Friday, June 29, 2007
IOC member Shahid Ali in advisory committee from South Asian region: Three Pakistanis named in OCA standing committees
Latif Butt, also a former OCA vice president, said the smaller NOCs were ignored in the past and the influential NOCs used to monopolise and take lion’s share in the standing committees. “In the new setup, due consideration has been given to all the NOCs on the principle of broad based selection, suitability, experience and technical expertise,” he added.
Latif Butt said the chairmen of the standing committees were consulted before the final selection. Sixteen members have been selected from the South Asia Zone in the OCA standing committees for the next term of 4 years 2007-2011. “India, Bangladesh and Bhutan have one representative each, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have two representatives and Pakistan, Nepal and Maldives have three members,” he said.
The existing committees include athletes, culture and education, finance, information and statistics, media, medical, rules, sports, women. The newly established committees include sports for all, sports and environment, sports and peace, anti doping, coordination, advisory.
Pakistan: Khawaja Farooq Saeed in rules committee, Mohammad Yahya in culture and education committee and Fatima Lakhani in women’s committee. Syed Shahid Ali Shah, IOC member in Pakistan has been selected in the OCA advisory committee from South Asia region.
Maldives: Zahir Naseer in the finance committee, Muhammad Mahid Shareef in sports and environment committee and Ibrahim Ismail in sports committee.
Nepal: Dhruba Bahadur Paradhan in rules committee, Rabi Rajkarnikar in sports for all committee and Puroshttam Prasad Shrestha in information and statistics committee.
Afghanistan: Anwar Jakdalak in rules committee and Mrs Sabrinia Saqieb in women’s committee.
Sri Lanka: Hemasiri Fernando in coordination committee and HU Silva in the sports and environment committee.
Bangladesh: Kutabuddin in sports and environment committee.
Bhutan: Pema Tanzin in sports for all committee.
India: Dr Manmohan Singh in medical committee.
Source: Daily Time Pakistan
"The CPC would like to promote exchanges with the DRP based on the principles of independence, equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs," said He Yong, a member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee.
He, also deputy secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said Sino-Maldives relations have developed in a healthy way since the two countries forged diplomatic ties, during a meeting with a DRP delegation headed by Aneesa Ahmed, leader of the DRP parliamentary group.
Aneesa spoke highly of Maldives-China relations, expressed gratitude for China's long-term aids, and reaffirmed the adherence of Maldives to one-China policy and the support on the Tibet issue.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Two hundred inhabited islets spread over 56,000 square miles of ocean. Superb diving, coral swarming with fish. More and more luxury resorts. Is it starting to feel crowded? Welcome to the Maldives, as Mike Di Paola explores a test case in the limits of development.
The temptation is strong to reach out and touch the giant manta ray. Some of these marvelous beasts with ten- to twelve-foot wingspans appear to invite contact as they glide toward us, flapping in slow motion, then slip underneath us, just inches away. Some get so close I can see right down their gullets, where rows of gill arches fairly glow in the dark like a Halloween skeleton. We six casual snorkelers gambol with these creatures for more than two hours, enjoying both the mantas and our ironic luck: The larger group of our party, another twenty divers, had suited up more seriously for proper scuba at another site—in hopes of meeting giant rays.
We're in the southeast corner of South Malé Atoll, one of the 1,200 Maldives in the Indian Ocean, in a protected marine area called Guraidhoo Kandu. Our dinghy driver radios the main boat with news of the manta ray sighting, and the message is relayed to the dive boat, a traditional wooden dhoni pimped out with modern scuba accoutrements. The boat delivers the other divers, who quickly join us and the rays. Another tender from the main boat motors in with crew and more snorkelers. Oddly enough, the dozen or so mantas stay in the area to swim with us.
Soon a pair of sailboats from a nearby resort show up, and by now it's starting to look like a reenactment of Omaha Beach. I watch in horror as one of the sailboats slices into the school of mantas, clipping one as it plows through, and it's then that I realize the Maldives' conundrum: This watery world of unsurpassed beauty attracts more and more people to experience it; will the growing crowds eventually destroy the very thing that brings them here?
I'm aboard a luxury dive boat, the Four Seasons' 128-foot Explorer, cruising around the atolls with the Berkeley-based environmental group Seacology, an organization devoted to protecting island ecosystems and cultures. The group has a very simple and effective MO: identify an island's needs (a school, a community center, a water tank) and then help the inhabitants get what they want in exchange for an agreement to protect the local ecosystem. Seacology's members make periodic jaunts to scope out potential projects and check up on established ones—in Fiji, Sumatra, the Virgin Islands, or eighty-one other islands around the world—and they usually have the good sense to combine their work with pleasure, which is why there will be a week of underwater frolicking before they visit Kendhoo Island, in the north.
Before embarking on the Explorer, I'd spent two days at the older of the Four Seasons' two resorts, the Kuda Huraa, to sleep off the grueling twenty hours of flying time. Although the first day passed in a jet-lagged Dramamine-tainted haze, I do recall how each staff member, from the greeter at the airport to the activities director at reception, took personal responsibility for the rain, with everyone describing the weather as "uncooperative." [Read More]
By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
Beyond the Tourists’ Eye - Issues of Identity in Maldivian Art, and exhibition of paintings by contemporary artists from the Maldives are being held at National Art Gallery in Colombo. The exhibition is organized by the High commission of the Republic of Maldives in association with National Art Gallery of Maldives. This is the first time that, Beyond the Tourists’ Eye tours abroad. There are plans to take the exhibition to New Delhi
Beyond the Tourists’ Eye - Issues of Identity in Maldivian Art was ceremonially inaugurated by Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane, Minister of Cultural Affairs on June 26th 2007, the exhibition will remain open until June 29 th 2007. The viewing hours are from 10am to 4pm. The participating artists are Ablow Arif, Afzal Shafiu Hassan, Mohamed Azzam, Nina Mohamed Manik, Mariyam Naeema Omar and Fathmath Zuhura. There are 28 paintings and installation displayed
It is hoped that taking the work of Maldivian artists to regional venues will help the artists establish themselves in these centers where the art scene is presently much livelier than in the Maldives.
Apart from the Maldivian High Commission in Colombo who will be officially assisting the NAG to organize the exhibition, the Sri Lankan artist group Theertha International Artists’ Collective will also be assisting the National Art Gallery to publicise the exhibition and Maldivian art in general. Three of Theertha members also visited the Maldives in September 2006 to study the Maldivian artist community and to assist the NAG in formulating strategies to develop the artist community and to promote their work both in the country and abroad. At the end of their visit, the group published their observations in a report – Assessment of the Dynamics of the Community of Artists in the Maldivian Community, which is available from the National Art Gallery. The exhibition Beyond the Tourists’ Eye has also been very much a response to the findings of Theertha in that the exhibition tried to reflect some of the issues that were raised in the report.
The main concern identified in the Theertha report was the overwhelming influence of the tourists’ souvenir market on Maldivian artists and their work. The negative influence of the tourist market stifled the creativity of visual artists as they primarily produced ’souvenir art’; or artifacts and objects that served as mementos for the holidays tourists spend in the Maldives. Other issues in the artist community of the Maldives that Theertha had identified in their report include;
1) the lack of representation of the complexity of life in Maldivian society,
2) a disconnection from the traditional arts and crafts of the country, and
3) a lack of exposure to critical feedback. The NAG hopes the organization of exhibitions similar to Beyond the Tourists’ Eye will encourage more artists to explore themes and issues more relevant to Maldivian culture through their art.
Theertha International Artists’ Collective extends its well wishes to the Embassy of Maldives and the National Art Gallery of Maldives for organizing the visual art exhibition, Beyond the Tourists’ Eye. This is an important step for establishing and strengthening art exchange between Sri Lanka and Maldives. This initiative is hoped to give inspiration to more future art interactions.
The tourist arrivals to the Maldives have increased by 14.9% with a total of 304,058 tourists during the period January to May 2007. For the same period in 2006 Maldives received 264,613 tourists.
Italy continues to lead the market with total 62,645 tourists capturing 20.6% share of the total arrivals to the Maldives during January to May 2007. The United Kingdom is the second generating market to the Maldives, capturing a market share of 17.5%. From January to May 2007 a total of 53,163 tourists visited the Maldives from the United Kingdom, which is an increase of 21.0% compared to the same period of 2006.
The other leading markets to the Maldives during the period of January to May 2007 include Germany with 10.8% market share, France with 8.6% market share, Japan with a market share of 4.8%, Russia with a 4.6% market share and China with 4.5% followed closely by Switzerland with a market share of 4.3%.
