in the business, or did you originally have other plans and dreams?
I am envisioning to be the world leading travel brand of Maldives.
4. How would you describe the profile of your ideal client? Which are your main markets today and which new markets are you keen to explore?
I build my team first than my team developed Resort Life. We are the leading agent in the CIS market; however due to present uncertain situation in CIS I decided to explore more markets - such as Israel and our team is exploring the other growing new potentials markets.
5. There is an incredible number of destination specialists operating within Maldives. How do you manage to differentiate Resort Life Maldives from the others?
It is exceptionally pitiful that there are exceptionally few goals pros in Maldives in spite of the fact that we are celebrating our 50th Year of Tourism of Maldives. We are one from the exceptionally few specialists, as I have a diverse nationality in my team.
6. As learning about destinations online becomes easier, and self-booking becomes more intuitive with apps and websites, what do you think the role of travel agents will be 5-10 years from now?
The importance of Human interaction in travel industry will always be there. Travel agencies are modernizing their path to step ahead than apps and website.
7. The global travel industry has meanwhile encountered some significant changes over the past two years. Which elements, trend or similar has impacted your business most?
We are prepared for any challenges that we face to overcome any situation when it arises, Resort life, will have an endless life as long the tourism industry exists globally.
8. Arabian Travel Market (ATM) has confirmed this year's event will be a 140% bigger than 2021. How is the response from the travel trade community regarding participation next month?
UAE is a hub of global industries we already have a busy schedule during ATM compare to last years.
9. What are your views on the current status of the Maldivian tourism industry and how do you see the market evolving over the next five to ten years? Are we prepared for home stay and mice tourism?
The government of Maldives should review the master plan of tourism industry; dig deep finding out present and future challenges how to tackle and overcome. Obviously, we understand main segment of tourism industry is connected to International and Domestic Transport which is paralyzed in the Maldives annually 900m dollars business controlled by Foreign Airlines. The scale and the magnetite of the risk is very high and scary to this industry, every crisis happened in any corner of the world, immediately Maldives tourism becoming the victim of those crisis. Aren’t we learned lessons from Bird Flu, Tsunami, COVID and even recent CIS conflict.
Do we need a bridge roam around or we need strong national carrier. Secondly, destination marketing strategy should be more focused globally. I see many media headlines, Government overcome COVID but still we are in huge crisis. Upcoming months are not very promising due to lack of proper destination marketing, we as a destination should understand ourselves that we cannot rely on one market and single market segment.
We are talking about traditional matured markets growth while leading market falls. We cannot replace leading markets from traditionally mature markets. MMPRC, TOURISM AUTHORITIES and NGO connected to the destination marketing must have strategic planning to overcome this situation.
10. What would be your best advice for someone wishing to set up a destination management company these days?
Start from zero, choose the difficult path of the industry; plan to establish in time not overnight.
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