Workforce localisation in the resort sector of the Maldives


workforce localisation
resort sector
human capital development
local employment

How to Cite

Workforce localisation in the resort sector of the Maldives. (2023). The Maldives National Journal of Research, 11(2), 40-64.


The resort sector of the Maldives has played a vital role in the development of the Maldives, influencing the economy, culture, environment, society, and governance. The resort sector is predominantly staffed by expatriates, with many workers employed. Therefore, achieving the proper equilibrium between local and expatriate forces with a priority on developing local employment opportunities is vital. Creating relevant and proactive policies and action plans to build human capital is essential. This study aims to evaluate the current challenges concerned with workforce localisation in the resort sector of the Maldives. This research adopts an exploratory case study approach with the target population being the managers and human resource managers of resorts in the Maldives. The sample population was selected using non-probability purposive sampling. Data was collected using semi-structured, open-ended interviews with twelve participants. The interviews were transcribed and coded, and themes were generated using content analysis. The overarching themes indicate the need for national-level strategies and collective effort from the industry, the regulatory authorities, and educational institutions. The key findings suggest conflicting opinions on striking a balance between expatriate and local workers. The challenge lies in attracting the required workforce from the local population, leading to a reliance on expatriates. The lack of local skills, experience and qualifications adds to the burden of local recruitment. However, findings indicate that areas and roles in the resort sector can be easily localised, thus benefiting the local population. Currently, the government and the resort sector facilitate local development by aiming to close the linguistic proficiency gap, internships, and graduate management programs. The research findings highlight the importance of creating job value, combatting misconceptions and stereotyping, cultivating a work-oriented mindset, and having an inclusive policy paving part-time employment for students. Furthermore, career counselling, real-world learning experiences and training facilities are integral to the success of workforce localisation in the Maldives.



Alanezi, A., 2012. Workforce Localisation Policies in Saudi Arabia: The Determinants of Successful Implementation in Multi-National Enterprises. London, Management, Knowledge and Learning International Conference.

Alanezi, A. N. (2014). Workforce localisation policies in multi-national enterprises: the determinants of successful implementation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (Doctoral dissertation) Brunel University London.

Al-Asfour, A. & Khan, S. A., 2014. Workforce localisation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: issues and challenges. Human Resource Development International, 17(2), 243-253.

Al-Asfour, A., Rajasekar, J., & Charkasova, A. (2022). Challenges to the workforce localization in the private sector in Gulf countries: content analysis. Asian Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, 16(2), 148-164.

Al Harrasi, N., & Al Balushi, B. (2020). Replacing expatriates with local managers: An exploratory investigation into obstacles to localisation in Oman’s private sector. International Journal of Management (IJM), 11(10).

Alkathiri, N., Elbaz, A. M., Iqtidar, S. H. A. H., & Soliman, M. (2021). Predictors and outcomes of successful localisation in the aviation industry: the case of Oman. Advances in Hospitality and Tourism Research (AHTR), 9(2), 418-443.

AlWaqfi, M. and Forstenlechner, I. (2010), Stereotyping of citizens in an expatriatedominated labour market: Implications for workforce localisation policy, Employee Relations, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 364-381.

Asian Development Bank [ADB]. (2015). Maldives: Employment skills development project.

Avcıkurt, A. O., Kazak, E. Z., & Baloglu, A. Y. (2023). The role of human resource management strategies in reducing employee turnover in the Turkish tourism sector. African Journal of Emerging Issues, 5(7), 1-10.

Barua, S., n.d. SG Analytics. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 16 February 2018].

Boakye, G. O. (2022). Heritage Tourism Development: A Case Study of Cape Coast Castle and Bonwire Town–Ghana.

Bose, I., & Dey, S. (2018). A critical discourse on the workforce localisation in the globalised era: some reflections. Journal of Management and Public Policy, 10(1), 17-24.

Brohman, J., 1996. New directions in tourism for third world development. Annals of Tourism Research, 23(1), 48-70.

Cantoni, L., & Kalbaska, N. (2010, March). The waiter game: structure and development of an hospitality training game. In 2010 Second International Conference on Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (pp. 83-86). IEEE.

Carlisle, S., Ivanov, S., Dijkmans, C., & Marco-Lajara, B. M. L. (2022). Environmental skills gaps in tourism and hospitality organisations: Evidence from Europe. Tourism: An International Interdisciplinary Journal, 70(3), 411- 431.

Chen, A. S. Y., Nguyen, T. K., Yang, H. W., & Lin, Y. H. (2023). The effect of job

autonomy on the indirect relationships among expatriates’ cultural intelligence,

psychological availability, and work outcomes. Current Psychology, 1-12.

Clark, K., & Lengnick-Hall, M. L. (2012). MNC practice transfer: Institutional theory, strategic opportunities and subsidiary HR configuration. The

International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(18), 3813-3837.

