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Solutions determined for undeveloped islands to be announced soon

The Tourism Minister has said that the aim is to resume the development of at least 25 undeveloped islands and make them operational.

Aishath Shuba Solih
10 February 2024, MVT 15:54
Tourism Minister, Ibrahim Faisal
Aishath Shuba Solih
10 February 2024, MVT 15:54

Tourism Minister, Ibrahim Faisal has said that his aim is to complete the development of 25 undeveloped islands and make them operational.

In an exclusive interview given to Mihaaru News last Wednesday, Minister Faisal said that his biggest priority as Tourism Minister is to resume the discontinued development of islands allocated for resort development resolve the issue where the state does not generate revenue from these islands.

He said that there are 63 islands that have not been developed, which includes islands that have been allocated for 20 to 25 years. He said that his main priority would be to complete resort development of around 25 of these islands and make them operational during his tenure.

He said the biggest issue for most of these islands was the lack of funds. The Minister said that the Economic Council has decided to identify the issues and provide solutions to those who have been allocated islands to develop resorts. The Minister added that it would be submitted to the cabinet and announced soon.

Tourists arriving in Maldives

"Many of these islands will be put on the market. And undeveloped islands (with no work commenced) will be brought under tourism and allocated after determining the policies and regulations. Furthermore, we will find fair solutions for the islands invested in," he said.

According to the Minister, the easiest way for the state to increase revenue is from tourism. Therefore, it is a challenge to have many islands that have not been developed, he said.

The “Fiscal Risk Statement” revealed by the tourism ministry states that an amount approximately MVR 1.7 billion dollars (MVR 26 billion) is lost due to discontinued activity and halted development of the islands allocated for tourism expansion.

While Kaafu Atoll has the most number undeveloped islands allocated for tourism, there are 29 resorts in the atoll where development has been stopped and are non-operational. There are 10 islands in Gaafu Alifu atoll where work has been stalled.

Former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has also made various efforts to resolve the issue of undeveloped islands.

In this regard, the penalty for non-payment of rent to companies that had to stall work and pay hefty fines on islands allotted for tourism purposes was significantly reduced from 182 percent to 18 percent.

"We are very hopeful that at least 25 or 30 percent of the islands can be released to the market," Minister Faisal said.

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