At end of May 2007, a total of 90 resorts and 10 hotels with a total bed capacity of 18,763 were registered with the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation. Out of these, 82 resorts and 10 hotels were in operation. The average number of beds in operation in resorts and hotels for the period January to May 2007 was 17,484.
With the total bed-nights of 2,380,936, during January to May 2007, the resorts and hotels in the Maldives had an average occupancy rate of 90.4%. The average duration of stay during this period was recorded to be 8.4 days.
At end of May 2007, there were a total of 124 safari vessels registered with the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation with a bed capacity of 1,679. The estimated average occupancy rate at live aboards during the first five months of 2007 is 70%.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Sri Lanka and the Maldives are looking at joint ventures and investment in fisheries following the visit of senior minister from the atolls, a foreign ministry statement said Thursday.
Abdullah Kamaludeen, Minister of Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resources of Maldives visited Colombo during from 18-20 to attend the second meeting of a special joint commission set up to deal with fishery issues.
Investment and joint collaboration in fisheries, cooperation in research, training and exchange of information, had been discussed at the seminar.
"Both sides exchanged views on practical measures of cooperation in the fisheries sector," the statement said.
"They also explored new areas in this sector for strengthening the existing ties between the two countries."
Fisheries is an important economic activity for both countries, being island nations.
Sri Lanka is keen on building up a deep sea fishing fleet and also setting up canning plants to make better use of the resources in the surrounding seas.
Maldive fish, a desiccated fish product made from boiled tuna is an essential ingredient in some Sri Lankan dishes.
There have also been cases of Sri Lanka fishermen being arrested after straying into Maldives waters.Source: LBO
Sunday, June 24, 2007
World Resorts of Distinction have added the Coco Collection in the Republic of the Maldives to its exclusive line of hotels.
Located just 40-minutes away from Male International Airport, the Coco Collection is an ideal getaway for vacationers, honeymooners and divers alike. The collection features a range of high end boutique resorts – including the new 5 star Coco Palm Bodu Hithi on the North Male Atoll.
The Coco Palm Bodu Hithi offers 100 luxurious beachfront and over-water villas, complete with private swimming pools. The rooms are not only spacious but also come with modern luxuries such as flat screen televisions, DVD players, music systems and a Wi-Fi internet connection.
Guests staying at the luxurious resort are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to dining. In addition to five restaurants, two bars and in-villa dining options, guests can also take advantage of the unique ‘Events’ facility for a private and tailor-made function on the beach.
The Coco Collection also includes the flagship Palm Dhuni Kolhu resort which is located in the Baa Atoll. This resort has remained a popular option with travellers since it first.
Source: E-Travel Blackboard
Presented by Steve Priestley, one of the most popular DJs of the UK, Maldives promotion will be aired on the Magic 105.4 radio station of UK for 12 days from 18 to 30 June. Magic Radio has an audience of over 1.5 million listeners.
The listeners to this promotion have the opportunity to win a holiday in Maldives by participating in a destination quiz. This radio campaign is supplemented with a parallel online campaign on magic radio’s website: http://www.magic.co.uk/maldives
UK is the second largest generating market for the Maldives with a market share of 17.9 percent. Maldives welcomed 107,995 visitors from UK in 2006.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Sri Lanka and Maldives exchanged views on practical measures of cooperation in the fisheries sector in both countries.
The Foreign Ministry here said that Minister of Fisheries, Agriculture & Marine Resources of Maldives Abdullah Kamaludeen, who visited Sri Lanka from 18th to 20th June 2007 to attend the Second Meeting of Sri Lanka – Maldives Sub Commission on Fisheries in Colombo, held talks with the Sri Lankan authorities in this regard.
The Sub Commission on Fisheries was established under the Sri Lanka – Maldives Joint Commission to discuss issues related to fisheries between the two countries. The meeting was jointly chaired by Neomal Perera, Deputy Minister of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources and Kamaludeen.
“During the Sub Commission meeting they also explored new areas in this sector for strengthening the existing ties between the two countries. The meeting also emphasized the importance of investment and joint collaborations in the field of fisheries, cooperation in the area of research, training and exchange of information,” the Ministry said.
Source: Colombo Page
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Pakistani spikers will face Turkmenistan on the second day match of the Second Asian Central Zone Men`s Volleyball Championship being organized by the Pakistan Volleyball Federation at Pakistan Sports Complex Islamabad.
Askari Bank is title sponsor while Ufone, Pakistan Sports Trust (PST), National Bank and Pakistan State Oil are co-sponsors of the championship.
On Wednesday, the first match is scheduled to be played between defending champion Kazakhstan and Maldives, second match between Iran and Sri Lanka and in the third match Pakistan will face Turkmenistan.
Besides hosts Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Turkmenistan, Iran and defending champions Kazakhstan are participating in the seven-day international fixture.
Second day matches (20-06-2007) . Match No. Time Teams 1. 01:00 pm Kazakhstan - Maldives. 2. 03:00 pm Iran - Sri Lanka . 3. 05:00 pm Pakistan - Turkmenistan.
Source: Pack Tribune
Christian Aid predicts that by 2050 there will be 1 billion people around the world displaced by global warming, dwarfing the number of those now fleeing conflicts and persecution -- nearly 10 million refugees and almost 25 million internally displaced people.
Here are some quotes from those trying to deal with the problem and from refugees.
* "This is the first time I register as a refugee. I feel humiliated, it's like begging somehow," Iraqi Rafi al-Ani, 56, who has lived in Syria since 2001.
* "(Refugees) used to be welcomed as people fleeing persecution, but this has been changing, certainly since 9/11, but even before then," William Spindler, UNHCR spokesman in Geneva. "Growing xenophobia, intolerance, political manipulation by populist politicians who mix up the issues -- the whole debate on asylum and migration has been confused."
* "The reaction now is scepticism. It's: 'Who is this scam artist trying to get a job in our country?'" Joel Charny, vice-president of Washington-based Refugees International. "How will we approach displacement when, say, the Maldives go under? We have to plan for it, but in a way that doesn't lead us all to start jumping out of windows."
* "Since my 18th birthday I've been displaced about 14-16 times," Saundrarajan Kannakai at Manganthoduwa Nawatkuda, Sri Lanka. "After the tsunami we thought things would be stable, and then the war came again. Here we go again, back to square one."
* "It's pretty overwhelming to see what we might be facing in the next 50 years. And it's starting now," Michele Klein Solomon, International Organisation of Migration (IOM).
* "I have all these memories that keep coming back," Marie-Jeanne Iyengue, 45, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. "You sleep and it's always the same film. My wish is to get away from here, to give an education to my daughter. Somewhere else would be better. Maybe somewhere else I could forget."
The civil aviation authorities decided to resume night operations shortly following talks with the military and airport officials, a spokesperson for President Mahinda Rajapakse's office said.
"It was decided that we could get back to normal operations at the Bandaranaike International Airport in the next few days," the spokesperson said.
"Airlines will take a bit more time to adjust their flight schedules."
Military officials said the decision came after better radar was installed to track low-flying aircraft.
The airport shut for night flights on June 10 following at least four bombing sorties by low-flying light aircraft manned by Tamil Tigers.
The rebels, who are fighting for an independent homeland for the tropical island's minority ethnic Tamils, have bombed military and economic targets near the airport and in the north of the island in 2007.
The partial closure was prompted by fears that the rebels could use civilian aircraft as cover to enter the airport's air space. Airlines worried that they could get caught up in anti-aircraft fire directed against rebel planes.
The airport shares a runway with the Sri Lankan air force, which has previously been targeted by the rebels, causing some flights to be diverted to the southern Indian city of Chennai.
Airlines use Sri Lanka as a transit point for travel between Europe and the Far East. Passengers from the Maldives, a key tourist destination, regularly fly via Colombo, which is regarded as a regional hub.
The Tamil Tiger rebels have been fighting for a separate homeland since 1972. More than 60 000 people have been killed in the conflict.
The company has also submitted an expression of interest (EoI) on their plans to build a world-class hotel in Delhi.
Sumit Guha, vice president (development), Indian Hotels said in a statement on their plans: “We will invest around Rs 1,000 crore for building four hotels in Bangalore, of which two are already under construction, while the ones in Devanahalli and Yashwantpur will take three years to complete.”
In addition, they are also planning to build a world class hotel in the vicinity of the Delhi international airport.
The company added that they are also planning on expanding their presence internationally by establishing hotels in Maldives, Mauritius, Colombo, Boston and Sydney.
Luxury hotel group Banyan Tree has opened an exclusive property in the Maldives that features just six private tented pool villas. Each villa at the Banyan Tree Maldives Madivaru occupies 264m² and comprises three tents featuring a living area, bedroom, bathroom, outdoor deck, a private plunge pool and two sundecks, as well as two outdoor showers.