Daleure, G. (2019). ‘Holistic sustainability policies: Preserving local cultural identity in the UAE in the face of globalisation. Indian Journal of Public Administration, 65(3), 749-768.

Darwish, T. K., Al-Waqfi, M. A., Alanezi, A. N., Haak-Saheem, W., & Brewster, C. (2022). Bringing it all back home: the HRM role in workforce localisation in MNEs in Saudi Arabia. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 1-25.

Dopson, L. R., Lee, P. C., Lee, M. J., & Lara, A. (2022). Perceived importance of career engagement initiatives in hospitality education. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education, 34(4), 291-299.

Feihan, S., & Chongliang, Y. (2020). The development of ancient village cultural space as a sustainable tourism resource in China: a success story? the perspective of residents. International Journal of Management (IJM), 11(11).

Gebbels, M., Pantelidis, I. S., & Goss-Turner, S. (2019). Towards a personology of a hospitality professional. Hospitality & Society, 9(2), 215-236.

Goh, E., & Okumus, F. (2020). Avoiding the hospitality workforce bubble: Strategies to attract and retain generation Z talent in the hospitality workforce. Tourism Management Perspectives, 33, 100603.

Government of Maldives. (2019). Strategic action plan.

Hán, J., Petíek, M., & Chalupa, Š. (2020). Business process management approach in the hospitality industry. In Sustainable Hospitality Management: Designing Meaningful Encounters with Talent and Technology (pp. 145-158). Emerald Publishing Limited.

Harry, W., 2007. Employment creation and localisation: the crucial human resource issues for the GCC. International Journal of Human Resources, 18(1), 132-146.

IUM Holdings Pvt. Ltd. (2022). Learning centres.

Kernen, A. & Lam, K. N., 2014. Workforce Localisation among Chinese State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in Ghana. Journal of Contemporary China, 23(90), 1053-1072.

Konovalova, E. E., & Demenev, A. V. (2020). Innovative approach to improving business competencies and managerial skills in training personnel in the hospitality industry. Revista Turismo Estudos e Práticas-RTEP/UERN, 9(1), 1-9.

Labour Relations Authority [LRA]. (2016). Employment act.

Les Roches. (2023). About - Les Roches.

Lugosi, P., & Ndiuini, A. (2022). Migrant mobility and value creation in hospitality labour. Annals of Tourism Research, 95, 103429.

Lui, T. W., & Goel, L. (2022). Learning effectiveness of 3D virtual reality in hospitality training: a situated cognitive perspective. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, 13(3), 441-460.

Maldives Bureau of Statistics [MBS]. (2020). Employment in resorts 2020.

Maldives Financial Review [MFR]. (2021). Guesthouses can still make tourism growth more inclusive.

Maldives National Skills Development Authority [MNSDA]. (2021). Tourism Sector. Retrieved 20th September 2023 from sectors/Tourism

Maldives Qualifications Authority [MQA]. (2021). Guidelines for E-learning.

Mayrhofer, W., Gooderham, P. N., & Brewster, C. (2021). Context and HRM: theory, evidence, and proposals. In Comparative Human Resource Management

(pp. 15-31). Routledge.

Michael, N., & Fotiadis, A. K. (2022). Employee turnover: The hotel industry perspective. Journal of Tourism, Heritage & Services Marketing (JTHSM), 8(1), 38-47.

MI College. (2017). Branches. Branches

Miller, T., 2018. Local Government Employees Reveal What Makes for Job Satisfaction. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 12 February 2018].

Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, 2008. Human Resource Situation in the Tourism Sector of Maldives, Male’: Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.

Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture [MoTAC], 2013a. Fourth Tourism Master Plan 2013 – 2017 volume 1: strategic action plan, Male’: Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture [MoTAC], 2013b. Fourth Tourism Master Plan 2013 – 2017 volume 2: background and analysis, Male’: Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

Ministry of Tourism [MoT]. (2023a). Maldives tourism updates. https://www.

Ministry of Tourism [MoT]. (2023b). Maldives fifth tourism master plan 2023- 2017.

Ministry of Tourism [MoT], 2017. Tourism Yearbook 2017, Male’: Ministry of Tourism

Moufakkir, O., & OuakOuak, M. (2022, November). Antecedents and outcomes

of employee engagement in the hospitality sector: A non-western study. In

European Conference on Management Leadership and Governance (Vol. 18,

No. 1, pp. 570-577).

Mohsin, A., Brochado, A., & Rodrigues, H. (2023). Mind the gap: a critical

reflection on hotel employee turnover. International Journal of Contemporary

Hospitality Management, 35(7), 2481-2495.

Mourshed, M., Farrell, D. & Barton, D., 2013. Education to Employment: Designing a System that Works, Washington DC: McKinsey & Company.

Noordeen, M. (2009). Innovative practices in TVET towards education for sustainable development. In International Experts Meeting on Reorienting TVET Policy towards Education for Sustainable Development, Berlin, Germany. Retrieved from http://www. unevoc. unesco. org/up/Maldives_Country_Paper. pdf.

