International Maldives Travel Market (IMTM) officially launched their Sustainable Tourism Forum (STF) 2022 on December 3, 2022.
The event ran for two days, from December 3 to 4, 2022 at Manhattan Business Hotel.
This forum unites stakeholders of tourism sector, and encourages them to engage in multi-sector dialogue on issues related to social, economic and environmental sustainability of Maldives tourism.
The opening ceremony was attended by a number of special invitees, and esteemed guests from the government as well as official partners of STF 2022. Additionally, local NGOs, associations, resorts, guesthouses, dive centers and students attended the opening as well.
Deputy Resident Representative at UNDP Maldives, Ms. Vera Hakim graced the event as the guest of honor. Moreover, Deputy Minister of Tourism Dr. Naushad Mohamed attended as a keynote speaker. Opening remarks were delivered by IMTM Managing Director Ms. Shiuna Khalid.
“The tourism industry is undoubtedly one of the biggest contributors to our economy. It makes up 20% of our GDP whilst many people’s income relies on it focusing on families’ livelihood and economic equality. The natural beauty of the islands and our local culture is what attracts so many tourists to our country. It is important to protect this industry and ensure that we are able to sustain it,” Ms. Khalid said.
Dr. Naushad Mohamed, who had been a keynote speaker at the opening ceremony highlighted the importance of sustainability and the ministry’s work towards ensuring sustainable practices.
“It is generally established that tourism is the largest and fastest growing sector in the world. This itself has become a bit of a concern. For this reason, the concept of sustainability has been coined as the way forward with the aim of reducing the negative effects of economic activities. Tourism must benefit local communities, preserve natural resources, and cultural values. As we celebrate 50 years of tourism in the Maldives, the government is keen to explore international best practices in sustainable tourism. Maldives is working very closely with international organizations such as UNDP,” Dr. Mohamed said.