Meet Mohamed Waheed – Resort Manager at Equator Village Maldives
Mohamed Waheed started his foray into the tourism industry in 1986 as a trainee receptionist at Villingili Beach Resort. At the time, not only was Waheed a young man, but the tourism industry was still in its infancy. After a brief stint working as a teacher, Waheed joined the budding industry, recognizing the enormous potential to grow in tourism. Today, after 36 years in the industry, he is the Resort Manager at Equator Village Maldives in Addu, and one of the few local resort managers in the country.
Waheed recalls fondly the early years in tourism. “Back then, there were no computerized systems where everything was done automatically for you,” he says. He recalls working the night shift as a receptionist and memorizing the information sheets given out to guests so he could answer queries. He also learnt how to navigate complicated reservation charts and make reservations. It was this willingness to learn and acquire new skills that allowed him to work his way up to the spot of assistant resort manager within a few years.
After working 11 years at Villingili Beach Resort and other Resorts, Waheed made his way to Ziyaaraifushi Tourist Resort. When Kaimoo Travels and Hotels Services took over the resort and rebranded it to Summer Island Maldives, Waheed chose to stay on under the new management. He flourished and ended up in the role of Assistant Resort Manager. Waheed remembers getting a call from Kaimoo Managing Director Mohamed Manih Ahmed, asking him to work as Resort Manager at Kaimoo’s Equator Village Maldives in Addu. He immediately accepted.
For Waheed, his new position meant a lot more than just a promotion. This was his opportunity to return and work in his home atoll of Addu. Having left for Male’ aged 24, this was his opportunity to return and give back to his community.
“I was born in the diving center’s front office. It used to be the operating theater of the hospital operated by the British,” says Waheed, reflecting on being able to work in a place that is deeply connected to his own and the country’s history. “The Blue Lagoon Conference Center was a warehouse when I joined Equator Village. It gives me great joy that we have been able to repurpose it as gathering space for Adduans”
A work day for Waheed usually starts with him inspecting the bar, restaurants and other spaces early in the morning after which he conducts a briefing with the staff. The rest of the day is spent between making managerial decisions and ensuring his guests are getting the best of Maldivian hospitality. “I like to have a personal touch with my guests. I try to greet them when they arrive, check on them throughout their visit and bid farewell too. That is my favorite part about this job,” says Waheed.
In addition to his managerial work, Waheed is an avid photographer, history-enthusiast and advocate for social change. He frequently fits into his busy schedule visits to the local schools where he inspires the next generation of tourism workers. “This industry is one that rewards those who work hard and with passion. If you want to welcome foreigners and show them this beautiful land and oceans, then you will move ahead.”