Ofosu, G., & Sarpong, D. (2022). China in Africa: On the competing perspectives of the value of Sino-Africa business relationships. Journal of Economic Issues, 56(1), 137-157.

Pitan, Oluyomi Susan, and Sulaiman Olusegun Atiku. “Structural determinants of students’ employability: Influence of career guidance activities.” South African Journal of Education 37, no. 4 (2017).

Pegram, J., Falcone, G., & Kolios, A. (2018). A review of job role localisation in the oil and gas industry. Energies, 11(10), 2779.

Public Service Media [PSM]. (2021). Junior colleges to be established by 2023.

Ragavan, N. A., Balasubramanian, K., & Francis, R. S. (2021). Rethinking the Learning Space to Build 21st Century Learning Skills: Bringing Simulation-Based Gamification to the Hospitality Higher Education. Asia-Pacific Journal of Innovation in Hospitality & Tourism, 10(2), 95-101.

RTL. (2023). MTCC customer portal.

Samarin, I. A., & Al-Asfour, A. A. (2023). National Human Resource Development in Transitioning Societies: The Case of Saudi Arabia. New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, 31-20 ,)1(35.

Sarker, A. E., & Rahman, M. H. (2020). Social engineering and emiratization in the United Arab Emirates. Public Administration and Policy, 186-173 ,)2(23.

Schmitt, A. (n.d.). The Right Leadership Mindset and competencies from EHL graduate school. Hospitality News & Business Insights by EHL.

Shakeela, A., & Cooper, C. (2009). Human resource issues in a small islandsetting the case of the Maldivian tourism industry. Tourism Recreation Research, 78-67 ,)1(34.

Shakeela, A., Ruhanen, L., & Breakey, N. (2011). The Local Gaze: Social Inhibitors to Engagement in the Maldivian Tourism Industry. Council

of Australian University Hospitality and Tourism Education.

Shayah, M. H., & Sun, Z. (2019). Employment in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries–Current Issues and Future Trends. In 2nd International Conference on Social Science, Public Health and Education (SSPHE 2018) (pp. 415-412). Atlantis Press.

Teeuwisse, V., & Brannon, D. W. (2020). A qualitative exploration of

sustainable talent management of hospitality interns› career intentions

based on their pre-, post-,and present practical placement experiences.

Sustainable hospitality management (Vol. 24, pp. 82-63). Emerald

Publishing Limited.

Temizkan, R., & Yabanci, O. (2020). Towards qualified human resources in the hospitality industry: A review of the hospitality management competencies. Ege Academic Review, 165-153 ,)3(20.

The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management [EAHM]. (2023). EAHM at a glance. About EAHM | EAHM. https://emiratesacademy.


The International Labour Organization [ILO]. (n.d). The ILO in the Maldives. The International Labour Organization. https://www.ilo.

org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/---ilo-colombo/ documents/publication/wcms_366559.pdf

The Maldives National University [MNU]. (2023a). Campus life.

The Maldives National University [MNU]. (2023b). Workforce MOU signed between MNU-FHTS and Fairmont Sirru Fen Fushi. Retrieved 20th September 2023 from between-mnu-fhts-and-fairmont-sirru-fen-fushi/

The President›s Office. (2021, August 25). President says national skills development master plan a cornerstone of administration›s commitment to human resource development.

Udani, Z. A. S., Cuervo, J. C. & Rayo, E. A. N., 2015. Critical Challenges of Human Resource Development in Macao. International Journal of Employment Studies, 80-57 ,)2(23.

van der Kley, D. (2020). Chinese companies› localisation in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Problems of Post-Communism, 250-241 ,)3(67.

Villa College. (2023). Campuses.

Visit Maldives. (2021). Mӧvenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives announces a collaborative partnership with the Faculty of Hospitality & Tourism Studies (FHTS), Maldives

National University. Retrieved 20th September 2023 from

Wang, C. J. (2019). Linking sustainable human resource management in hospitality: An empirical investigation of the integrated mediated moderation model. Sustainability, 1066 ,)4(11.

Waxin, M. F., & Bateman, R. (2016). Labour localisation and human resource management practices in the Gulf countries. Edwar Elgar.

Waxin, M. F., Kumra, S., & Zhao, F. (2020). Workforce localisation in the Arab Gulf countries: how do organisations socialise the members of a powerful minority? Sustainability, 5847 ,)14(12.

Waxin, M.-F., Lindsay, V., Belkhodja, O. & Zhao, F., (2018). Workforce Localisation in the UAE: Recruitment and Selection Challenges and Practices in Private and Public Organisations. The Journal of Developing Areas, 113-99 ,)4(52.

Younis, H., Elsharnouby, T., & Elbanna, S. (2023). Controversial debates about workforce nationalisation: Perspectives from the Qatari higher education industry. Human Resource Development International, 25-1.