Maldives is preparing to unveil the nature parks in Addu Atoll and Fuvahmulah coming July, as their long three-year development finally draws to a close.
Undertaken jointly by Ministry of Environment and Energy, and the Climate Change Adaptation Project (CCAP), development commenced in 2015 with the aim to increase ecotourism in the south of Maldives. The project was funded by the European Union (EU), which had generously granted USD 61 million as free aid.
The nature park in Addu encompasses the picturesque Eedhigalhi Kilhi wetlands and protected Koattey area in Hithadhoo, while the parks in Fuvahmulah are developed at its two lakes, Bandaara Kilhi and Dhadimagu Kilhi.
The parks feature scenic cycling routes, charming piers extending out to the lakes, and beautiful mangrove trees around the wetlands. Photographs released of one of the parks in Fuvahmulah also depict lotus flowers dotting the area. Once the parks are opened, the public can also engage in fun activities such as canoeing and dinghy rides in the lakes.
"We did not alter the natural beauty of these places, but made them accessible to more people," said Ali Shamin, the communications officer of the project.
Shamin stated that construction of the parks' visitors centres will be completed at the end of June. He elaborated that entrance tickets and equipment for activities such as canoeing and cycling, will be issued directly from the centres. Facilities including showers and a canteen will also be available to visitors.
While the nature parks are scheduled to be officially unveiled in July, they are currently open for the public to enter and view their beauty.
"These parks will be extraordinarily beautiful. They will attract many tourists," said Shaim, adding that the parks will also be leased for events such as wedding receptions.
The regulations on the parks' management and operations have already been compiled, and submitted to be gazetted.