Dear Valued Members of MATI,
Welcome to the 3rd Quarter Issue, 2019 of the MATI Matters Newsletter.
The 3rd quarter of 2019 has been quite significant not just to the Maldivian tourism industry but also to the global tourism industry.
Though we have posted positive arrival increases, the collapse of Thomas Cook PLC as well as a critical change to the commission structure of booking.com has created unforeseen challenges to our Industry.
Furthermore, as you will find in the new additional statistical analysis included in our ‘’Key Statistics’’ that analyses the Tourism revenue and yield generated, we have noticed that though arrivals have been increasing, the yield per tourist and bed has been steadily declining during this year.
On a positive note, I commend the initial response from all of our members and the entire industry as well as the Government in dealing with the consequences of Thomas Cook’s collapse. We have maintained our high standards of customer service and assisted all clients of Thomas Cook to complete their holiday and safely return home.
Nevertheless, a lot of work will need to be done to fill the gaps that have risen out of their collapse and we should strengthen our collective efforts to address them.
In regards to the change in commission structure of booking.com whereby they are now including service charge and transfers as commissionable items, as per the Maldivian Employment Act, we have found that charging a commission on service charge is not allowed, as the Act requires all Service Charge collected, to be distributed to the employees, with an allowance to deduct a maximum of 1% as administrative fee.
We have raised these concerns on behalf of our members directly with Booking Holdings as well as the Ministry of Tourism and we are closely following up on this matter.
Other key highlights of our work for the 3rd quarter include the successful completion of the ‘’Traditional Stone-carving course’’ as well as the hosting of the ‘’Advanced Digital Marketing Workshop’’ in association with Happy Marketer Pvt Ltd and Dhiraagu. We have also met with the Salary and Wages advisory board to discuss the formulation of a minimum wage and also met with the Ministry of Defence and MNDF to discuss security issues.
Our commitment to serve all our members and meet the challenges faced by our industry, especially in these difficult times has never been greater. I thank the Executive Board of MATi for their tireless efforts and also wish to thank all of you for your continued support, feedback and contribution.
I wish you all a productive 4th quarter ahead.
Secretary General of MATI