“Those who are unable to afford luxury resorts can opt for guesthouses if their budget is around $50.”
More guesthouses are opening across the Maldives, meeting demand from a rising budget inbound sector in this traditionally luxury destination. But owners are asking the government to promote this market at overseas trade shows.
“We desperately need more promotion,” Mohamed Karam, president of the Guesthouse Association of the Maldives, recently told TTG Asia.
Unlike resorts, guesthouses have limited resources to attend expos or do their own international marketing, confided Karam, who owns a 12-room guesthouse on Thoddoo Island. “We depend on online sales and can’t afford individual marketing at trade shows.”
He added: “Local councils on islands where guesthouses are located must promote each island, its properties and the benefit of a visit. These guesthouses bring huge benefits to the islanders.
“Unlike all-inclusive resorts, guesthouse islands engage local communities to provide facilities like restaurants, swimming pools, spas, shopping and sporting activities.”
The development of guesthouses, whose average room count ranges from five to 20, is aimed at helping local communities thrive, Karam said.
The Maldives have progressed from having just one guesthouse in 2010 to as many as 600 across 76 islands today, adding 7,000 beds. The number could rise to 700 guesthouses with 10,000 beds by the end of 2019.
Anusha Zubair, sales and marketing manager at the highly rated hotel Fushifaru Maldives, says the guesthouse segment provides a different dimension to the market.
“Now travellers have many options and those who are unable to afford luxury resorts can opt for guesthouses if their budget is around $50,” she said.