Island hosts are on hand round-the-clock providing personalised valet services and activities including day trips and marine activities.
Guests can travel from the airport to the property on Banyan Velaa, a private 30-metre flagged double-mast yacht.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
By the end of 2007, the committee should provide recommendations relating to all aspects of community radio including independent programming, technical regulations, sustainability and transparency both on behalf of the government as well as civil society, strategies and a three-year action plan for the introduction of this new information and communication development tool, including a pilot initiative for possible completion in December 2007.
It was also noted that in the meantime, preparatory capacity building in community broadcasting techniques in collaboration with the existing Atoll Media Centres and VOM will immediately follow with UNESCO/IPDC and other United Nations assistance in keeping with the One UN approach to development assistance in this country.
These recommendations formed part of an 8-point package for study by the Government including the acceptance of the international definition of Community Radio, operationalisation and implementation of Community Radio in Maldives by 2010; reinforcement and capacity building of participatory programming in Maldives, continued and systematic awareness and engagement on the potential of Community Radio in collaboration with the Government and civil society, formulation of programming guidelines to ensure editorial independence and appropriate responses to the needs of the communities, and processes within and outside the legal framework, to ensure ownership and management of the Community Radio by the community.
The National Orientation was attended by over 60 participants including Community Radio experts from the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India, media professionals, representatives from non governmental organizations and other civil society bodies, UN staff, senior officials from the Government and the National Security Force, and the Youth movement, as well as senior staff of the Voice of Maldives.
This overall exercise was organized by the Voice of Maldives, in collaboration with UNESCO within the context of the reform agenda of the Government of Maldives, which places special emphasis on public participation, and inclusion of all especially the poor and marginalized in promoting good governance practices and the raising of awareness of human rights especially amongst the most vulnerable including women, youth and citizens in the outer Atoll islands.
Naladhu, Maldives, has been named one of the world's hottest new resorts by Conde Nast Traveler in the 2007 "Hot List". The list, featured in the May edition, comprises 138 hotels, and Naladhu, Maldives is the one of the "Hottest" new properties worldwide.
The Conde Nast Traveler Hot List recognizes hotels and resorts for design, service and ambiance, making it one of the most coveted designations. Each year, an anonymous group of writers evaluates new hotels and resorts around the world for the publication. Naladhu was chosen as one of only 138 properties whose offering surpass expectations. Of the chosen properties, each is awarded a "Hot", "Hotter" or "Hottest" title, Naladhu, Maldives claimed the position as "Hottest" in the magazine's listing.
In describing Naladhu, Conde Nast Traveler says "this intimate resort provides a level of privacy and personal attention impressive even in the Maldives". In addition "Dedicated butlers, or VGCs (Very Good Chaps), exceed expectations with quiet, smiling service".
The magazine concluded "Naladhu represents the Maldives' most convenient exclusive destination yet".
Located in the aquatic setting of the Maldives, one of the world's most celebrated tropical havens, Naladhu Maldives offers a unique lifestyle to those who appreciate the sophistication and charm of times past.
Naladhu has captured the elegant aesthetics of a slightly colonial era, with hints of Sri Lankan regality in its design. However, the resort also proffers every modern convenience imaginable to the luxury traveller. Naladhu means "pretty little island", and each of the exclusive 19 Houses - each named after a Maldivian plant - has been designed to make every guest's wish become reality.
With a commitment to perfecting every detail, Naladhu fuses modern facilities with a sense of the nostalgia. White-washed timber wall panels juxtapose the zesty Indian motifs and colours of the house upholstery. Antique furnishings, such as an early 20th century writer's desk and the decorous bar cabinet conjure up images of a romantic, bygone age.
Naladhu provides the canvass and colour palette to those who wish to make their holiday picture perfect.
For reservations please telephone +960-664-4100 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: PR News Wire
Monday, June 18, 2007
We are stepping ahead day by day and look forward to seek more of your interest and support in finding solutions on operations and promoting the liveboards of Maldives.
Thank you very much for your kind support in developing the liveaboard Industry of Maldives. “ Together we can do it”…
Founder Members of LAM :
1. Ismail Hameed - Floating Maldives – Managing Director
2. Salah Shihab – Voyages Maldives – Managing Director
3. Fayyaz Ismail – Silver Tides – Managing Director
4. Shahina Ali – Navis Holidays – Managing Director
5. Mufeed Abdulha – Maldives Boat Club – Managing Director
6. Mukhthar Hassan – Muni Travels – Managing Director
7. Moosa Rasheed – Vista Company – Director
8. Abdullah Ibrahim Fulhu – Sailing Tours – Managing Director
9. Zahir Adam – Moving International – Managing Director
10. Ahmed Afrah – Canopus Maldives – Director
11. Yousuf Riffath – Capital Travel – Managing Director
12. Mohamed Ignaz Ali – Truly Maldives – Managing Director
13. Ibrahim Shahid – AMA – Managing Director
14. Mohamed Shahid – Honor Holidays – General Manager
15. Ahyadh Hisan – Sachika Maldives – Director
16. Ali Azim – Hope Travels – Manager
17. Abdul Hameed Ali – Interlink Maldives – Managing Director
18. Ibrahim Naseer – Hamathi & Haira – Managing Director
KOTFA plays an important role in further strengthening the Korean market development efforts of Maldives. This year 2,734 participant exhibited in the KOTFA which received 8140 industry visitors and 77,826 public attendees. Maldives tourism sector was represented by 10 companies.
A dinner was hosted by MTPB to the top travel Agents and journalists with the industry participants on the 7th night at Coex Intercontinental hotel.
A total 16,157 Koreans visited Maldives last year which is a growth of 146.9% compared to 2005; 6,543 visitors. Korean market has a 2.8% market share arrivals up to April of this year and we expect total of 20,000 plus visitors this year.
There were a total of 130 attendees in Perth, 110 in Sydney and 79 in Melbourne. The attendees included tour wholesalers, travel agents and media. 10 Suppliers from Maldives participated while 10 wholesalers exhibited from Austrlia who currently sell Maldives.
Australians made up 1.3 per cent of the visitors to the Maldives upto April of this year. A total of 6,892 visitors from Australia visited Maldives last year which is a growth of 35.5% compared to 2005.
Four of the AitkenSpence Resorts (Adaaran) have become the first resorts in the Maldives to achieve the prestigious ISO 22000/HACCP standard, according to its General Manager Operations Nimal Sangakkara.
This was announced at a gathering held at the ADAARAN Resort of Hudhuran Fushi last week which was attended by Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Dr. Mahmoodh Shaughee, Managing Director of internationally Accredited certification body SGS Mr. Claude Lanohe, Vice Chairman of ADAARAN Resorts Rajan Brito and CEO of ADAARAN Resorts, Chethya Perera.
The ISO 22000/HACCP (Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points) standard was received by Adaaran club Rannalhi, Adaaran Select Meedhupparu, Adaaran ayurveda village and Adaaran prestige Water Villas. “Such an achievement demonstrates the superior level of service of the resorts in the Maldives which is at par with international standards in rest of the world.
Resorts in the Maldives often receive various international awards for their excellent service; but it’s the first time that a resort in the Maldives has received an award in relation to food safety and food quality standards,” Sangakkara said in a press release.
Earlier this year, ADAARAN Resorts inaugurated its Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Studies Campus at ADAARAN Centre for Hospitality Studies in Hudhuran Fushi which fully sponsors all the costs of students who study at their campus.
Source: Sunday Times
The Board of Control for Cricket in the Maldives became the first national cricket association in the world to host a blog on its official website, www.maldivescricket.blogspot.com. "The aim is to bring players, fans and stakeholders of Maldivian cricket together and to share in the development of cricket," says the website.
CCBM Vice-Chairman Ahmed Hassan Didi elaborates, "We are here together to develop cricket in the Maldives. Come with your ideas and queries Together we can make wonders for Maldives cricket. Your participation is our success. Come with your views and help us enjoy the game in the Maldives."
Broadband internet is the norm across the islands.
Source: Asian Cricket
Sunday, June 17, 2007
John Keells Holdings, one of the biggest capitalised firms in the Colombo bourse, and Aitken Spence, have been expanding in to the Maldive Islands in recent years.
The investments have helped prop up their bottom line at a time when their Sri Lankan hotel properties have been hard hit by an intensifying internal conflict.
The violence has prompted travel warnings in key Western markets and led to a sharp downturn in arrivals to the island.
John Keells Holdings said revenues from its leisure sector grew by 39.5 pct to 7.6 billion rupees in the financial year ended March 31, 2007.
This was mainly a result of increased revenues from its Maldivian operations, the firm told shareholders.
