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Lower taxes for resorts employing more locals: President Solih

30 December 2018, MVT 10:56
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih speaks at the closing ceremony of Guesthouse Symposium 2018. PHOTO: AHMED NISHAATH/MIHAARU
30 December 2018, MVT 10:56

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih concluded the Guesthouse Symposium 2018 on Saturday night with a speech focusing on the role of Maldivian workers in the tourism industry.

The President revealed in his speech that the government would lower taxes for resorts employing more than the required amount of locals as stated by Ministry of Tourism.

In his speech, President Solih emphasized that a large part of the country’s income depended on tourism. However, he stated that there have been complaints regarding some resorts not providing service charge to their employees, and some resorts employing foreign personnel in higher numbers than stated in the Tourism Ministry guidelines.

In order to find a solution to these problems, the President announced that a system will be set in place by the Ministry to review resort activities.

Tourism Ministry guidelines state that 45 percent of all employees working in any resorts should be locals. The maximum amount of foreign employees in any resort is not allowed to exceed 55 percent.

However, many resorts reportedly employ a larger number of foreign personnel. Labour Relations Authority (LRA) recently revealed information about a resort with 150 employees out of which only five were locals. Local media Mihaaru News reported that this was Velidhoo Island Resort in Alif Alif Atoll.

LRA had further disclosed this year that 30 resorts were monitored, and some resorts which consisted of 90 percent foreign employees or more, were found. However, the names of these resorts were not revealed.

President Solih also spoke about the importance of carefully planned development in the guesthouse sector. He emphasized that proper infrastructure needs to be established on islands for further guesthouse development to take place.

A total of 12 hotels and 518 guest houses are currently operating in the Maldives. In addition, there are 148 safari boats, 308 travel agencies and 272 dive schools.

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