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The Beginning of Maldives Tourism Industry – History of the First Resort, Kurumba Maldives

Aerial view of kurumba maldives
The Maldives tourism industry started with the first resort, Kurumba Maldives' opening in 1972. Here's a brief history of the resort.

There was a time a tourism industry did not exist in the Maldives. Back then, the Maldives was inhabited only by fisherfolk and remained unknown to the outside world. It all started with the first resort in the Maldives, Kurumba Maldives’ opening in 1972.

Beginning of the Maldives’ Tourism Industry

Tourism started with the passion and determination of Kurumba’s young Maldivian founders. The very beginning was a meeting in Colombo between George Corbin, an Italian travel agent, and Ahmed Naseem. Ahmed Naseem was then a junior with the Maldives Embassy who later became the Foreign Minister of Maldives. Corbin was looking for pristine islands where he could bring Italians to swim and hunt fish. On his first visit to the Maldives, it was love at first sight.

In February 1972, Corbin brought the first tourists to the Maldives. The first arrivals were mainly journalists and photographers. Likewise, the tourists were accommodated in three houses in Malé. Furthermore, they were looked after by Mohamed Umar Maniku (Now Universal Enterprises’ Chairman) and his friends, including Hussain Afeef, who is currently the successful owner/operator of several resorts in the Maldives.

Kurumba – The first resort in the Maldives

Corbin vowed to bring more tourists if Maniku, Naseem, and Afeef could find tourists somewhere to stay. Thus, Kurumba was born. Driven and inspired with enthusiasm Maniku and Afeef linked up with the leaseholder of Vihamanaafushi. Vihamanaafushi was within close proximity to the airstrip and the capital. Access to the island back then was only by sailing dhoni or open boat with an outboard motor.

Image: Kurumba Maldives

M U Maniku worked as an agriculture officer. After finishing his work each day at 1.30 pm, he spent his time developing Vihamanaafushi. And with financial help from Corbin and his own resources, Maniku and his young Maldivian friends built 30 rooms in blocks of three, using coral stone for walls, coconut timber, and palm thatch for roofs at the island. The rooms had a brackish water shower and toilet, basic furniture, and access to the beach. Meanwhile, meals were taken in a canteen or as barbecues on the beach.

The island was the first resort in the Maldives and came to be known as Kurumba Village. Meanwhile, Afeef became the manager of the resort. Kurumba Village opened on Tuesday 3 October 1972 and remained fully booked for the rest of the year. In its humble origins, Kurumba welcomed 60 guests a month.

Since then, Kurumba became a resort that welcomes 14,000 guests. The resort went from a handful of the founding friends to a staff of 450. In 2003, Kurumba underwent a complete transformation yet again. However, now meeting the demands of the 21st century. The result was a world-class resort with 180 rooms, including the Royal Residence, Presidential Suites, Pool Villas, Family Villas, and beach and garden superior rooms. Today the resort has matured into the Grand Hotel of the Maldives, setting the benchmark for hospitality in the region, and in the tropics at large.

This article is sourced from
Feature image by kurumba Maldives
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Siyam World Hosts Summer Football Camp With Spanish Goalkeeper Star Player José Manuel Pepe Reina Páez

Get ready to kick it up a notch as Siyam World Maldives gears up for an epic summer football camp. This camp is hosted by none other than Spanish football sensation, José Manuel “Pepe” Reina Páez. Guests can join in on the fun from June 23rd to 26th, 2024. Building on its tradition of hosting world-class football camps and following the success of its spring series featuring international legends and star players, this event promises to be a highlight of the summer.

Pepe Reina is set to bring his A-game to Siyam World for an unforgettable football experience. The trill can be experienced at its premier sports complex and full-size soccer pitch – The World Sports Arena. The three-day summer football camp in June runs from 16:30 – 18:00 hrs. This camp also offers participants the chance to receive personalized coaching from the star goalkeeper himself. Along with a series of skill-building drills, friendly matches, and fun football-related activities, this camp is designed to inspire and excite football enthusiasts of all ages. Dressed in their personalized Rascal training kits, young players aged from five to 12 will seize the perfect opportunity to refine all aspects of their game. This includes everything from tactics to technical skills. This unique experience promises to enhance their abilities and provide memories that will last a lifetime.

José Manuel “Pepe” Reina Páez is a Spanish professional footballer renowned for his exceptional skills as a goalkeeper. He is also known for his dedication to nurturing young talent. With a career spanning La Liga and beyond, Pepe Reina brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the game.

Our goal is to inspire our young guests to dream big. Seeing a legend or a star player in person can help these youngsters realize that making their dreams a reality is possible, says Ausy Waseem – Resort Manager at Siyam World.

Legendary Line-Ups at Siyam World

But that’s not all! Siyam World is no stranger to hosting football legends and star players. Earlier this year, the resort scored big with a legendary line-up featuring Wayne Bridge, Adrian San Miguel Castillo, Francesco Totti, and Michael Owen.  These stars led unforgettable spring football camps. Guests had the chance to hone their skills on our impressive sports complex and soccer pitch at The World Sports Arena. With this, guests were able to soak up world-class coaching and immersive experiences as well. 

Furthermore, Siyam World has also had the pleasure of hosting several other football legends and star players recently. This includes players such as EstebanCuchu” Cambiasso, Carlos Puyol, Marco Materazzi, and Robert Pirès. Joining them were players like Harvey Elliott, Kostas Tsimikas, Juan Sebastián Verón, Roberto Pires, Eric Abidal, Nicola Ventola, Bobo Vieri, and Jay Jay Okocha.

Now, it’s time to keep the momentum going with “Pepe Reina” leading the charge. Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train with one of football’s greatest. And now, you can do that at one of the most beautiful locations in the world!

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