The addition of two new properties, Dhonveli and Ellaidhoo, helped boost performance with both resorts doing well in their first year under the group’s portfolio.
"Despite the adverse situation in Sri Lanka impacting the leisure industry, the earnings before interest and tax of the Leisure industry group increased to 1.09 billion rupees, primarily due to the contribution from the group’s Maldivian hotels," the firm's annual report said.
JKH chairman Susantha Ratnayake said the decline in profits from its Sri Lankan hotels was partially offset by the profits from Maldives.
The group's leisure sector reported a 19 per cent decline in profit after tax to 500 million rupees, as the Sri Lankan operations were affected by the escalation in hostilities and the consequent negative travel advisories issued by major markets.
"Had we not taken several pre-emptive measures to contain costs, the effects would have been more adverse," Ratnayake said.
"The decline was partially offset by the strong performance of our four Maldivian resorts, including the Dhonveli and Ellaidhoo Island resorts that were acquired this year."
In the past two years alone, JKH has invested 62 million US dollars in the Maldives, bringing the total number of rooms under its control to 524.
Most Sri Lankan hotels have been hit hard by the downturn in arrivals which has worsened this year after Tamil Tiger air strikes.
The Tigers launched their first air raid in March on the main military airbase next to the international airport, disrupting flights and scaring away tourists.
The threat of Tiger attacks prompted the government to shut the airport at night to prevent further disruption and any harm to tourists.
The Tigers have also staged several bomb attacks in or near the capital Colombo.
The other big Sri Lankan group with resorts in the Maldives, Aitken Spence, has also been cushioned by profits from the Maldives.
Aitken Spence managing director Rajan Brito told shareholders that the group's "strategic shift" in tourism that led to cross border expansion in hospitality management helped mitigate the effects of the downturn in Sri Lanka.
"The mediocre performance of the Sri Lankan portfolio was offset by the strong resurgence in profitability of the sector's Maldivian resorts."
Overall Aitken Spence leisure sector profits rose by 178 pct to 889 million rupees in the financial year ended March 31, 2007.
At its listed hotels unit, Aitken Spence Hotels, Sri Lankan operations grossed 692 million with 275 million in losses. But overseas operation had a top line of 4.2 billion rupees, netting 419 million.
Pakistan would take on arch rival India on June 23 and Kazakhstan defending champion on June 25, said Chairman Pakistan Volleyball Federation Chaudhry Yaqoob while addressing the Press Conference after visit of ongoing training camp here volleyball here in Sports Complex on Saturday.
Secretary Maj. (Retd) Muhammad Afzal and Bulgarian coach Stefan G. Dimitrov were present on the occasion. He said that volleyball stand third rank amongst the best game in the world and Pakistan Volleyball Federation is keen to promote volleyball in the country.
The federation, he said, would provide financial assistance to players by launching professional league volleyball championship first time in the history of Pakistan.
Answering to question, the Chairman added the Askari Bank is title sponsor while Ufone, Pakistan Sports Trust, National Bank and Pakistan State Oil is co-sponsor of the championship scheduled to begin from June 19.
Under Talent Hunt program, Chaudhry Yaqoob further stated that, PVF is training players on modern lines and providing all the crunch facilities to the players. Also, this year, six training camps will be held at various spots of the country to promote the game and groom youngsters, "he added on the other hand, under coaching training programs, coaches would train youngsters, which would be able to learn the art in an amicable manner.
He hoped that Pakistan would better perform in the forthcoming championship. On the occasion, the Chairman PVF announced 12-member national volleyball squad, which would take part in the second Asian Central Zone Mens Volleyball Championship.
He said that Muhammad Zaman, who is from Police, would lead twelve members Pakistan squad in the upcoming championship.
While other players are Irfan Nawaz (WAPDA), M. Tariq Waseem (Police), Kashif Mansoor (Police), Mohib Rasool (police), Sayyab (PAF), Naseer Ahmad (Police), Ali Abbas (WAPDA), Muhammad Riaz (PAF), Bakhat Rasal (Army), Muhammad Ismail (PAF) and Sanaullah.
Besides hosts Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Turkmenistan, Iran and defending champion Kazakhstan are participating in the seven days international fixture which would start from June 19 and would be continued till June 25 at Liaquat Gymnasium, Pakistan Sports Complex Islamabad.
Announcing the schedule, Chaudhry Yaqoob was on the view that hose Pakistan will play its inaugural match against Sri Lanka while first day second match between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, third match between India and Iran would be played during the first day.
While on second day, he said, first match is schedule to play between defending championship Kazakhstan and Maldives, second match between Iran and Sri Lanka, third match between Pakistan and Turkmenistan.
Likewise, Indian would take on Sri Lanka on June 21, second match between Maldives and Turkmenistan while third match between Iran and Pakistan would be played on same day, he maintained.
On June 22, Chairman PVF said, first match between Maldives and Sri Lanka, second match between Iran and Turkmenistan and third match between Kazakhstan and India would be played.
First match between Maldives and Iran, second match between Kazakhstan and Iran while third match between archrival Pakistan and India would be played on June 23, he pointed out.
Chaudhry Yaqub added Pakistan would play its match against Maldives on June 24 while India against Turkmenistan and Iran against Kazakhstan on June 24.
Matches between Turkmenistan and Sri Lanka, India and Maldives, Pakistan and Kazakhstan would be played on last and seventh day of the championship, he concluded.
Schedule. Match No. Date Time Teams 1. 19-June 12:00 Noon KAZ - TKM 2. 02:00 pm IND - IRI 3 4:30 PM PAK - SRI (Opening Ceremony) 4 20-June 01:00 pm KAZ - MDV 5 3:00 pm IRI - SRI 6 5:00 pm PAK - TKM 7 21-June 1:00 pm IND - SRI 8 3:00 pm MDV - TKM 9 5:00 pm IRI - PAK 10 22 -June 10:00 am MDV - SRI 11 3:00 pm IRI - TKM 12 5:00 pm KAZ - IND 13 23-June 1:00 pm MDV - IRI 14 3:00 pm KAZ - SRI 15 5:00 pm IND - PAK 16 24-June 1:00 pm PAK - MDV 17 3:00 pm IND - TKM 18 5:00 pm IRI - KAZ 19 25-June 1:00 pm TKM - SRI 20 3:00 pm IND - MDV 21 5:00 pm PAK - KAZ (Closing Ceremony)
Friday, June 15, 2007
Nothing says romance like an over-water hotel room – and while it's a great way to spend your honeymoon, there's no rule that says you have to get hitched to sleep in a bed perched over the sea. We've scoured the globe for the most affordable over-water accommodations and found deals from $355/night. Wherever your vacation dreams take you – Bora Bora, the Maldives, Bermuda, or Panama – there's a luxury property where you'll be lulled to sleep by ocean breezes and lapping waves for less.
Free Stay over the South Pacific on Bora Bora
The islands of the South Pacific are the ultimate tropical getaway, renowned for its deluxe beach resorts, many of which feature overwater bungalows. One of our favorites in the Polynesian archipelago is the award-winning Bora Bora Lagoon Resort & Spa, owned by prestigious Orient Express. Book a four-night stay in an "Overwater Bungalow" now through late December, and you'll get a fifth night free. The rooms at this sweet-scented enclave of lush plants and flowers, tall palms, and white-sand beaches feature a private deck leading directly to the spectacular lagoon below and an illuminated glass-topped coffee table through which you can admire underwater sea life. Regular rates for these desirable units start at $930/night, so you're saving a bundle – plus getting a gourmet three-course dinner for two – when you treat yourself to an extra night in paradise.
Money-Saver at an Island Resort in the Maldives
What would you say to an over-the-water stay in the Indian Ocean? We recommend you book one on a private island in the Maldives. The Komandoo Maldive Island Resort is an idyllic island retreat on its very own atoll. Blessed with attractive sugar white-sand beaches and a stunning turquoise lagoon, it has a coconut plantation and a coral reef for superb snorkeling. Don’t worry about feeling stuck: you can indulge in spa treatments, take island-hopping tours, or go fishing. The water villas here are built on stilts over a lagoon, each with a roofed terrace, a sundeck, and a Jacuzzi. These units go for just $390/night through July 20 ($50 extra through early November), with three complimentary meals daily. This is a bargain compared to the cost of booking a water villa at other area resorts, like the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa or the Six Senses Soneva Gili Resort & Spa, where rates go upward of $800/night! Note that air transfer to the Komandoo costs $280 per person.
