Even in a proficient developing country like the Maldives, hard work is a necessary component in allowing for the country’s economy to ascend to greater heights. Increments in investments for various fields are mandatory for the country to be able to increase wages higher raise the standard of living, and subsequently, pave the way for alluring opportunities and to become an enriching fulfilling country. Aforementioned are factors that necessitate more investors.
During the administration of former President Mohamed Nasheed, then-Minister of Finance Ahmed Inaz famously commented on the vast profitable opportunities that are already available for willing investors. Inaz further articulated that government policies should be shaped in a manner whereby the regulations implemented serve to empower and ease investors.
“If we are to view Maldives only through the lenses of tourism, we would be limiting our opportunities. We need to expand our vision beyond just tourism. Doing so would enable us to see the vast variety of opportunities available,” said Inaz.
According to Inaz, with proper planning in place, it will be possible to advance all sectors of Maldives. Expressing his belief that the particulars of who held the reigns of the government did not matter in this context, he adamantly maintained that what was vital for the prosperity of the Maldives and its people was the formulation of ‘realistic’ long-term strategy.
Tiny though this island nation may be, it holds numerous opportunities for investment, even beyond that of travel and tourism, though there is room for improvement in complementary sectors as well. In this vein, some of the lesser known, potentially bountiful areas for business interests are as follows;
The most rapidly advancing field in Maldives’ economy is construction. The development of luxurious apartments, guesthouses and tranquil resorts is diligently underway.
Maldives Customs’ statistics show a vast increment of 47 percent in the importation of necessities for construction from January to August 2018, when compared to the rate in 2017.
Economic experts state that with the increase of building construction, work in carpentry for the furniture required and interior designing of the building would be a vast field of opportunities in Maldives.
The spatially dispersed geographic nature of atolls and islands throughout the Maldivian archipelago makes the advent of transportation not just important, but absolutely necessary. Many opportunities exist to increase wealth and resources. The profitable business of guest-houses directly correlates to the expanding number of companies that extend island-to-island ferry services.
However, transport is still a plausible avenue for investments. New investors can be introduced to the field in the same way that world-famous brands are brought in to Maldives.
Economic professionals claim that within the broad transportation arena, even the provision and up-keep of proper functional ferry systems targeting 3-4 atolls would yield considerable profit.
If that criterion is met, competition within the market would likely increase, leading to the establishment of services that are higher in quality at prices which are more affordable for travellers. This in turn, would massively increase the profit potential of tourism in the outer-lying islands and atolls.
Furthermore, if premium facilities such as Yacht Marines were to be introduced, there is room for additional profits, across the board.
Opportunities for agriculture in Maldives are many. Certain ‘fertile’ islands from each atoll can be leased solely for agricultural purposes in the same way that they are currently leased for tourism.
That said, in order to develop agriculture as a profitable industry, investors are needed. The cultivation of products like famously spicy Maldivian chillies, watermelon, papaya, breadfruit, banana, to name a few, is definitely achievable. Such an investment also presents an opportunity for the country to digress from its import-dependency and move towards a greater self-sufficiency..
According to experts in the field, rather than acquiring land from within inhabited islands for agricultural work, utilizing uninhabited islands within the atoll solely for the development of such work, would serve to broaden the industry as a whole.
If successfully implemented, not only would it result in the drastic increase in the yield of agricultural products, but chances are that the industry would experience timely advancements that correlate with consumer behaviour, corresponding to health food trends, satisfying domestic demand and so forth.
Apart from tourism, fishing is unarguably the most lucrative industry in the Maldives. Surrounded by the sea, the country is blessed with an abundance of marine life, and plenty of room for oceanic endeavours.
Whilst Maldivians still primarily cast pole and line to fish, vast changes have been made in the international realm. One such example is the prevalence of Aqua Culture, quite successful for certain varieties in the commercial fishing business.
Fishing experts confirm that foodie favourites world over, like oysters and lobsters, can be locally cultured and turned into a very lucrative business.
Similarly, seaweed is commonly used to make products that are used for medicinal and beautification purposes, particularly in countries where ‘fair skin’ is considered attractive, like Korea, Japan and so on. Hence, viable species may be cultivated and exported, or the possibility of deriving useful elements can be opened up for investment - either option promises excellent returns.
While many ventures are possible in Maldives’ geographically diverse landscapes, at the forefront ever-welcoming of a push forward, is its fishing industry; the pride of the nation.
To sum up, tourism is far from being the only profitable business Maldives has to offer for potential investors. Even tourism itself did not originally generate a huge amount of wealth - it took off exponentially in the 2000s thanks to the efforts of several visionaries from the private sector as well as forward thinkers from within government leadership. Today, the sector has flourished to world-leading standards.
All new business comes with a healthy amount of risk, but the above is, less of a gamble and more of an intelligent leap for those that dare to tap it. If anything, investors should take a page out of the brave folk that stumbled their way toa tiny island nations in the 70’s and invested in what eventually became the tourism industry of the millennia.
However, with government leadership and intelligent investments, Maldives’ tourism sector has currently flourished to World’s leading standards.