After months of public pressure, the Anti Corruption Commission released the 700 page report on the biggest corruption case in Maldives history. The report contains the companies, individuals and businesses who were involved in the corruption and the implications are mind boggling.
The money siphoned off from lease of islands and lagoons worth over 70 million dollars was used for everything including dollar to rufiya conversion, buying businesses, and even to oust 2 of the 7 supreme Court judges. The primary suspects of the grand corruption case involve former president Abdulla Yameen, former vice president Ahmed Adheeb among others. Adheeb is currently serving a sentence in jail and Yameen has been summoned to court for a first hearing of the money laundering case.
However there are many concerns that the report itself is incomplete and released too early possibly to cover up some still hidden public officials. These include the Anti Corruption Commission members themselves as well as central bank former governer and current staff and Bank of Maldives officials. The report also contains little to no information about transactions where cash was involved and where islands titles were changed hands.
However it’s encouraging that the government took action against a minister and deputy minister for being recipients of money from the notorious case.
To prevent further grand corruptions, it’s important to go to the bottom of this case and other similar cases like this and also to rethink the whole system to rid the possibility of corruption and misuse of public funds.
Link to report:
Guests want to book their holidays with the resort; resort wants guests to book directly with them.
But resorts give discounted wholesale rate to tour operators but not to individual guests despite wanting them as direct booked guests. What cooks?
Here is the everyday situation in resorts that shouldn’t have been in the first place. After seeing a gorgeous picture (something like the picture below) of the perfect blue sky and an even perfect white beach, the would be guest hurriedly tries to book a romantic getaway to Maldives with a life partner. Searching through google brings the guest tons of ads almost all leading them to a booking site. The booking site happily lets the would be guest click through a few times on the webpage and sends confirmation email with travel itinerary and a welcome email for holiday package worth sometimes a little over 5k$ for a week’s stay in one of the most beautiful islands in the world. The customer is indeed set back that many dollars from his net worth for this effortless business created by a third-party booking site. The hotel gets a slice of the pie as well as the booking site and sometimes a few other partners all enjoy a slice of the pie. This is standard proven business model right?
Actually this maybe the wrong model but the one working model customer has no option but to comply with. Tour operation is effortless big business which should belong to history. At least that’s what it should be considering Maldives is one of the safest destinations in the world, together with good internet coverage and this being 2017; in theory a customer shall be able to deal directly with hotel to book his stay without intermediaries. But why are guests still paying the (evil) middle man? The answer is actually funny and kind of depressing. Resorts give discounted wholesale rates to tour operators with the assurance that tour operators will do the marketing work and send guests to the resort in off-season. Its outsourcing their most important department (marketing) and doing business the effortless way.
Marketing in most resorts in Maldives is less about marketing than dealing with outsourced marketing firms and tour operators. Tour operation is so widespread that there are tour agencies who do not market at all, but sell packages to other tour operators from discounted packages they get from resorts. What all this does is add bloat to the customer’s holiday package from which only a small portion is received at the resort. This is one reason vacation packages in Maldives are pricy compared to some similar destinations. On the other side it’s also important to keep prices artificially high to appeal to the wealthy customers for “exclusivity effect”. This is also mostly true of big brand resorts while average resorts are happy with their island being self- marketed by natural beauty and word of mouth type marketing.