With the exception of a few, most resorts in our resorts tourism industry just plays mama to guests. That is, the resort makes sure the guest is fed well, can enjoy baths and showers, and makes sure they (guests) sleep comfortable at night. But is this all to Maldives tourism? Does our guests lack ways and means to sleep comfortable at home or are malnourished at their homes? Couldn’t possibly be because 100% of our clientèle comes from the affluent list in the richest countries of the world. So what we are lacking here seems to be imagination. While some resorts does indeed have this others clearly don’t.
To provide entertainment programs for guests a resort does not have to get all acrobatic and monkey-like. Simple common-sense games where guests can enjoy as individuals or as couples or as a group can bring tremendous happiness to their stay. It is also worthwhile to be reminded that the guests are likely to find fault with the resort or guest-service as much as the resort does NOT provide entertainment to guests.
Common simple games which can be organized in resorts include
Whilst some games are physical like volley and football, baraveli race (crab race) which is not a physical one is a universally loved game. Sometimes the games facilitator or guests names the crabs and pit a few baravelis to a race and see who wins.
Miming is also a very thrilling event and is usually conducted in resorts which have disco floors or such. Guests are full of surprises and nobody really knows what the next guest is capable of. Goni race (gunny sack race) is also a game where guests both young and old can enjoy a few happy moments on the beach.
While its true that nobody can really beat the Italians at entertainment, there are things the entertainment person (usually the GRO) can organize to get the guests out of their rooms and enjoy with other guests on the beach. With the Italian cluby style guests, its like RAI channel set all over the island. They have an entertainment director who starts as soon as the guest finish their breakfasts and continues up until the very small hours of night. No wonder resorts like these are filled with repeat guests throughout the year.
In case anybody is wondering where Cristiano Ronaldo might be holiday making at this time, our sources confirm that they are indeed residing at the beautiful island of Rania in Faafu atoll. The football superstar is accompanied by his Russian supermodel girlfriend Irina Shayk. The couple joins an ever increasing list of celebrities who are holiday making in the country.
“Team work” is a much overused and abused term in tourism industry and is basically used to make resort workers work harder and better. The idea behind teamwork is pretty straight forward but the problem about the term is how its used. Most of the time those who advocate the cause of teamwork (the managers, supervisors etc) will take advantage of the good works their colleagues put to their work. So its basically teamwork at work level, but when the time comes to take reward or recognition, its not teamwork any more! By then it becomes “I did this” or “I made this happen”, or “I facilitated this etc”… The “we did this” thing never comes to mind at that time.
This is a pretty much basic issue and most senior managements do not seem to be able to penetrate this deception at middle management and supervisory levels. Its not likely that this selfish human tendency could be a novelty for experienced top managements but like the marketing trick, if you do something however boring for a sufficiently long time, its likely to be tolerated and ultimately accepted.
New year and Christmas season in resorts is a pretty hectic time for resorts workers and is a good time to observe this issue. The hardwork of resort-workers are seldom appreciated even during this time and where if it ever were appreciated, it would be in some small insignificant gesture like fashion, such as giving a star in the report card… (which translates to a “star of the month” award of “smile of the month award”). The real big appreciation which translates to promotions and financial incentives will invariably go to middle managements who does all the bragging about others work.
These issues are likely to stay in our tourism industry for the time being because we still have to catch up on a lot before we can claim to have mature tourism industry in the country. It takes time, effort and a desire to understand and learn from mistakes to grow up. It also takes expressions of issues like these to wider debate and awareness throughout in the industry. There will never be any substitute for handwork or dedication to work. But there are substitutes for braggers, people who generally take rewards from others hard work.
Firstly, let’s recap the successes of Macau. Like any other country, Macau has greatly increased its revenues through the promotion of tourism, especially since it has opened its doors to the gambling industry. Right now, Macau is considered as the gambling capital of Asia, one that rivals Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the world. Because of Macau’s success, it is not surprising to see other countries rise to the challenge and improve their financial conditions through the promotion of tourism, and one such country is Maldives.
The country’s tourism board has had a difficult start, what with natural disasters always threatening the tourism industry. Take for example what happened on the fateful December 26, 2004 tsunami. The deadly tsunami struck Maldives and has claimed a great number of lives, and along with the lives lost, tourism revenues were also lost. It did not help that many countries warned their citizens against visiting tsunami-prone areas, and with Maldives’ relatively late start on capitalizing on the tourism industry, the warning spelled disaster for the country. A big helping hand was extended by the World Tourism Organization though as the committee helped fund tsunami-stricken countries, Maldives included, get back on their feet.
In countless tourist maps, pamphlets and travel books, the most prominent land marks in Male’ will always include the Hukuru Miskiy, the Sultan Park, the Islamic Centre (called the grand mosque) etc. At a point in time in the past, the government did try to get UNESCO world heritage site status to the mosque but apparently the status has still not been confirmed.
