The coconut leave roofs, Maldivian night on every Saturday, sarong as a part of uniform, ropes made from coconut husk. In every Maldivian night, Maldivian cousins filled restaurants along with Zero degree atoll songs.
The Maldivians who implemented these concepts were excited. They felt connected. The guests who came to Maldives were excited too. All went well. Business was booming. Dollars flowing in.
Then I began to notice something.
That was 2015, when I asked guests about what made them to visit Maldives, the answers were: Relax, enjoy the sun, explore underwater etc.
To experience Maldivian culture? None, zero. The food? Zero. The sand? Yes
Then came 2016, 2017, 2018 same repeated.
In 2017 after Maldivian night bodu beru show I can see some guests felt weird about the show. This had nothing to do with the show itself but it was the result of the change in the mindset of the travelers. Surely the older couples do enjoy such shows but couples below 33 weren’t excited about it.
When it comes to food, we should remember that it takes years for people to get comfortable with a food. And people eat only what matches to the things they commonly eat. If you go to India and try the number one food in their area, you might not be able to swallow it. Or go to Japan and try the best sushi. The same goes to the people who travel here. They don’t feel comfortable in eating something they don’t know, or haven’t tried before or are not similar to anything they have eaten before.
The main ingredient of Maldivian food contains fish. Fish is something Europeans, Middle Eastern, Indians and Americans hardly eat. Fish also contain mercury. This is why travelers avoid fish most of the time.
When I asked guests about their Maldivian traditional meal, to them it feels like when you go to another island and they give you something, you eat but didn’t taste good while everyone else are excited and chewing and asking you if it taste good. Then you force yourself to say ‘yes’. This is the impression I get when I ask guests every time about Maldivian food. I’m excited, so not to ruin my excitement they just say it was all right.
The executives didn’t notice this till 2016, 17 or 18. Or if they noticed, they had delayed in executing it. Even today 2022, we hardly find a modern concept resort.