Slumber over the Atlantic at top Bermuda Resort
For something closer to home, head to the British-flavored archipelago of Bermuda in the Atlantic. Here, the fantastic 9 Beaches resort is spread out on 18 oceanfront acres on the west side of the main island. Bermuda may be famed for its buttoned-up vibe but at this casual property, you can feel free to pull out flip-flops and shorts. A number of the cabanas are perched on stilts over the water and cooled by ocean breezes, with panoramic vistas of the Atlantic and viewing panels in the floor revealing tropical fish below. These popular over-water units start at $375/night and cost up to $450 for the bungalows placed over the deepest water. Quoted rates are valid for stays during Bermuda’s high season (through October) and cover a complimentary buffet breakfast for two.
Poised over the Sea at Eco-Friendly Panama Lodge
Our favorite over-the-water property in Central America is the eco-friendly Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, located on the pristine Isla Colon in Panama’s Bocas del Toro archipelago. This solar-powered hideaway, claims Condé Nast Traveler “. . . curls like a shell suspended over the sea. Here are the pure essences of Caribbean beauty – ocean, breeze, wood and thatch, and not much more. Cabanas rest on stilts over the water, spaced like vertebrae along a spine of boardwalk.” Rates at this remote outpost start at $355/night during the high season (July and August) and run up to $480/night for the most luxurious master bungalow. Included in the cost is lodging in one of the nine cabins; transportation from the local airport (the flight from Panama City is extra, at about $120 per person); a welcome cocktail; breakfast; complimentary use of kayaks and snorkeling equipment; afternoon tea and biscuits; and a candlelit dinner on the restaurant terrace.
See details above. The hotel packages exclude taxes and service charges while the air-land deal excludes air taxes and fees.
Just don’t think about the fact you’re sleeping precariously suspended over the sea.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
India, who remained stuck in 165th spot since March rankings, had not played any international 'A' level matches in the past one month to add to its current 76 points.
The gain in four places, which also saw India moving up one place to 31st among Asian countries, could be due to poor showing of some countries which were earlier ahead of it in the previous month rankings.
India is ahead of Bangladesh (172nd), Pakistan (178th) and Nepal (182nd) but below Maldives (157th) and Sri Lanka (159th), according to information received here.
Among Asian Confederation countries, Japan (40th) gained four places to dethrone Iran (47th) from top, who slipped six places.
Australia (48th), who lost six places, is at third, South Korea unchanged at fourth, followed by Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia at fifth and sixth respectively.
Meanwhile, World champions Italy retained the top spot for the second successive month while a pair of victories in EURO 2008 qualifiers saw France climb two spots to second place at the expense of Brazil which is third, down one place from previous month.
Germany reached its highest position in more than four years at fourth while Argentina is down two places to fifth.
England, the Netherlands, Portugal, Czech Republic and Spain are unchanged at sixth to tenth positions.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Used to be, the WQS tour was a complete slog, with four-man heats in crappy beachbreak after crappy beachbreak. Being able to grovel with the best of 'em while keeping an eye on the Dream Tour prize kept many surfers motivated, but things are changing.
The Sri Lanka Airlines Pro in the Maldives, now in its sixth year, is a prime example of the Dream Tour coming to the WQS. And while there was no Teahupoo-like barrels on offer this year, consistent shoulder to head-high swell graced Pasta Point for the week of the contest, allowing the world's best young surfers to cut loose over the rippable reefbreak.
Brazilian Heitor Alves took the win from Aussie Jarrad Howse in the last three minutes of the final with a solid 8.93, which comboed the Aussie.
"I'm so happy to win such a magnificent event here in the Maldives," Alves said. "All week we have surfed really good waves and today was perfect for me. I feel like Pasta Point really suits my style and after each heat I was very confident I could get a really good result here. It's great that a Brazilian finally wins here as well!"
This was Jarrad Howse's second finals performance in the past month and the South Australian born surfer who now resides in Sydney is well on track to requalify for the elite World Championship Tour in 2008.
"It's been another fantastic event here. Obviously I would have like to have won but in the final I never quite found the waves needed to score really big on. No excuses though, the winner has been the form surfer here and he will always be hard to beat in these type of conditions."
Equal third today went to Hawaiian surfer Dustin Barca and Brazil's Pablo Paulino, while South African surfer Jordy Smith's fifth placing puts him in first place on the ASP World Qualifying Series Ratings.
During the call at the President’s Office, President Gayoom expressed appreciation for the contribution being made by the World Bank to various development projects in the country, especially in the fields of human resource development, fisheries and tourism.
Doctor Merza Hasan commended the President for the rapid development the Maldives had achieved under the leadership of the President. Further he said that the World Bank will continue its assistance in future for the country’s development.
The call was attended by the Minister of Finance and Treasury, Gasim Ibrahim, Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mohamed Hussain and the Executive Director of the President’s Office, Mohamed Hunaif.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
At the signing ceremony held at Nasandhura Palace Hotel the agreement to purchase their largest airplane so far was signed on behalf of the IAS by the company’s Managing Director Ibrahim Saleem. The Norway company, Widerøe, which will deliver the plane for IAS was represented by the company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Lars Kobberstad.
According to IAS, the new plane which has previously been used in colder climates, is not that much different from the current 37-seat Dash-8 model being used by IAS, although more spacious. The company also said that the new plane will be brought to Male by the final week of October this year.
“The new plane will also be used for flying to regional airports,” the Managing Director of IAS said. “When we receive the authorization to fly to India we will fly there too.” The company has made arrangements to begin flights to Trivandrum, India sometime during the course of the year.
IAS is purchasing the new plane a million Rufiyaa cheaper than the 37-seat Dash-8 plane they had purchased earlier. With the addition of the new plane to their fleet the effective passenger capacity of the company will be raised from 106 to 156.
The IAS fleet currently consists of a Dash-8 plane on rent from the bankrupt Air Maldives airlines, a Dornier purchased in 2003 for Rf 19.27 million, another Rf 59 million Dornier brought into service in July 2005, and the 37-seat Dash-8 purchased last year.
"We both are going in the same direction," said the Deputy Minister of Maldives' Ministry of Tourism Abdul Hameed Zakariyya during a visit to the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources yesterday.
Abdul Hameed is in the sultanate for a familiarisation trip and discussions on tourism development with Bruneian counterparts.
"We are trying to build our tourism around strengths" similar to those of Brunei, he said. Government officials from both countries will be learning from each other on ways to create and market tourism products, and spread their benefits to the rest of the population, added Abdul Hameed.
He explained Maldives has a small budget to work with, but it is spent as efficiently as possible to increase tourism receipts.
Brunei Tourism Development Board CEO Sheikh Jamaluddin Sheikh Mohamed presented various strategies of the sultanate to develop its tourism sector yesterday.
He highlighted some of the strengths of Brunei, which include peace and order, and safety.
The board is also looking to capitalise on the longest strand of beach on Borneo.
Also mentioned were marathon events held in Brunei which is the second richest in Asia. It offers a $500,000 first prize reward, making its marathon events attractive to runners from all over the globe.
Brunei has begun attracting locals to tourist sites within the sultanate under the Kenali Negara Kita (Knowing Your Country) campaign, while Maldives has yet to work on boosting its domestic tourism.
The domestic tourism campaign is aimed at reducing the number of Bruneians going abroad for their holidays, and reduce dependence on foreign tourists.
This, according to local tourism officials, benefits the rest of the economy, with more jobs generated for locals.
Sheikh Jamaluddin also explained that previously the sultanate faced difficulties in its tourism branding, with people unaware of the country, and have tackled this issue through the board's marketing strategies.
The board has also participated in various trade shows overseas, up to 24 a year.
Brunei, moreover, can learn a thing or two from Maldives' efforts related to the commissioning of two archaeologists to help the government identify potential sites for tourism, according to Abdul Hameed.
The Maldives' Deputy Minister and Assistant Director General of the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation will be in Brunei for a three-day familiarisation trip, aimed to discuss joint opportunities within the tourism sector.
Source: The Brunei Times
The Maldives Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB) once again hit L’Aqua in Sydney on Monday, bringing a team of suppliers and wholesalers with them in an effort to draw more tourists to the Maldives.
While much of the tourism in the Maldives comes from Europe, many of the suppliers and wholesalers hoped to attract a large Australian market. Already, the number of people who attended the on Monday was an increase from last year’s exhibition. Many suppliers and wholesalers also commented that the reaction from the Australian market at the Perth exhibition was also incredibly positive.
MTPB official, Abudalla Naim, commented on the MTPB’s hopes of increasing tourism in the area. He revealed that already, another 50 islands have been dedicated towards attracting more tourism and are planning to be ready in 2 to 3 years.