There is nothing wrong with the miskiy except that its surrounded by an old cemetery. From an Islamic theological perspective, a mosque shall not be surrounded by a cemetery. A cemetery or graveyard shall infact be the the furthest place from a mosque. However superstitious inhabitants would have liked to leave their loved ones nearer to mosques ,to get continued blessings of prayers offered in mosque which was the reason why graveyards surrounded the mosque. Also marking graves and constructing tombs and commemorative such buildings are prohibited in Islam.
That being the case, taking tourists to these historic places in Male’ one is immediately struck with the oddity of having to show graveyards to guests! For us these places of history are common place but a graveyard is a graveyard and perhaps could not be an ‘attraction’. If we are reduced to showing cemeteries to guest as our prominent historical places, then that shows how little we have of history and culture to show to the world. This couldn’t possibly be so, since we are told, this is a country that send political delegations to the Roman empire at its height. Surely we could do better than that.
Sultan Park is another historic place we were told was where the king’s place stood for many centuries. There certainly is no palace there now, nor even a billboard with a depiction of how the palace might have looked like or even the name of kings who would have lived in that spot. But visiting that hallowed ground of the former kings today, one is confronted with an empty unkempt ground with big trees and unstructured lawns, and not much else. The Sultan Park today looks much suitable for a car park than a tourist attraction.
In the absence of much historical buildings in Male’, thanks to overcrowding and just the fact that it had to be Male’ to be the capital of the Maldives, (despite there being bigger islands to do for a capital) there arises the question of having to do better with what we have in Male’ as historical places. We can start with Sultan Park, erect a billboard showing how the former king’s palace would have looked like. We could get help from historians to do this. We could indeed make the Sultan Park a little more beautiful by doing some work to for keep up because amongst the congested, hot and fume filled city of Male’, this is one small spot of land which the tourists can use to catch their breath and relax.
Guests are as human as ourselves and their curiosity is mostly satisfied by explanations and demonstrations. In a typical small all contained resort, the guests would normally want to know how the resort ticks and goes its daily life. Sometimes we take the guests to our industrial areas (staff side) of the resorts to show them what happens when their room’s toilet is flushed… 🙂
An intricate network of pipes take whatever was flushed to a processing plant (its mandatory in all resorts) where the ‘products’ get processed and where ultimately waste and water get separated. The processed water is then fed to another network of pipes for supplying water for gardening and to refill the flush tank. The environmentally friendly way of course. Most guests are impressed and appreciate the system.
Also there are wide array of waste processing plants across the country in many resorts. Some plants use biological processes to do the job, whilst other (most) plants use mechanical/kinetic systems.
However what is sadly lacking in the industry at present is proper mechanisms to check and get resorts to stick to stringent rules to operate these systems so that in case the system or plant shuts down, all the sludge is not automatically diverted to the lagoon and surrounding sea unbeknownst to anyone save a few. Such practices do occur but considering the fragile natural environment around resort islands, its an unforgivable act which is little known or cared about an issue. The sludge from waste treatment plants contain all known and unknown forms of toxins and strong chemicals which if pumped to the sea and lagoon can do lasting damage to corals and such marine life which will take years to recover.
We have added the pic of the day page to our blog to celebrate us, the workers, our friends, colleagues and our works. Everyone is invited to send us pictures from tourism industry. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also mention the location of the pic, the subject and possibly a short description. We expect the sender to be mindful of copy right issues.
Associate Opinion Survey is a pompous way of saying Employee Opinion Survey. Its the same thing and its a management tool used to gauge the staff temperature on and about various issues and departments of the resort. While most better resorts do employ this tool to feel good about themselves, the majority of resorts in the country does not seem to be aware of things like this. These surveys are conducted (where they are conducted) on an annual basis and sometimes when the HR receives the news of an imminent strike on the island. The survey is a questionnaire that goes like, “how would you rate this hotel?” and “would you keep working in this hotel in the coming century?” (that is if you are not terminated tomorrow!) and things like that. Ofcourse the answers shall always be affirmative if there is a slightest chance the ‘authorities’ can trace an employee to his/her questionnaire. For this reason the surveys shall be as anonymous as possible because people are more apt to tell the truth the more they are free from association. (that’s why the police interrogates suspects in private..makes sense right?:)) The best way to conduct such a questionnaire will be on printed paper and distributed to staff to be filled in by themselves at their own time and place. The questionnaire shall also be generic (the management will want it be specific so that they can identify areas to ‘correct’ ) so each employee will be filling the same form and employees shall not be asked to state their name or department etc.
A properly designed/worded questionnaire’s result will give a good average reading of what the staff thinks about the establishment and is a good way to rectify and focus on areas to improve. However a questionnaire that sits in a computer under armed guard (possibly inside the HR department) would hardly elicit the true feelings of the staff and would not have met the purpose of the operation in the first place.