Maldives tourism industry calls for more foreign workers as local workforce falls short

The Maldives Association of Tourism Industries (MATI) is proposing a significant increase in the number of foreign workers allowed in resorts, citing a looming shortage of Maldivian employees.

According to a study by People First HR Consultancy, the tourism industry will require an additional 78,087 employees by 2027, on top of the current 20,245. However, the estimated number of Maldivians entering the workforce during that period is only 18,658, with only 2,439 expected to join the tourism sector.

Given the current ratio of 55% foreign workers to 45% Maldivians, industry insiders claim it’s simply impossible to fill the projected job openings with local workers alone. This sentiment aligns with the reality observed in 2022, where statistics revealed that foreigners already comprised 70% of the resort workforce.

To address this gap, MATI proposes increasing the foreign worker quota in resorts to 70%. This aligns with the actual distribution of resort employees in 2022, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Statistics, where foreigners already comprised 70% of the workforce.

The proposal has sparked debate in the Maldives. Some industry stakeholders support the move, arguing that it’s necessary to maintain tourism growth and ensure resorts can operate efficiently. They point out that foreign workers often possess specialised skills and experience that are lacking in the local workforce.

However, others express concerns about the potential impact on Maldivian employment opportunities and the dilution of the local culture within resorts. They advocate for initiatives to attract more Maldivians to the tourism sector, such as improved training programs and more competitive wages and benefits.

The government has yet to announce its position on MATI’s proposal. It is likely to face a balancing act between addressing the industry’s needs and ensuring fair opportunities for Maldivians in the tourism sector. The debate is expected to continue in the coming months, with the future of the Maldivian tourism industry up in the discussion.