Source: E-Travel Blackboard
Naim also commented on the appeal of the Maldives to the Australian society, saying that it is not only attracting honeymooners now but also tourists seeking adventure as well as families hoping to spend time together on their holidays. The roadshow included representatives from ClubMed, Wildlife Safari and Creative Holidays. AAA Hotels are launching two new upmarket island resorts, Midhufushi and Filitheyo, which offer pure relaxation and escape from daily stress. Their resorts also include private access, for guests who desire a more intimate and secluded accommodation. Other representatives included Sun Travel & Tours which launched their products that have been specially catered for their male residents. This includes a Gentlemen’s lounge, martial arts lessons, water sport activities and a giant trampoline. Six Senses Resorts & Spas also provides for the more environmentally conscious travelers, with plans to be carbon free by 2008 and zero emission free by 2010. The resort also uses solar power and desalination to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Their resorts also feature a private swimming area for each guest and a sundeck. While the 2004 tsunami devastated parts of the Maldives which forced many resorts to rebuild and tourism numbers dropped, Naim says it is now a thing of the past and that the future for Maldives’ tourism industry is now brighter than ever. And judging by the large turnout on Monday, it seems that he was right.
Naim also commented on the appeal of the Maldives to the Australian society, saying that it is not only attracting honeymooners now but also tourists seeking adventure as well as families hoping to spend time together on their holidays.
The roadshow included representatives from ClubMed, Wildlife Safari and Creative Holidays.
AAA Hotels are launching two new upmarket island resorts, Midhufushi and Filitheyo, which offer pure relaxation and escape from daily stress. Their resorts also include private access, for guests who desire a more intimate and secluded accommodation.
Other representatives included Sun Travel & Tours which launched their products that have been specially catered for their male residents. This includes a Gentlemen’s lounge, martial arts lessons, water sport activities and a giant trampoline.
Six Senses Resorts & Spas also provides for the more environmentally conscious travelers, with plans to be carbon free by 2008 and zero emission free by 2010. The resort also uses solar power and desalination to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Their resorts also feature a private swimming area for each guest and a sundeck.
While the 2004 tsunami devastated parts of the Maldives which forced many resorts to rebuild and tourism numbers dropped, Naim says it is now a thing of the past and that the future for Maldives’ tourism industry is now brighter than ever. And judging by the large turnout on Monday, it seems that he was right.
Saturday, June 9, 2007
The ground-breaking underwater spa treatment rooms at Huvafen Fushi, most spectacular island-chic resort in the Maldives, have undergone an innovative transformation that takes cutting-edge cool to another level.
Masterminded by the award-winning British designer and architect Richard Hywel Evans, the two underwater treatment areas have been completely reinvented, with the addition of a separate relaxation pod where post-treatment guests can relax on an oversized day bed and enjoy the sublime surroundings.
“We wanted to create an interior that was in keeping with the spa’s position at the bottom of the sea! The underwater spa has always been a sensational concept and the new interior was designed to reflect and amplify this extraordinary environment; one of our main challenges was dividing the space into three separate areas using room dividers that could disappear, unifying the space so that it could be used for a variety of functions including ‘underwater’ wedding ceremonies. The underwater spa is now truly the world’s most unique spa experience,” says Hywel Evans.
To enter the underwater spa, guests now pass along a passageway decorated in soft pinks, aqua blues, calming yellows and relaxing greens. These colours reflect off wooden walls that retract to reveal the treatment and relaxation spaces beyond. Interior walls have been uplifted to a silver white, providing an ideal canvas for the chromotherapy lighting; a Barrisol ceiling has been installed, creating an ethereal canopy of light, with variable colour and intensity to enhance or tone down the mood; while pebble marble tiles underfoot appear to bring the sea floor inside.
Jane Quinn, Managing Director Per Aquum Spa Collection, says: “Constant evolution has been, and will remain the key to our success at Per Aquum. Guests who truly want to experience one-on-one quality time with our superb therapists, in a super sexy underwater cave that connects them instantly with the Indian Ocean and its inhabitants, should experience this iconic journey. It is a visual feast and a truly authentic experience that leaves you truly nurtured by nature.”
To celebrate the evolution of the underwater treatment rooms, Per Aquum Spa Collection has created a sensational new signature spa experience. The Unite Me – Crystal Ritual offers guests the opportunity to embrace the essence of the Maldives with a truly indigenous combination of body brushing; a sand and lime mineral poultice, using Maldivian sand and lime from local lime trees; and a local Maldivian virgin coconut oil massage using coconut wood massage tools designed exclusively by the spa team at Huvafen Fushi, and hand-made by the local community. Following the massage, guests retire to the relaxation pod and enjoy mineral water, fresh fruits and herbal teas while savouring kaleidoscopic views of clownfish, stingrays and the other exotic marine life that populates the lagoon.
Source: Business Maktoob
Friday, June 8, 2007
We do love us some Maldives action, and their policy of having only one resort on each island does make it a heavenly kind of place. But you all love the Maldives too, and they're looking to expand.
So how do they do it? According to the Deputy Director of the Maldives Tourism Promotion Board, Abdulla Naim, it's all too easy:
There are currently 89 resorts in operation in the 300,000 population Maldives on a one-resort-per-island policy. We want to increase the number of resorts but don't want to change this guideline so the only thing we can do is develop more islands ... The government has gazetted 50 uninhabited islands for tourism development in the near future. The plan calls for the addition of 7000 beds in the next three to four years. This would increase the accommodation inventory to 27,000 rooms by 2011.
At some stage of course they'll have to run out of uninhabited-but-habitable islands: although there are about 1192 islands to choose from (unless global warming covers up too many). Apart from the well-known snorkelling and scuba diving possibilities, the Maldives are also trying to push surfing as a must-do, which should fill up another dozen or two islands.
Source: Hotel Chatter
It seems like our european crew remains fit and highly motivated once again! The Maldives 5 Star prime WQS event that ended today seems to be another step towards the emergance of european surfing.
It’s no big surprise as this new phenomenon started years ago, at the time when the Dream Tour was only a.... dream. Power surfer Russell Winter (Gbr) was the first to draw up the path in the late 90’s, spending several years amongst the elite, when Kelly Slater was opening the era of his domination.
The second stone was posted by Eric Rebière (Fra) when he qualified through the World Qualifying Series to spend a year with the top 44. Two years later in 2006, Miky Picon (Fra) was the thrid man to achieve this ultimate goal and confirm to the rising generation Europe was definitely ready to rumble.
And even if the surfer from Capbreton, France, couldn’t remain on the Foster’s ASP World Tour despite showing some potential, a new current had rose and you could feel that the limits were to disappear.
Europe’s wonderkid and most promissing surfer of the last decade Jérémy Flores (Fra), finished 2007 achieving what no europeans had ever done, becoming WQS champion, at eighteen years old only; becoming the youngest surfer ever to enter the famous Dream Tour, Jérémy’s exceptional path seemed to give the rest of the Euroforce the confidence that was missing in the group.
Since the beginning of the year, a whole bunch of europeans have contributed to the rising building, and as we are moving towards the crucial mid-year turning point, it seems like what could be seen as an illusion is definitely reality. Twenty-seven europeans made the trip to the Maldives present Sri Lankan Airlines Pro 5 Star Prime WQS event.
Amongst them, upcoming young guns Joan Duru (Fra) or Marc Lacomare (Fra) starting the WQS tour this year, more experienced surfers Hugo Savalli (Reu), Alain Riou (Pyf), Hodei Collazo (Euk), and eventually the ones who are ready to qualify and remain in the current top 25 Tiago Pires (Prt), Miky Picon (Fra), Aritz Aranburu (Euk), Tim Boal (Fra), Eneko Acero (Euk), Michel Bourez (Pyf)...
Former WCT surfer Miky Picon ended in the quarterfinals, securing the best result of the contingent but confirming as well his rise event after event, eliminating on his way O’Neill Highland Open winner Nathan Hedge (Aus). Targetting a requalification on the Dream Tour, Picon is taking advantage of his 7-year experience on the World Qualifying Series and will be one of the leaders of the euro-pack this summer at home.
With an increasing number of major events around the world, and a level that has never been so high on the international field, the race to the 2008 Foster’s ASP World Tour is going to be super tight until the last events in Hawaii. However, with one 5 Star, three 6 Star, one Super Series, and two 4 Star WQS events, Europe will host between August and October the best action pack ever, and hopes the Euroforce crew keeps holding high the colours of the Union.
Going by the enthusiastic response to the festival – christened the “South Asian Film Festival Maldives 2007” – and its success in bringing together a number of interesting films from the South Asian region and disseminating knowledge about South Asian cinemas with filmmakers of the country who do not have much exposure to the rich variety of cinemas of the region (barring the ubiquitous Bollywood films and their Bangladeshi counterparts, apart from, of course, locally made digital films) it is likely to become an annual affair.
The Ministry of Information & Culture of the Maldives Government, under whose jurisdiction the National Centre for Arts fall, actively helped the organization of the festival.
