Maldives Resort axes 90 jobs

Wednesday, 1 April 2009 08:29

A four-star resort has cut 50 per cent of its workforce as part of a cost-cutting exercise brought about by a dramatic drop in occupancy levels.

More than 90 employees have lost their jobs at Meedhupparu resort after management decided not to renew their contracts.

This month’s occupancy level was around 30 per cent while a further drop to 18 per cent was predicted for May, according to general manager Mohamed Mahdy.

“To cope with the financial crisis, we decided to cut 50 per cent of the operational costs,” he said. In addition, only half of the resort’s rooms would be opened up to guests.

All employees were given a month’s advance notice and a severance package along with the promise of future employment if the economic situation improves.

Mohamed Waseem, a waiter, said although the resort had given staff one month’s notice, they were concerned about not being paid for off days.

Another waiter, Abdul Hameed Ali, said he was “very worried” to be leaving his job after eight years of service.

The weakening global economy has adversely impacted the Maldives’ tourism industry resulting in a 14 per cent drop in tourist arrivals in February compared to the same time last year.

Mohamed Ibrahim (Sim), secretary general of the Maldives association of tourism industry (MATI), said the job cuts signaled the start of redundancies at a time of financial duress.

Describing the situation as an economic tsunami, he said more redundancies could be expected during May and June, the low season.

Sim added MATI had forewarned the government about the decline in tourist numbers but no precautionary measures were taken.

Employment minister Hassan Latheef said the global recession had negatively impacted all economies, even those of the developed world, including the UK, where millions have been left jobless. “There will be redundancies in the Maldives,” he said.

To help the unemployed find jobs, the ministry has established four job centres which provide both information on work available and career counselling.

Adaaran, which owns Meedhupparu resort, has a further four more luxury resorts in the Maldives, including Vadhoo, which was inaugurated by tourism minister Dr Ahmed Sawad on Saturday.


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