Will Homestay be an advantage to Maldivian tourism? Or will it bring revenue and change positioning from a unique destination to an all-inclusive average one.

PUBLISHED February 05, 2022

Ibrahim Nizam
Managing Director
The Grand Associates
Today, The Maldives is universally known and reputed luxury holiday destination. It is a brand that stays in the hearts and minds of everyone who is anyone planning a holiday or a trip abroad. What we have gained over the years is the result of proper planning and maintaining a sustainable tourism product. This year we are celebrating the golden jubilee of our tourism industry. Years ago, we started our journey as an infant trying to learn to walk a long road. And this journey began from home-stay that was not so organized, but with that genuine and typical Maldivian hospitality and smile. A smile that never fades away from the memories of those guests who enjoyed our local home-stays. And years passed by, the demands grew and the influx of travelers also increased. Ultimately the industry needed to find ways to cater the demands of growing numbers and thus beds increased, different categories of resorts, hotels, city hotels, island hotels(guest-houses)came into operation. Now the question remains, are we doing our best to maintain all our tourism products in a co-existence environment and keep our focus on the brand Maldives? If so, how do we define luxury? Can we redefine our product and extend our guests that affordable luxury of the local islands through, scarcity, rarity, privacy and safety?
I don’t think the destination image of the Maldives tourism product will be affected by the introduction of homestay or guest house tourism. Maldives image as a luxury tourism destination is now mature enough to allow the introduction of midrange beds.
I do not feel that Maldives as a destination will change its charisma and will ever go down from the bucket list of the lovely guest who aspire to be here. For me since we have entered the digital era the more guests will visit more digitally strong we as a destination will become. This is a Paradise and everyone in the would and should be able to visit the Paradise once.
There are different markets and different budget levels. I think well controlled, it will be an advantage of capture a market that wants to come but cannot afford it.
In a nutshell, we are focusing our marketing efforts in diversifying our portfolio taking into consideration key sources of customer segments but also diversifying our other markets without neglecting our investment in our traditional markets. We believe that Maldives has a beautiful story to tell and for that we would need to deliver better, to personalize our marketing to ensure we reach our audiences with the right information and at the right time.
It will not be a huge advantage for Maldivian tourism per se in terms of revenue. But it will bring in some revenue. The great thing is this earning will go to the common people. I don't think it will have a huge impact on how Maldives is perceived as a destination. It will still retain its exclusive status. But this will create a new niche, a different and more authentic experience. as long as it's regulated properly.