Photo: Dhaalu Airport, January 2017.

Maldives to invest US$28 million to diversify tourism growth

The Maldives is set to invest MVR444 million (US$28 million) to develop tourism infrastructure as it attempts to diversify the country’s tourism growth with a range of projects in the pipeline. These funds are allocated for infrastructure projects in the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) in the National Budget for 2018. The projects include the reclamation of land from lagoons and establishment of domestic airports.

US$21 million was earmarked in the budget to develop the domestic airports of Kulhudhuffushi Island of Haa Dhaalu Atoll, Funadhoo Island of Shaviyani Atoll, Nilandhoo in Faafu Atoll and Maavarulu Island in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll. US$6.9 million will also be spent for reclaiming more than 10 hectares from 20 lagoons for commercial purposes. This shift of focus outside the capital is a sign of a diversified plan for tourism growth.

However, this diversification of tourism infrastructure investments is part of the larger mega-infrastructure development campaigns planned in the Maldives. The national budget also allocates PSIP funds for building mega-infrastructure projects in the Maldives which include the development of Velana International Airport, Hulhumalé and bridging Malé with the airport via a bridge.

The budget allocates MVR1 billion for Velana International Airport’s new runway, MVR539 million for the airport’s new terminal development, MVR246.6 million for the Hulhumalé development project and MVR213 million for the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge project.

The Tourism Ministry also revealed that the number of tourists visiting the Maldives went up by 6 percent in the first ten months of 2017 – a figure that’s expected to go up as the Maldives invests more in tourism and leisure activities. Over the course of the next five years, the Maldives is set to carry out an unprecedented scale-up in public infrastructure and large integrated lagoon projects which are presently being developed. In addition to marketing efforts of the Maldivian Government, it is expected to generate a larger market appeal for the destination.