The festival was held in Male, the capital of the Maldives, from May 8 to 12. The film shown at the festival were curated by FTI, whose representatives, filmmakers Anwar Jamal and Sehjo Singh and film critic Utpal Borpujari, also conducted a workshop (coordinated by Sehjo Singh) on the reflection of identities in the filmmaking experience in South Asia for local filmmakers and film enthusiasts.
The festival screened the following films: “Dweepa” (Kannada, by Girish Kasaravalli), “Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara” (Hindi, by Jahnu Barua), “Swaraaj” (Hindi/Rajasthani, by Anwar Jamal), “Kol Kathayen” (documentary, by Sehjo Singh) and “Dead End” (short film by music director Sandeep Chowta) from India, “Heylaa” (Dhivehi language, by Ali Shifau & Muuin Fuwad) and “Futtaru” (Dhivehi, by Aminath Najeeb) from the Maldives, “Osama” (by Siddiq Barmak) from Afghanistan, “Nirontor” (Bengali, by Abu Sayeed) from Bangladesh, “Numafung” (Limbu language, by Nabin Subba) from Nepal, “Shah Rukh Khan Ki Maut” (Urdu, by Ehteshamuddin) from Pakistan and “Ira Madiyama / August Sun” (Sinhalese, by Prasanna Vithanage) from Sri Lanka.
Several other films, including “Uttara” by Buddhadeb Dasgupta, “Cyanide” (Kananda) by A M R Ramesh, “Manasarovar” (English, by Anup Kurian), “Iqbal” by Nagesh Kukunoor, “Nishabd” (Bengali, by Jahar Kanungo) and “Amu” (English, by Shonali Bose) were shown in the film workshop that ran concurrently with the festival. Bangladesh’s High Commissioner in the Maldives, Mr Mijarul Quayes, who is also an academician and film historian, also shared his views with those attending the workshop.
The aim of the workshop was to familiarize the Maldivian filmmakers and viewers with the aesthetic experience of a film, the socio-genesis of its construct and its power to shape opinion. Beyond being a film appreciation course, it will also help prepare them to be more demanding of the medium. There would also be a more hands on workshop with potential and practicing filmmakers.
The Festival was inaugurated by the Foreign Minister of Maldives, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, who underscored the relevance of such events in promoting a people’s SAARC. “It is very important that this festival is being held just before the Maldives assumes the SAARC presidency,” he said inaugurating the festival. He appealed to filmmakers from the region to create a feeling of understanding and brotherhood by making films that focus on issues concerning the region and its peoples.
The focus of the festival was about the South Asian experience and how it is reflected in the narrative or story telling around the region. The theme covered diversity of experience; diversity of narrative; and diversity in the story line.
Leading filmmakers and actors of Maldives participated in the workshop to exchange ideas and views with the visiting FTI representatives. Among them were directors Aminath Najeeb (of “Futtaru”), Ali Shifau & Muuin Fuwad (of “Heylaa”), Ahmed Saeed, Mohamed Sayeed and Ahmed Shakyb, leading actress Nashidha “Naakko” Mohamed, storywriter Mariyam Moosa and producer Ahmed Shah.
FTI, which has filmmakers Anwar Jamal & Sehjo Singh, film critics Utpal Borpujari & Saibal Chatterjee, and film programmer Therese Hayes as its promoters, plans to host similar experiences of South Asian cinemas in Lahore in Pakistan by 2007-end and Dhaka in Bangladesh in early 2008, apart from other places in the Subcontinent with local collaborators. Meanwhile, it will work towards making the South Asian Film Film Festival in Maldives a bigger and better one after the exploratory nature of the festival this year.
CAPE Bridgewater surfer Adam Robertson was eliminated from the SriLankan Airlines Pro in the Maldives yesterday, going down narrowly in his round three heat.
Robertson, 24, was well positioned mid-heat with a strong 6.8 opening ride but was unable to back it up with a reasonable second scoring ride and was eliminated from the event by Brazil's Ordelie Couthino.
Robertson had been in good form, defeating another Brazilian in highly-decorated veteran Fabio Gouveia to advance to round three.
``This is an amazing event,'' Robertson said.``We score great waves every year here and it's a lot of fun to surf.''
The Maldives is regarded as having some of the warmest surfing waters in the world at about 29 degrees and produces excellent reef breaks.
It is a five-star prime rating ASP World Qualifying Tour event with $US100,000 prizemoney, attracting about 200 of the world's top surfers .Source: The Standard
Young Brazilian surfer Adriano De Souza, the events number one seed, was a shock elimination on day five at the SriLankan Airlines Pro in the Maldives today. In the round of 24 surfers where three man heats are introduced with 1st and 2nd progressing while 3rd is eliminated, twenty year old De Souza only required a three point ride to progress.
The big problem for De Souza was a snapped fin on his board mid heat which restricted his performance severely. He was forced to waste time changing boards and was unable to get a wave on his new board before the heat finished. De Souza fell to Eneko Acero (Spain) and Jordy Smith (Zaf).
Angry after the heat De Souza said “It’s really disappointing when the equipment fails. It happened in my first heat here and then again today. I’ll be talking seriously with my board people to fix this because it’s a serious problem and I’m not happy at all.”
It wasn’t all bad for the strong Brazilian contingent here with Leonardo Neves and Heitor Alves both very impressive round five heat winners today. Alves likened the wave to his home breaks in Brazil and the super fast small framed goofy footer put in an awesome display to score the events highest single scoring ride with a 9.67 and the events highest heat tally of 18.17.
Surrounded by the happy Brazilian contingent after his heat Alves said, “Great heat for me, the winds picked up and I knew I could pull some good aerial moves if I focused on them and that’s exactly how it worked for me. I love the waves here and I really feel good at this stage of the event and will enjoy my next heats.”
One surfer surprising many here is Anthony Walsh (Australia/Lennox Head). Walsh recently made world headlines in surfing following exceptional performances in the worlds scariest wave in Tahiti and here in the Maldives, in probably some of the most fun waves in the world, Walsh is again winning and is through to the final 16 surfers.
“It’s nothing like Teahupoo but it’s such a rippable wave you have to surf well here. The hardest part here is the water temperature. It’s probably the warmest I’ve felt, around 30 degrees and that’s awesome for free surfing but tough when we compete!”
Other big performers today included Mikey Picon (France), Michel Bourez (Tahiti), Jarrod Howse (Aus), Dustin Barca (Haw), Kekoa Bacalso (Haw), Troy Brooks (Aus), Adrian Buchan (Aus) and Tiago Pires(Portugal), all through to the final 16 surfers. The great waves simply continue to roll through at Pasta Point and with predicted favorable winds tomorrow everyone is keen for an epic finish.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
The archipelago's 575 taxi services halted Sunday amid demands for lower gasoline prices, the private Haveeru agency said.
Drivers complained that the fare to any point on the tiny coral island is only 15 rufiya or 1.17 dollars.
The narrow streets were "peaceful" without taxis, the report said.
"I walked to work today and it took me just 10 minutes to get there," a secretary identified only as Aisha told Haveeru.
"Actually, we do not really need taxis," she said.
Over 100,000 people live packed in an area of less than one square mile on the capital island.
The Maldives -- 1,192 coral outcrops scattered across the equator -- is South Asia's most expensive tourist destination.The 369,000 population enjoy the region's highest per capita income of over 2,300 dollars.
Source: The National
Monday, June 4, 2007
Life simply doesn’t get any better for the ASP World Qualifying Series with the Maldives producing a memorable day of great waves at Pasta Point. The surfers responded to the waves by throwing caution to the wind with big moves a plenty to entertain the spectators relaxing on deck chairs, sipping cocktails and simply enjoying the sport of surfing in this incredible environment.
Hawaiian Dustin Barca was the days standout. The confident Kauai surfer showed no signs of nerves as he lined up in the days heavyweight clash against Dane Reynolds (USA) and Hank Gaskell (Haw).
While Reynolds has been this years outstanding performer an the ASP Qualifying circuit with his new wave aerial attack it was Barca who took to the skies with a series of outstanding aerial moves combined with his committed powerful backhand attack to take the heat with the highest event wave score (9.0 out of 10) and highest wave tally of 17.86.
Fellow Hawaiian Hank Gaskell was also busy pulling big aerials in this heat and finished second to progress with Reynolds the big shock elimination. Reynolds was far from disgraced today, he also pulled some great aerial moves and scored well but didn't quite find the quality waves like Barca and Gaskell.
A focused Barca had little to say after the heat other than, “I don’t think about my competitors at all I simply go out to surf my best. No game plan before the heat, just surf the best waves the best I can.”
