Fathimath Maya is an inspiration for the younger generation. She is a 19-year-old currently working as a Front Desk Attendant at the Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort. She starting working there immediately after her O’Levels.
What was the reaction from your family after starting your career in the hospitality industry?
My parents are really supportive. They are extremely positive and happy. They were very proud of me for coming here and working with people whose age range is in between 28 to 30 years.
On the other hand, people outside my family give both positive and negative comments. The real issue is that people have a twisted mindset that a girl working in a resort is unacceptable and that she will be living in a wayward way. This is wrong. It doesn’t matter where you work as long as you are disciplined and can maintain a good reputation.
How has working at a luxury resort in Maldives affected your personality and your outlook on life?
I have always been interested in the hospitality industry but when I first joined here, I didn’t know anything about customer relations. I got training every day from the pre-opening to the actual opening of the resort. All staffs were very supportive and helped me throughout my training.
During the first days, I started working here I was very shy and talked very softly to people. I didn’t even really talk to anyone and didn’t even want to talk to anyone. Later, I realized that you have to talk to people and that working is easy when you become friendly with everyone.
I feel like that has changed now. Now, I have to talk to guests and deal with their complaints and their requests. As someone who works at the front desk, I am required to follow the grooming standards. It is also extremely important to be on time. Everything is scheduled for a certain time. For example, you should keep track of flight timings and guest departures. You should also take care of necessary requests from guests on time.
Why do you think young Maldivian girls are hesitant to join the hospitality industry?
The reason why many girls hesitate to join this industry is because of what people believe. They would criticize a lot. They would say that once we join a resort, we would go astray and hang out in gangs and such. We won’t live in the right way. There are also very strict parents who hesitate to send their daughters to resorts due to fear of what their island people would say even if they want to send them on jobs.
Where do you see yourself in this industry in the future? How ambitious are your goals?
There are women acting as GM’s in Maldivian resorts. It’s not impossible. First, you should take it step by step. When I first came here I didn’t know anything. Now I can handle my shift on my own. I currently want to be a Front Office Supervisor. That’s possible too. Anything is possible if you try. After that, I want to be a Front Office Manager.