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Sun Siyam Iru Veli’s Erika Magora: Finding passion in marketing Maldives’ resorts

She has a law degree, but instead of finding passion in the field, she pursued her interest in people, networking, and travelling, and found her calling in marketing.

Erika Magora, the Cluster Assistant PR and Communications Manager at Sun Siyam Iru Veli and Vilu Reef, was not sure what she wanted to do after she graduated from law school. Born in the Philippines but raised in Malaysia, Erika tried different jobs in business development and sales, but none of them felt right. Then, one day, she saw an online vacancy for a marketing position at a luxury hotel in Malaysia.

“I just said to myself, ‘I’ll go for it and just try it out,'” she says. “And then I found out that’s really what my calling is. I love marketing in hospitality, especially in the luxury sector, because you can meet a lot of people, learn a lot from different individuals from all around the world, and get to travel around a lot as well.”


She also discovered that she had a knack for marketing, even though she had no formal training or background in it. She credits her success to her mentors, who taught her everything from the front end to the back end of marketing.

“I had a great manager, and I learned a lot from her,” she says. “She showed me how to do graphic design, manage social media, update the app, handle the website, manage media, conduct shoots, work with different crews from different parts of the world, and coordinate with the operations team for different events.”

Erika’s first few years in marketing were “really great and a lot of learning.” She enjoyed the variety and creativity of her work, as well as the opportunity to interact with guests and media from different countries and cultures.

After working in Malaysia for a few years, Erika was ready for a new challenge. She heard about an opportunity at Sun Siyam Iru Veli, a luxury resort in Maldives, from one of her ex-colleagues who had worked in the Maldives before.

“He was telling me how great the experience is and how it’s a very different market and environment,” she says. “So, I was very interested in it, and I told myself I’m going to try it out.”

Erika applied and got the job. She moved to Maldives in November 2023 and has been working at Iru Veli ever since. She says that the difference between working in Malaysia and Maldives is huge, both in terms of culture and market.

“The culture is very different. The work culture, diversity, lifestyle—everything is different. Living on the island here in the Maldives, obviously, I’m not able to get as much diversity in terms of food or experience as in Malaysia. But it’s still very interesting to me because I like the Maldivian culture. It’s very rich, and the food is similar in terms of curry and spice,” she says. “The biggest challenge for me is being away from family and friends, but I have also found ways to cope and enjoy my life on the island. I really like being in the water. I love the ocean and all these water activities. So being on an island doesn’t make me feel depressed or anything because it actually energises me to work,” she says.


Maldives caters to a niche and high-end clientele. It is more focused on luxury and exclusivity, and creating memorable experiences for the guests. For Erika, this means she has to be creative and innovative in her marketing strategies and tactics, and communicate effectively with the media and the guests. It also means learning and looking for new ways to make the resort stand out and attract more guests.

“So really, it’s not a nine-to-five job. It’s basically any time of the day I have to be working, so it’s pretty flexible in a sense, but it’s just diverse. It involves a lot of different types of work. So I can’t say every day is the same, which makes it more interesting. Actually, it’s more exciting. I really love that,” she says. “I have to make sure we maintain a good image and continually enhance the brand image. You know, everywhere I have to check the websites, the app, and review all the different publications that feature us to ensure everything’s in order. What they publish out there should all resonate with the brand.”


Just like most fields, hospitality is also still a very much male-dominated industry. Although there are few women, especially in the leadership positions, Erika is happy to see more women joining the industry and proving their capabilities.

“There is a push from our management to hire and train more women. It’s not something that they specifically say, ‘Oh, we focus on just hiring women,’ but it’s more about looking at talents. So, again, it’s not about women or just men. We look at individuals and consider the skills a person has. But for sure, there is a lot of potential with the women here right now,” she says.

She copes with this challenge by being sociable and flexible.

“Whether you’re a man or a woman, the characteristics will always depend on the individual. Not all men are bad, and not all men are good. So, for me, I just try to adapt to the individuals themselves. I work with them professionally, always being patient, understanding, and trying to grasp their perspective in terms of whatever we’re working on. And always maintaining professionalism,” she says.

Erika has a diverse background and works independently with her director in Spain. She loves hospitality and marketing and wants to grow in the industry and within the Sun Siyam Resorts group. For her, hospitality is exciting and rewarding, but also challenging. She advises aspiring hospitality professionals to be ready to meet and deal with different people, be kind, patient, and strong, trust their gut, and be open to learning and adapting.

“Don’t be afraid to try new things and explore different options. You never know what you might discover or where you might end up. Also, do your research, learn from others, and always keep improving yourself. Marketing is a very dynamic and competitive field, so you have to stay on top of your game and be adaptable,” she says. “You have to keep learning. Be open to learning. Be open to more ideas because this world, this industry is always evolving. It’s not always going to stay the same. So, you have to learn how to adapt to the trends, to the new generation, and what the people want because, at the end of the day, we’re serving. Hospitality is a service industry. We need to serve people and make sure what they want is being given to them. And just keep learning every day.”


For Erika, the unique combination of her Filipino origin and upbringing in Malaysia helps her adapt to different cultures and markets, and gives her an edge in creating stories and brands that resonate with guests and media. She loves the Maldivian culture and the ocean, and finds them energising for her work. She is passionate about her job and her field, and she wants to continue working in the luxury sector and grow with the company.

“I think that’s the beauty of hospitality and marketing. You can always find something new and exciting to do and learn,” she says.

Ali Naafiz
Ali Naafiz is a media and PR professional, an entrepreneur, and a journalist with a passion for science, media, and arts and technology. He co-founded Next Media Group, a media company that creates immersive and interactive content, and CIAO Advertising, an advertising agency that offers creative and innovative solutions. He is also the editor of Hotelier Maldives, a magazine for the hospitality industry, and the director of storytelling for Maldives Promotion House, a media and marketing company. He has worked for various media outlets in Maldives and Sri Lanka, and has been involved in editorial and communications projects for international organisations. He has a diploma in development journalism and a diploma in journalism, and has received several awards for his work.