With 68 percent of the bed capacity occupied by resorts, what challenges and opportunities do you foresee for diversifying accommodation options, considering the current distribution of beds in resorts, guesthouses, hotels, and liveaboard vessels?

PUBLISHED December 15, 2023

Ibrahim Nizam
Brand Strategist, Hospitality Consultant
There are both challenges and opportunities in the diversification of accommodation options available in the Maldives. I have some for consideration. Challenges: Maintaining luxury standards: The Maldives is globally well-known for its luxury resorts, hence diversifying options while maintaining the luxury image can be a challenge unless it is properly addressed and strategically positioned in a co-existing manner. Opportunities: Attracting a wider range of travelers: Diversifying accommodation options to cater for the demands of various segments of the market such as “BLEISURE” travelers, The “FOODIE” travelers, “KNOWMAD” travelers, and those travelers on ‘TRANSFORMATIONAL” trips can be a positive step forward if the brand image of the Maldives is the focus when creating a strategy. Overall, striking a balance between preserving the Maldives' luxury reputation and diversifying accommodation options requires careful planning, sustainable practices, and market analysis.
In my opinion, aggressive marketing is essential to maintain a good occupancy. A good example is Kaani Hotels with an average occupancy for 2023 above 80% and this December we have an occupancy of 87%.
Sewage, water and electricity in local islands and RTL ferry network combined with 4 international airports provides opportunities to diversify beds in local islands. Liveaboards can start operating from other regions. Local islands land value being zero and SDFC limits makes access to funding and also skilled labor shortages and air connectivity are challenges to address.
Extensive marketing efforts are required. Affordable transport solutions to regional tourism properties have to be established to gain a better occupancy. Especially guesthouses as they are increasing at a vast speed. However, the occupancy of these new products are challenged due to expensive transport options. This must be addressed. The demand for affordable tourism is restricted to Male’ atoll and islands closer to Velana International Airport due to expensive domestic transport.