Maradhoo MP Ibrahim Shareef (Mavota) has raised concerns about the potential impact on the Maldives' tourism industry if high-level positions in resorts are filled by Maldivians. He was speaking during a debate on a motion moved by Kaashidhoo MP Abdulla Jabir in Parliament to fill the posts of resort manager, HR manager, and chief accountant with Maldivians.
Mavota argued that hiring Maldivians for these positions would have disastrous consequences for the tourism industry in the Maldives, stating that it is not just English-speaking tourists that visit the Maldives. He noted that 90% of the tourists coming to the country are native speakers of other languages, emphasizing the importance of having foreigners who are capable of communicating with these tourists in high-level positions.
"The tourism industry will not be able to operate in the Maldives unless foreigners who know how to interact with these tourists are not in important positions in the resorts," Mavota said during the debate.
He further explained that there is a shortage of accountants in the country, and if foreigners are expelled, there will be no way for the tourism industry to maintain its accounts. His comments have sparked concern among locals who fear that such policies could lead to a further dependence on foreign labor in the tourism industry, depriving locals of job opportunities and exacerbating economic inequality.
Critics have pointed out that while it is important to have staff who can communicate with tourists, it is also essential to empower Maldivians by providing them with the necessary training and opportunities to take up high-level positions in the tourism industry. They argue that a more balanced approach is needed to ensure that the industry benefits both locals and tourists alike.