Travel Experiences

Ahmed Zahir and Judy Ong, Exemplars of Dedication and Vision in Angsana Velavaru – Hotelier Maldives

Angsana Velavaru is thrilled to announce the promotions of two of its exemplars of dedication and vision.

In a remarkable testament to dedication, loyalty, and transformative leadership, Ahmed Zahir has ascended from humble beginnings to become the first local General Manager within the Banyan Group, Maldives.  His success story is inspirational for the young Maldivians who wish to soar high in the hospitality industry, especially in their own country, dubbed as the ‘sunny side of life’.

Mr. Ahmed Zahir Iov

His remarkable journey within the Banyan Group commenced in 1995 as a Laundry Supervisor at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru.  Zahir’s unwavering commitment became evident.  Over the years, he assumed pivotal roles including Housekeeping Supervisor, Assistant Housekeeper, Executive Assistant Housekeeper, and Executive Housekeeper, showcasing his versatility and dedication to every aspect of hotel management and operations.

In 2006, Zahir became the Front Office Manager at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, marking a significant step in his career.  In 2009, Zahir served as Rooms Division Manager at Angsana Velavaru.  His dedication, persistence, and leadership skills were further evident during the InOcean Villa Pre-Opening, and his role as the acting General Manager from 2012 to 2013.

In 2015, his journey continued with roles like Director of Rooms at Banyan Tree Bangkok, and then became the Executive Assistant Manager at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru from 2016 to 2021.  Zahir played a pivotal role in running the daily hotel operations, and assisting the General Manager on various projects.  

In 2020, Zahir assumed the role of Acting General Manager at Angsana Velavaru before being promoted to Hotel Manager in 2021.  His transformative leadership especially during challenging times set new standards for excellence – a journey that symbolises a commitment to the hospitality industry that culminated in his recent promotion from Hotel Manager to General Manager.  

His recent role as Hotel Manager showcased exceptional leadership and strategic vision, bringing about unprecedented achievements, including consecutive years of maximum bonuses and incentives.  His influence extends beyond financial success.  Under his leadership, Angsana Velavaru earned accolades, including the title of “Best Honeymoon Destination” by Travel Trade Maldives and TripAdvisor’s Readers’ Choice Award – both in 2023.  During his tenure, the resort achieved its historical highest associate Satisfaction Index (91.3%) with the lowest associate turnover, fostering a positive and motivated work environment.

Zahir expressed, “Guiding my team through challenges taught me the significance of clear communication, trust, and empowering diverse skills.  Leading through organisational change underscored adaptability, vision, and effective communication.  Personally, I aimed to cultivate resilience, flexibility, and collaboration. I promoted innovative solutions, maintained open communication, and offered steadfast support.”

He added, “As a leader, I emphasised setting a positive example and embracing adaptability.  This personal journey has influenced my leadership style, focusing on adaptability, empathy, and fostering a collaborative culture for positive team results.”

Outside of work, Zahir finds joy in fishing, photography, and watching soccer matches and movies.

Ms. Judy Ong

Simultaneously, Judy Ong’s commitment and vision shine in her journey from Director of Sales & Marketing to Senior Director of Sales & Marketing.  Since her return to the Banyan Group in 2018, Judy has consistently demonstrated exceptional leadership, achieving impressive revenue growth and exceeding targets.  Her multifaceted role includes strategic planning, team leadership, and effective sales initiatives. Embracing diversity is one of the visions of the sales and marketing team where Judy ensures fair market share for the resort from the tourist arrivals into Maldives. 

In 2021 and 2022, Judy’s achievements included remarkable revenue growth and substantial increases in Average Daily Rate (ADR) and gaining above market share from each key feeder market arrivals.  As Senior Director, Judy will continue spearheading strategic planning and revenue generation, underscoring her commitment to cost-effective sales and marketing operations.Outside of work, Judy finds joy in staying active through high intensity training workouts and indulges her passion for travel to nature.

Part of Banyan Group, an independent, global hospitality company with purpose, formerly known as Banyan Tree Group, Angsana Velavaru is a vibrant tropical getaway offering 79 private villas, all with beach frontage, and a cluster of 34 InOcean Villas.  As the resort celebrates these exceptional leaders, their journeys stand as a source of inspiration for the Banyan Group and the broader hospitality industry.


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