Abdul Latheef, the managing director of Trav Maldives, talks about what got him into the travel industry and what keeps him in it
Q: What attracted you to the travel industry?
Although I’ve always loved traveling, I initially worked as a banker for several years with little opportunity for travel. This led me to searching for better opportunities, and I first entered the tourism industry as a consultant. This paved the way for my own establishment in the industry in a relatively short time. The economic benefits of working in the industry and easier entrance with little investment were the main factors that attracted me.
Q: What’s a typical day at work like for you?
I wake up at 5:30am, pray and then exercise for about half an hour. I then rest for bit and have breakfast before heading to the office around 9am. My work-day starts with a brief meeting with key staff on day-to-day activities, resolving any issues, and paving the way for a smoother day for all our staff. A great deal of my time goes to meetings with clients, marketing activities, contacting potential clients and hotels.
Q: How does the rest of the company operate?
Here at ‘Team Trav’, all of our staff are treated equally and love working here. The inbound departments that focus on the various markets are some of the most important. These staff members are specialised for certain markets and ensure that clients are dealt with in the most professional manner. Service quality, timely responses, and customer friendliness are core values of the company.
Q: What’s new for your organization?
We started with European and Chinese markets, serving only a few clients at first, before growing. Since then we have been expanding and looking for new markets
and new clients. Our newest interests are the Middle-Eastern and Indian markets, and we are very excited to explore the opportunities in these afford. We’re also always looking for ways to boost our airline bookings, cruises, safaris and outbound travel.
Q: How important are travel agents to your business?
Travel agents are our contact point for clients and we regard them as our most valuable partners in the industry and we intend to grow together.
Q: What are your major objectives?
Our top priority is continuous improvement in customer services, retaining customers, and delivering unique services while maintaining high quality. It’s vitally
important to us to create the most customer-friendly environment we can.
Q: What kind of vacations do you enjoy personally?
I love fishing, snorkeling and diving. Swimming in the warm waters of the Maldives refreshes me after several months of work-related travels and long office hours. I also enjoy sightseeing and shopping in countries like Singapore and Malaysia.
Q: What advice would you give anyone wanting to get into the travel industry?
The greatest thing about the travel industry is the dynamics of it, and where the diversity of career paths within the tourism and hospitality industries is so great that you can basically work in any type of environment at any given time. In addition, the tourism industry involves innovations where opportunities are endless; new hotels, concepts, services, travel modes and opportunities for entertaining are surfacing almost every day.