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Government to formulate tourism 'master plan'

Shahudha Mohamed
30 July 2019, MVT 21:41
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed participating in the inauguration ceremony of the government's Master Plan for tourism. PHOTO: PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
Shahudha Mohamed
30 July 2019, MVT 21:41

The incumbent government on Monday night, unveiled aspects of the master plan for the tourism sector in the country for the next five years.

Speaking at the event held in Dharubaaruge, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih announced that the government will lease land from 11 islands for tourism purposes through a bidding process.

Islands to be leased for the development of locally-based 'guesthouse tourism' include Dhahparu area in Filladhoo, Uligan and Kelaa in Haa Alif Atoll, Gan in Laamu Atoll and Fuvahmulah beach area as well as a further six islands in Addu Atoll.

Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed elaborated on the six islands in Addu Atoll, stating that the total capacity of the lodgings would amount to 4,000 beds.

While the government pledged to develop guesthouses amounting to a capacity of 8,000 beds, half is set to be built on the newly leased land.

Minister Ali Waheed vowed to prioritize the development of local tourism in areas where tourism is not well integrated.

Additionally, President Solih highlighted that Maldivian culture, skills and craftsmanship should interweave with the tourism sector to ensure the involvement of citizens in the development of the industry, he said.

"Mangroves and wetlands are part of our natural heritage. The government will conserve such areas whilst amassing maximum benefit ".

President Solih expressed his belief that in the short time following the change in administration, foreign investor trust had grown significantly.

He also disclosed that permits were granted to 23 out of 28 foreign parties that expressed interest in investing in Maldivian tourism.

"During this period [we have] registered 17 investments. As a result of having upheld the law, and enforcing peace and prosperity, 13 countries have invested in Maldives".

According to the president, during the first three months of 2019, the revenue generated from tourism rose to MVR 1.1 billion. Over the past six months, the tourism sector noted an improvement of 18 percent.

President Solih further stated that a registry of all the employees working in the tourism sector would be compiled along with the master plan, claiming that the number of job opportunities in the industry will increase to 35,000 within the next five years.

Minister Ali Waheed also offered his guarantee that the master plan would be formulated within a period of six months.

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