Thoyyib Mohamed, the CEO and Managing Director of The Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) or Visit Maldives, played a prominent role in the Maldives tourism scene, and his departure from this position marks the end of a remarkable era characterised by resilience and remarkable growth in the Maldivian tourism industry. His departure from MMPRC on 16th November symbolises more than statistics and awards; it’s a legacy of vision, dedication, and teamwork, with the Maldives persevering and growing more robust and appealing during his tenure.
Thoyyib has over two decades of extensive experience in management, strategic planning, marketing, and international networking, emphasising fostering creativity for executive managers. Being appointed to his current portfolio by the H.E. President of Maldives in 2018, he played an instrumental role in navigating MMPRC to market the destination through the pandemic. Under his leadership at MMPRC, Maldives achieved the highest tourist arrival figure in Maldives’ history. Maldives won the position of the World’s Leading Destination for two consecutive years amidst the pandemic. A Bournemouth University graduate with a Master of Arts in Broadcast and Film Management, his career began in the broadcast field. Later, he held various high-profile positions in the government, such as the Chairman of MMPRC and the Minister of State for Tourism, Arts and Culture.
At the opening of TTM Maldives 2023, Thoyyib retraced the Maldivian tourism industry’s remarkable journey over the past five years. Before the global pandemic struck, the Maldives had consistently grown, marking a significant 1.7 million tourist arrivals in 2019. The pandemic presented unforeseen challenges; however, by 31st July of 2023, the Maldives displayed a resilient comeback, hosting 1 million visitors. Key to this turnaround has been the strategic efforts by Visit Maldives. Their active participation in international forums, road shows, and campaigns re-emphasised the Maldives as a premier global destination. Collaborations with international entities, strategic digital marketing, and partnerships with travel influencers were among the numerous efforts to achieve this feat.
Suresh Dissanayake, Assistant Vice President – Sales and Marketing at Adaaran Resorts Maldives, commented, “During the pandemic, as global tourism came to a standstill due to lockdowns, we witnessed the resilience of the Maldives’ tourism industry under the strong leadership of MMPRC. Their strategic focus on digital marketing, the hiring of top-notch consultants, participation in their first North America roadshow, and their dominance of Google search rankings were pivotal. Thoyyib’s leadership paved the way, firmly establishing the Maldives as a thriving and robust destination.”
“I’d say that when the whole world shut down and operations in the travel industry became extremely challenging, the Maldives took a firm stand and was among the first countries to open its borders. Clearly, it called for strategic thinking and careful execution from top to bottom. Having said that, our industry kept thriving, setting an example for the rest of the world because leaders like Thoyyib, the MD of MMPRC, coordinated well with industry professionals, and together, they ran the show,” said Ahmed Shaheen, Director of Sales and Marketing at Crown and Champa Resorts.
Under Thoyyib’s leadership, the Maldives’ dedication was globally recognised when the World Travel Awards crowned the Maldives as the world’s leading destination in 2020, 2021 and 2022 consecutively. In the same breath, the MMPRC, the umbrella body overseeing the Maldivian tourism promotion, clinched the title of the world’s leading tourist board in 2022. One event, in particular, underscored the innovative approach adopted by Visit Maldives: The Visit Maldives Storytellers Conference 2023. This event provided a platform for content creators and travel enthusiasts and resonated deeply in the digital realm, reaching an impressive 110 million individuals on social media. The subsequent campaign engaged 307 million individuals globally.
Speaking about his journey, Thoyyib expressed, “My journey with MMPRC has been incredible. The past 5 years have been nothing short of transformative. I prioritised aligning the company with strong corporate governance principles emphasising transparency and accountability. I initiated pivotal structural changes and introduced SOPs to streamline our organisation and enhance operational efficiency, ensuring that our actions align with the fundamental elements of corporate governance. These profound changes were made possible through the unwavering support of the Government and the local and global tourism industry. I take great pride in the extraordinary platform we’ve built. I’m also immensely proud of my team’s efforts in reshaping the image of MMPRC, dispelling long-held fallacies about the company through transparency and sheer hard work. It is through our collective effort that the Maldives has earned endless awards and accolades over these five years. While challenges lie ahead, I do not doubt that MMPRC can and will overcome them. The future of MMPRC is exceptionally bright, and as I pass on the torch, I am happy with our achievements and confident that our legacy will continue.”