Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Ahmed Mahloof; Special Advisor on Social Policy Dr Mustafa Luthfee, Area Director - Human Resources for Singapore, Malaysia, and Maldives of Marriott International, Ms Emma Jonas; senior officials of Marriot International and General Managers of Marriot resorts in the Maldives; distinguished guests; and my dear apprentices;
And a very good afternoon to you all.
I am very pleased to join you today for this, the inauguration of the Marriot International Maldives Apprenticeship Program as part of the administration's National Apprenticeship Program (NAP). And I am very happy to welcome the senior officials of Marriot International, who are joining us today for this auspicious occasion.
As you may already know, the administration of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is committed to the development of youth. To provide them with the higher education and training opportunities that are much needed. To build a resilient and robust workforce prepared for the ever-changing world. We all know that the world is changing and it is very uncertain. We never know what is going to happen tomorrow. There is no alarm for us to get ready for anything. And I would like to advice, especially all apprentices, that we need to work harder, we need to learn, and we need to have a talent which is very, very important. And be prepared to take over the country tomorrow.
We have prioritised the needs based on all these things. The government has done national training needs, national requirements. There are so many projects apart from the tourism in the Maldives. And as you may know, we have more than a 160 resorts itself where we need local talent. So for this, the government has started different programmes and today we are starting with the Marriott International, is one of the programmes to train and upskill the local people, local youth.
We all know that the progress of a country depends on its people. Its youth, its talent. If you look at the developed countries around the world, and most neighbouring countries like Singapore as an example, we see that they have invested heavily on the human resource development back 50 years, 60 years ago. So the administration is also focusing specially by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, heavily investing on higher education, training and building a workforce like this.
This programme we have started with public and private partners. We aim to provide as I mentioned, comprehensive training opportunities centred on- and off-the job training to our youth. The programme is crucial to our efforts to equip our youth with the skills and knowledge that I have mentioned earlier. And today my advice to all those taking part in this programme is that, I have joined the industry as a very young person back in 1992. And I have just told the general manager when I arrived, I remember the construction taking place in this resort as Full Moon Beach back in 1992.
And today the world has changed. There is competition among us. So we get the chance for the most talented person. So each of you, every one of you must try hard to achieve this. And everything is possible, everything is achievable, but if you have the charisma, if you have the courage to do this. I have told this and everybody on the stage is talking about the whole world changing due to many, many things. Climate and also the economy. Everything is changing. The pattern has changed. So to keep up with the rest of the world, to develop a nation, the biggest asset we have is our youth.
So my last advice to you is try hard. Use the opportunity you have got. Never lose it. You don’t get opportunities too many times. Once you get the opportunity, once you get the chance, please try to do your best. I am very much sure, you can be one of the person that I see in the front row here.
I also would like to thank Marriot International for your interest and enthusiasm in building a society that is prepared for tomorrow in the Maldives. And also a special thanks to the Minister of Youth, Sports, and Community Empowerment Mr Ahmed Mahloof for his interest and his team.
We all can do wonders. There is nothing we can achieve individually. That’s how the world is working today and the Maldives, remember we are an example to the whole world. We are the leading destination, for many years in a row. And remember one thing, the success behind is just the hospitality of our staff, of our people, the local hospitality. No matter what we do, no matter where we are, we should always try to maintain that. That is the biggest affect we have. Our smiles, our services, how we treat others. That is the success behind it.
That is why we have made more than 700,000 arrivals in four months which is in comparison a 20% increase to that of the last year. So that credit goes to all of you. All those who work in the resorts, all those who work in the related fields; from the airport to the resort. So I thank all the staff and the industry leaders also for their hard work to maintain this and then to developing this country.
Thank you very much. I wish all of you a great success and I would like to see when I arrive to the resort, one of you, or some of you sitting in the front row. All the best to you and have a good afternoon.