Fostering Rural Tourism Development in the Maldives

DAY 02

17 Nov 2020 | 01:00 PM

Picture of Ms. Shiuna Khalid

Ms. Shiuna Khalid

Managing Director
International Maldives Travel Market (IMTM)

Opening by Ms. Shiuna Khalid

Shiuna Khalid is a marketing professional who works with businesses to identify creative marketing strategies and techniques to attract customers and retain them by crafting compelling brand perception.

Shiuna believes that as a creative marketer she can change the way the world moves with her skills by being a good listener, build and leverage business networks, be realistic, be a good communicator and stay up-to-date on latest trends, fashions, and changes in the taste of people.

Shiuna has over 13 years of experience and landed on her first job at the age of 17 from the Bank of Maldives. From then on she has strived up to become a Marketing Strategist and an Entrepreneur herself, co-owning a marketing firm in the Maldives.

Shiuna has completed Master of Science in Management from the University Of Bristol, UK and achieved Bachelor of Business in Marketing and Management (Double Major) from Edith Cowan University, Australia.

Picture of Mr. Xu Jing

Mr. Xu Jing

Former Regional Director
Asia of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

Setting the scene by the Moderator Mr. Xu Jing

Xu Jing is an expert on Asia tourism and a former regional director for Asia of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) where he worked almost thirty years since 1992.
Xu Jing began his career in tourism at the China National Tourism Administration where he was in charge of international relations.


He joined the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in 1992, serving as Officer to the Regional Representation for Asia and the Pacific and as Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific of UNWTO from Dec 2003 to Jan 2020. In addition to his regional responsibilities, he had worked as UNWTO’s Executive Secretary of the General Assembly and the Executive Council from Jan 2014 to Dec 2017.


Over the years, his areas of responsibilities included the preparation and the organisation of most UNWTO’s technical and institutional activities in Asia and the Pacific. He coordinated and supervised numerous UNWTO technical cooperation projects and sectorial support missions on subjects of contemporary interest to the tourism community of Asian countries.


Xu Jing holds a Master Degree in Tourism Management from the University of Surrey, UK and also honorary academic positions in the various universities in the region.


Xu Jing was instrumental in setting up a regional tourism research platform for UNWTO, i.e. the UNWTO/PATA Forum on Tourism Trends and Outlook which is an annual research event held in Guilin since 2007. Xu Jing coordinated and supervised a wide range of UNWTO technical studies and publications at the Asia-Pacific level.

Picture of  Mr.  Abdulla Ghiyas

Mr. Abdulla Ghiyas

Chair of Maldives PATA Chapter

Presentation on Community Tourism Development by Mr. Abdulla Ghiyas

Abdulla Ghiyas is PATA Face of the Future 2018 and Chair of PATA Maldives Chapter. He is the former President of the Maldives Association of Travel Agents & Tour Operators (MATATO), which he led over the past four years. In this capacity, he has helped the independent non-profit organisation with activities that include advocacy, training, recognition, familiarization trips, international trade shows, destination marketing, government lobbying, and whistle-blowing. He is also the Deputy of the Consulate of the Republic of Seychelles to the Maldives. Abdulla is a serial entrepreneur in leading travel and start-up businesses; such as Inner Maldives Holidays, Ace Travels Maldives, Spence Maldives, Universal Aviation Maldives, and Margaritum.

Picture of Tan Sri Dr. Ong

Tan Sri Dr. Ong

Former Secretary General
Ministry of Tourism and Culture

Presentation by Tan Sri Dr. Ong on Malaysia’s Homestay Initiative

Dr. Ong is a consultant and was involved in a number of projects such as International Rural Tourism Development Study by UNWTO; Tourism Planning and Development Study of Ziyuan County by Guilin Municipal Culture, Communications and Tourism Bureau; National Tourism Policy Study 2020 – 2050 by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Malaysia; and Pangkor Island Strategic Plan by Northern Corridor Implementation Authority, Malaysia.


Prior to his retirement from civil service, Dr. Ong served as the Secretary General, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia for eight years. He also served as the Chairman of UNWTO Regional Commission for East Asia and the Pacific (2011-2013) and Head of National Tourism Organisation (NTO), Malaysia (2008 -2016). As Head of NTO, Dr. Ong contributed towards the formulation of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2011-2015, ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2016 – 2025 and ASEAN Socio-cultural Community Blueprint 2025.


He holds a Masters in Economics from Hiroshima University, Japan and Ph.D. in Economics from Michigan State University, USA.


Picture of  Mr. Sameeu Imad

Mr. Sameeu Imad

Vice President
Guesthouse Association of Maldives

Presentation on Guesthouse Industry of the Maldives by Mr. Sameeu Imad

Guesthouse Association of Maldives (GAM) is a non-profitable NGO established in 2014, registered at Ministry of Youth & Sports. We are representing and working as a Parental body of Local Tourism Sector. The association has evolved over the years to be the leading NGO in the industry and is the only voice of the Local Island based tourism. GAM Coordinates with the government policy making bodies in providing the utmost assistance to develop and sustain the Local Tourism Sector which benefits the government and the local community of the Maldives. The association cooperates with all the guest houses of the Maldives, conducts research-based works, raising awareness and as well as promoting the local tourism sector.

Picture of Mr. Damcho Rinzin

Mr. Damcho Rinzin

Head, Tourism Promotion Division
Tourism Council of Bhutan

Presentation by Mr. Damcho on Happiness through Tourism for local communities

Damcho Rinzin studied Bachelor of Applied Management in Hospitality and Tourism from the University of New Brunswick, Canada and started his career with the then Department of Tourism, Ministry of Trade and Industry as a researcher and marketing officer. During his career as a researcher, he was involved in developing one of the first community-based tourism projects in Bhutan. And later he took the lead role in researching and developing another community-based tourism project in remote communities of Merak & Sakten. These two communities were later opened for tourism.  


With double master’s degree from Australia in international tourism and business, he is happy to be playing a key role in marketing and promoting Bhutan. His currently heads the Tourism Promotion Division (Then Marketing and Promotion Division) of Tourism Council of Bhutan and the Division is responsible to market and promote Bhutan to visitors.  Damcho enjoys working closely with the international media, international and local tourism members, and public relations agencies to market Bhutan. Though it is also his responsibility, he takes keen interest in developing and promoting the unique ‘Brand Bhutan’, which he believes is key in promoting the high-end tourism policy of Bhutan.


Damcho is an aspiring tourism professional, dedicated to contribute in strengthening the tourism sector in Bhutan in his own little ways. And he is happy to be given the opportunity to take part in every aspect of tourism development in Bhutan.

Picture of Ms. Jiang Jiawei

Ms. Jiang Jiawei

Assistant Director
Monitoring Centre of UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Observatories (MCSTO)

Presentation by Ms. Jiang on China’s case on rural tourism development, poverty reduction and rural guesthouses

JIANG Jiawei (1986-), Assistant Director, of Monitoring Centre of UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Observatories (MCSTO).


Jiawei obtained her Bachelor Degree in Tourism Management from the University of Salamanca, Spain. While studying master degree at the University of Rey Juan Carlos, she worked at the Tourism Information Center of Madrid. After graduation, Jiawei worked as Collaborator for the Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in the Headquarters in Madrid, Spain.

Since October 2012, she has been working for the Monitoring Centre of UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Observatories, managing 9 UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Observatories in China and being in charge of daily operation of MCSTO.


Jiawei speaks fluent Chinese Mandarin, English and Spanish.

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