1.       Tell us about your debut into the tourism industry? How did it all start?

I was looking for a job right after finishing school. When I saw the job ad on the newspaper, I applied for it. Unlike nowadays it was the newspaper back then.

2.       Your journey started as a housekeeping trainee in 1999. Today, almost 20 years later you are managing a property. What was your journey like?

It was a new field for me and there was a lot to learn at every step. It’s been a journey full of excitement meeting people from various parts of the world.

3.       At the properties you previously worked at, you served in the housekeeping department. What made you go into Housekeeping?

I was young and in search of a job when I got my first opportunity into Housekeeping.  As I worked, I realized that it is something I am good at and enjoy. So, I continued to work my way up in the field.

4.       Tell us a bit about Fushifaru Maldives, and how you ended up here.

I heard about the project from the owners and initiated to take up the challenge and here we are now.

Ahmed Siaar, General Manager at Fushifaru Maldives -- Sun Photo/ Fayaz Moosa

5.       What does the logo of Fushifaru Maldives represent?

The name Fushifaru has two parts. "Fushi" means "land" and "faru" means "reef”. It represents the essence of our island whose historical name was kept for its significance. Our logo is a representation of our name, Fushifaru, with the two elements that are a reflection of one another. Our offerings also share a similar duality.

6.       What are your main responsibilities as General Manager?

Drive the business and empower staff. Lead a team of enthusiastic and skillful members. Ensure safety and security of all staff and guests on the island.

7.       How big is your team at Fushifaru Maldives, and how is it like to lead your team?

We have more than 150 staff employed out of which majority are Maldivians. We have about 11 nationalities working with us. It’s an exciting challenge to live and work with people from different backgrounds on a secluded island. We’ve encouraged a family-like environment among the Residents.

8.       How much locals do you have in your team? And what qualities do you look for when recruiting staff?

Majority of our staff are locals. When recruiting we look more for the can-do positive attitude rather than assessing them completely based on their experience and qualifications. Experience and skills can be instilled but the right attitude is important.


9.       Working in a resort property in the Maldives requires staff to stay away from home for a long time, and they would need a lot of motivation to be productive. What are the things you do at Fushifaru Maldives to keep your team members jolly and enthusiastic?

At our property we encourage the Residents to use social media to promote themselves as individual personalities. We encourage them to create their own stories and share it with the world in addition to being a part of the Fushifaru family. I am a strong believer that travel is great for both personal growth and recuperation, so when they take leave, I encourage the Residents to travel. We have a program that gives team members opportunities to travel locally and internationally so they can enjoy their vacation relaxing and exploring instead of working.

10.   Would you say, managing a resort property is a challenge? Why?

Every business has challenges, not just a resort property. As a resort it is a challenge to stand out as every resort is following the one island, one resort concept. Every year there are multiple resorts opening. It’s a challenge to stand out from the rest. But as much as promoting ourselves separately it is important for us to come together to promote ourselves as a destination.

It is also quite challenging to find locals when trying to recruit.

11.   How important is being sustainable and environment-friendly at Fushifaru? What are some of the things done at your property to be environmentally sustainable?

Implementing environmentally friendly practices is becoming more and more essential for success in today’s hotel business. Sustainability has become increasingly important as an evaluation criterion for holiday makers. We strongly believe that the guests consider a company’s impact on the environment when making purchase decisions and are more likely to choose those that follow sustainable practices. 

In addition to doing what’s right for the environment, we also find that initiating suitable practices gain three-fold benefits: environmental, social and economic.

Examples of environmental initiatives include use of recyclable items such as bamboo straws and glass bottles for beverage instead of plastic bottles to name a few to reduce carbon footprint. We are also proactively engaging in marine conservation program/coral replantation program led by Marine Biologist and the Best Dives team at Fushifaru.

Ahmed Siaar, General Manager at Fushifaru Maldives -- Sun Photo/ Fayaz Moosa

12.   Fushifaru Maldives recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. In the past year, what was the property’s biggest achievement?

Our biggest achievement would be the exposure we have gotten in such a short time. In less than one year we have had more than 100 guest repeaters and 99% positive reviews on all online platforms. We take great pride in the fact that all our guests have highlighted the homely and intimate service provided by our Residents.


13.   What sort of feedback do you receive about the property from your guests?

Guests generally comment on the friendliness and warmth of our team members as well as the natural beauty and the coziness of the resort, being a small boutique island. They also love our private sandbank where they experience unforgettable picnics, dinners and castaway overnight experiences. We also often receive some great comments about the wildlife – whether it is the turtles or manta rays in our house reef.


14.   Throughout your journey in the industry, have you had a mentor or a figure you look up to?

Ibrahim Mohamed Didi (Simdi) is a person I look up to. It was a wonderful opportunity to work with him.  Mr Mukhtar Hassan, MD of Fushifaru is one I fondly admire as well. He is a very strategic, open minded and down to earth leader. Always up to help and give advice whenever asked.


15.   What is your vision for Fushifaru Maldives for the next two years?

Our goal is to continue to remain a guest favorite island which they want to come back to again and again. We take pride in the authentic Maldivian experience we give to guests from which they feel Fushifaru to be their home away from home.


16.   If not the hospitality and tourism industry, what other career option might you have considered?

If not in this industry I would have been a fisherman. My father is a fisherman and we come from a fisherman’s family.

17.   What advice would you give to aspiring hoteliers and youngsters in this field?

I would like to give some advice to the parents and guardians of the hoteliers and youngsters in this field and of the ones that are aspiring to work in this field.”

Parents and guardians need to encourage to build a career-oriented generation. The right education and guidance will help the new generation to choose the career path that will drive them towards success as well as self-fulfillment. Parents have the responsibility to guide, mold and aspire the younger gen to take on challenges in the hospitality industry.

A positive attitude and discipline are the foundation that is necessary to survive in this industry and this can only be given by parents and guardians at a young age.

Governing bodies need to have a long-term plan on how they can build and improve the hospitality and tourism education centers and skill-based learning facilities for the local community. We need to involve the community more so that we can all develop as whole.