The Maldives government has announced 14 uninhabited islands for resort development.
Investors can submit bid proposals until March 21, the Ministry of Tourism said.
According to the notice issued by the ministry on Monday, the highest acquisition costs are set for lagoons in Kaafu atoll Kaashidhoo lagoon and Faafu atoll Nilandhoo, where 10 hectares in each area have been allocated for resort development. The acquisition cost for these lagoons start at USD 2.2 million (MVR 34 million).
The lowest acquisition costs are set for islands in the northernmost Haa Alifu atoll, Thaa atoll, and Gaafu Dhaalu atoll in the Maldives' south. Medhufushi island in Haa Alifu atoll, which spans across 10.9 hectares, cost USD 875,000 (MVR 13.5 million), while Olhufushi and its lagoon in Thaa atoll were set for USD 700,000 (MVR 10.7 million). Gaafu Dhaalu atoll, Fereythavilingili, and the three neighbouring islands, which are sold together, have an acquisition cost of USD 700,000 (MVR 10.7 million).
Other islands the ministry announced for tourist resort development include Haa Alifu atoll Alidhuhfarufinolhu, Raa atoll Ehthigili, Meemu atoll Boahuraa, Gaafu Alifu atoll Beyramauddoo and Funadhoovilingili, Gaafu Dhaalu atoll Kalhehuttaa, and Haadhuvaa. The acquisition cost of these islands was set between USD 200,000 and USD 500,000.
According to the ministry, the highest bidder will receive 60 percent of the points for acquisition; the remaining percentage will be based on environmental sustainability practices, staff training, and the use of renewable energy. There would be an open-bid policy, and the acquisition cost for these lagoons is expected to rise, the ministry said.
Many islands that are listed for resort development were included in the ministry's previous announcement in 2022. Back then, some of the bidders were disqualified from acquiring an island because they did not meet the bid requirements, and some islands received no bids at all.
The ministry announced 21 islands across 10 atolls for resort development last year. A total of 13 investors submitted bids by the deadline, expressing interest in 9 properties. However, only five parties secured the projects.
Out of the five winning investors, one failed to settle 50 percent of the land acquisition cost within the deadline, which resulted in a bid termination. Last year, only four investors secured land for tourist resort development in the country.