Australia’s Matt Wilkinson was another young emerging surfer eliminated today going down to Frederick Robin (France) and Antonio Borteletto (South Africa). Wilkinson was advancing for most of the heat and also scored well with some strong aerial moves couldn’t match the consistency of his competitors.
Adam Robertson signaled the strong Australian presence at this event with a convincing heat win as the waves peaked around mid day. Robertson defeated highly decorated veteran Fabio Gouveia (Bra) to advance to round three.
“ This is an amazing event, we score great waves every year here and it’s a lot of fun to surf – you need to pinch yourself that it’s not a holiday and stay focused on the task of winning heats - there’s a long way to go to get an acceptable result here for me.”
Other great performances today included Hodie Collazo from Spain who easily won his heat thanks to a decisive excellent 8.2 ride to defeat Parish Byrne from Australia. Fellow Spanish surfer Aritz Aranburu also posted an impressive win while Pablo Gutierrez completed a great day for Spain by progressing through his heat by stealing 2nd place on his final ride in the heat.
Conditions look likely to remain excellent for the entire event and round three top seeds will enter the water tomorrow including the super exciting talents of Jordy Smith (Zaf), Adriano De Souza (Bra) and Shaun Cansdell (Aus).Source: Global Surfer News
The EU has said a failure by Male to open up its political system to opposition groups would lead to violence on the idyllic islands.
Political parties were allowed in the Maldives for the first time in June 2005, in line with reforms announced by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who was originally elected in 1978 and is currently Asia's longest-serving president.
But the Muslim islands have yet to hold multi-party elections and Gayoom's opponents have accused him of clinging to power.
The EU has also called for a "proper investigation" into the recent mysterious death of an opposition activist, Hussein Salah.
The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, which is leading a campaign against Gayoom, has accused police of killing him.
The EU is Maldives' largest trading partner, buying fisheries products and sending the largest number of tourists to the archipelago.
Source: Radio Australia
Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom Sunday called for global action to combat climate change that directly impacts low-lying countries and sought more global investment to spur his country to achieve the transition to a middle-income liberal democracy.
"There is no alternative but for the whole world to fight climate change. The Maldives on its part is doing what it can, but that would never be enough. Action on a global scale is a must," Gayoom told delegates participating in the second Maldives Partnership Forum (MPF) here.
"Our focus has been on alerting the international community to the dangers that climate change and its devastating effects, including sea level rise, pose to the Maldives, and to the other low-lying countries and regions," Gayoom stressed.
The MPF offers a platform for discussion between the Maldives government and its developments partners on key national development objectives.
Alluding to floods caused by high swells that hit the atoll nation recently, the Maldives president underscored the need for "timely action" to combat global warming failing which the "dangers to Maldives could very well be doubled".
"It is our hope, therefore, that you would convey to your governments the need for urgent action on implementing the Kyoto Protocol, as a good first step, to be followed by others on the climb towards more concrete emissions cuts," he said.
Stressing that the Maldives was "well on track to achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals", Gayoom, Asia's longest serving leader who has been presiding over the island nation for nearly three decades, sought more international investment in the reconstruction of his country that was among nine nations hit by a deadly tsunami in December 2004.
"More than two years on, we still have a funding shortfall of $70 million for the tsunami recovery. On top of that, we now face the cost of rebuilding the livelihoods and infrastructure washed out by the recent and current tidal waves," he said.
"Investing in the Maldives is about investing in growth, in the future, in ensuring environmental sustainability. It is about investing for the benefit of an entire nation," he said.
Gayoom stressed on the process of democratic transformation currently underway in the atoll nation as he reiterated his resolve to hold the Maldives' first multi-party elections before November 2008.
He also spoke about his government's plan to hold a Constitutional Conference, in which all political parties will participate, to ensure that the new constitution is acceptable to all sections of the people. International observers will also be invited to the conference.Source: IANS
Sunday, June 3, 2007
The European Union (EU) has called on the Maldivian government to re-start talks with the opposition aimed to bring democracy to the islands.
"The EU urgently calls upon the President of the Maldives to take concrete steps in this direction by creating an enabling environment for talks," the EU said in a demarche issued following talks with the atoll government Sunday.
"There is no alternative to the major parties in Maldives working together to introduce democracy. The absence of a formal process is likely to lead to further confrontation on the streets, that is in everyone’s interest to avoid."
The demarche also called on the government of Maldives to investigate the recent mysterious death of an opposition activist, Hussein Salah.
"The EU believes that there needs to be a proper investigation into recent events, including Mr. Salah’s death some weeks ago and that the use of force cannot solve political problems.
" At the same time, tragic though Mr. Salah’s death is, political leaders in Maldives need to raise their sights above these events and focus on how to revive the talks aimed at introducing democracy."
EU Head of Missions in Sri Lanka have been asked to make the demarche and to report back to the Council and their Capitals about the situation and the progress, the statement said.
The EU also approved a 4 million euro aid package on top of an earlier 19 million euro grant and 50 million euro soft loan.
The EU is Maldives' largest trading partner, purchasing fishery products and being the largest source of tourists the archipelago.
The country has the highest per capita income in South Asia, the lowest inflation and highest economic growth but opposition has been growing against President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who has ruled the islands for nearly three decades.
The opposition Maldives Democratic Party, many of whose activists have been imprisoned or exiled, has been leading the protests.
The death of Salah sparked protests in Male and his native Addu Atoll.
‘Maldives being the third largest trading partner of Sri Lanka amongst the SAARC Countries accounting for US$ 45.85 Million, had a longstanding need to establish a strong link between Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives, to further strengthen its Bilateral trade ties. The request of Ms. Manel De Silva, Director General of the Department of Commerce to the CCC to form the Sri Lanka – Maldives Bilateral Business Council was timely since CCC too had identified Maldives as a potential market and our members too felt that they need a formal linkage to emerge into this market.
Prema Cooray, Secretary General/CEO, CCC saud that they are happy that this originated as a recommendation of the Sri Lanka – Maldives Joint Commission held last year and felt privileged to have honour in forming the Council.
Tourism is the largest industry in the Maldives followed by the fisheries sector. Manufacturing of garments, boat building and handicrafts too play a vital role in the Maldivian economy..
With regard to trade between Sri Lanka and the Maldives, the balance of trade has been in favour of Sri Lanka during the period 1996 – 2004. This could be attributed to the diversity of Sri Lanka’s exports to Maldives. This trend changed drastically in 2005, plunging down by 58 percent. However, it picked up again in 2006 with Rs. 3,053 Million exports and Rs. 2,444 Million imports.
The main exports to Maldives are textiles & clothing, fruits and vegetables, jewellery, ceramic products and tea. Imports mainly comprised Maldive Fish, Cement Clinkers, Yellow Fin Tuna, Flour, Meals & Pellets of Fish and Frozen Fish. Although Tourism is not considered in arriving at the export figures, Sri Lanka’s presence in this export service is very significant with two large conglomerates in Sri Lanka ( John Keells & Aitken Spence) accounting for almost 10 percent of the hotel room in the Maldives.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, coconut and rubber products, vegetable fats, miscellaneous edible preparations, plastic products have been identified as potential export items with rice being the latest addition to the list. Skilled workers to Maldives is another area which Sri Lanka could explore.
‘The CCC considers this launch as a landmark event since it is coinciding with the visit of . Mohammed Jaleel, Minister of Economic Development and Trade of the Republic of Maldives who will grace this occasion and address the gathering. This launch will be under the chairmanship of Mahen Dayananda, Chairman CCC.Source: Asian Tribune
Two hundred of the World’s best surfers have arrived in the Maldives for the ASP 5 Star Prime Rated SriLankan Airlines Pro. Warming up is an understatement here today in waters around 28 degrees and with perfect 1.5m surf reeling off the amazing Pasta Point where the event is based.
The action today was extremely hot with surfers like Dane Reynolds (USA), Nathan Hedge (Aus), Simao Romao (Bra) and many pushing their surfing to the limits as they familiarized themselves to the wave. Hedge, fresh off a big win in Scotland is clearly focused on this event having arrived 5 days ago to fully prepare.
“ It was great to win in Scotland but that’s in the past, I’m here to win this event now – It’s a great place and the waves are super fun and I’m ready to go!” Go will be tomorrow with swells pumping through the Indian Ocean and an awesome forecast of surf ahead. Stand by for an explosive start to the Maldives presents SriLankan Airlines Pro tomorrow Sunday 3rd of June.
Watch it online via the link at www.aspworldtour.com The Maldives presents SriLankan Airlines Pro is made possible by SriLankan Airlines, Maldives Tourism, Dhonveli Beach & Spa Resort, Dhiraggu Internet and Atoll Travel
Source: Global Surf News