Thumburi Integrated Resort Project – Deadline for EOIs Extended

TThunburihe Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Company (MMPRC) is seeking  interested parties to develop and operate beach hotels in the Thumburi guesthouse island.

In an announcement on 18 December, the MMPRC invited potential investors to submit Expression of Interest “to take on lease land parcels allocated for the development, operation and maintenance of Beach Hotels” on the uninhabited island in Laamu atoll.

The deadline for submission of signed documents is 26 February 2015.

The government’s Thumburi Integrated Resort Project involves leasing plots of land on the 17-hectare Thumburi island as well as the linked 19-hectare Hulhiyandhoo island to develop guesthouses, a diving school, water sports facilities, restaurants and shopping centers.

Government-owned companies would meanwhile develop common infrastructure to provide electricity, sewerage, water and jetty services.

The project – to be developed under a “communal tourism development” or “vertical tourism” concept – is overseen by the government’s marketing corporation.

According to the MMPRC, the guesthouse island project is designed to “responsibly diversify the tourism product of the Maldives,” and envisions the development of a 2,100-bed resort operated by multiple local small and medium-sized enterprises.

Under phase one of the project, three lots of 1 hectare each are earmarked for 100-bed beach hotels with land and sea-based villas.

The land acquisition cost of the plots is US$1 million with an annual lease rent of US$675,000.

Five 10,000 square feet plots are also being leased for the development of 50-bed beach hotels at a land acquisition cost of US$200,000 and an annual rent of US$66,000.

Additionally, 15 plots of 5,000 square feet would be leased for the development of 25-bed beach hotels with a land acquisition cost of US$100,000 and annual rent of US$30,000.

While the 1-hectare beach resort hotel will have a leasehold period of 50 years and a 2.5 years grace period for construction, the 5,000 square feet and 10,000 square feet beach hotels will have a leasehold period of 25 years with a 2.5 years grace period for construction.

The Thumburi island is accessible via a 30-minute domestic flight from the Male’ international airport.

The government estimates the project would increase visitors to the Maldives by 150,000 a year.

In August, a total of 16 parties submitted bids for 20 guesthouse plots (5,000 square feet and 10,000 square feet) under the first phase of the Thumburi project.

In late October, the MMPRC also extended a deadline for submission of Expression of Interest to develop beach resorts in Thumburi to 31 December.

Mid-market sector

Following the introduction of guesthouses in local inhabited islands in 2009, mid-market tourism has grown substantially in the past five years with the availability of a low cost accommodation option.

The number of registered establishments has risen from 25 at the end of 2010 to 136 by the end of 2013.

While the registered number of beds in guesthouses stood at 476 at the end of 2010, the figure increased by more than threefold last year and totaled over 2,400 as of June 2014.

The bed capacity of guesthouses currently represents 8 per cent of the total bed capacity of the tourism industry.