The Maldives Association of Tourism Industries (MATI) has proposed to increase the ratio of foreign employees in resorts to 70 percent, citing a study that says there are not enough locals available to work in resorts. The current mandated ratio is 55 percent foreigners to 45 percent Maldivians.

MATI issued a paper describing the problems in the tourism industry and its proposals, based on a study by People First HR consultancy. The study showed that starting 2023 to until 2027, resorts and the entire tourism industry will not have enough Maldivian employees.

The researchers forecasted that by 2027, the tourism industry will need 78,087 employees. This is in addition to the 20,245 employees employed in the tourism industry by 2022.

The estimated number of Maldivians entering the labor market, including all industries, during the study period was determined as 18,658. MATI is most concerned that only 2,439 employees are projected to join the tourism industry, the association said.

Based on People First HR’s findings, it will be impossible to maintain the current ratio going forward if there are no interventions to remedy the decline in the Maldivian workforce.

While MATI is therefore proposing to change the ratio, there are some resorts that have managed to maintain the ratio. According to the Bureau of Statistics figures, the number of employees working in resorts by 2022 was 52,482.

Around 36,885 employees currently working at the resorts are foreigners with the number of Maldivians at 15,597. These figures put the proportion of foreigners working in resorts at 70 percent.

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism Ibrahim Faisal recently, in a bid to increase Maldivians entering the tourism workforce, said the administration is committed to countering the decline, and highlighted scholarship opportunities and the introduction of a hotel school, with top tier international partnerships, as a possible solution.