Tourism Investment Opportunities Highlighted in Virtual Forum

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the advent of tourism, nineteen new Maldivian virgin islands have been opened to foreign investment. This news was shared by Minister of Tourism Dr Abdulla Mausoom on Thursday 10th February 2020 at a Virtual Webinar on Opportunities for Tourist Resorts Development in the Maldives and attended by ambassadors.

“Today’s forum is for the investors and respective embassies and foreign offices. Investment is a must for any company that wants to grow and a very important sector to invest in,” said the Minister.

“Our typical tourism model is the one island, one resort model and this year we mark our 50th anniversary of tourism in the islands.

“This is a very good business model all the international chains have started with one hotel and now have a chain of islands and a firm footprint in the Maldives. The Maldivian brands have also expanded.

“Today we unveil an opportunity for 19 new virgin islands which are open for resort development.

“Despite the global challenges, the Maldives has had a good year and resorts registered their best ever year in 2020-21. The Maldives is a place that you really want to invest in.”

The Maldives has been awarded the World’s Leading Destination in 2020 and 2021 and are hoping to make it a hattrick in 2022.

Gross Domestic Product from tourism is a 26.3 per cent direct contribution to the economy and more than 70 per cent indirect contribution, with 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings.

Currently there are 1,192 islands in the Maldives, 202 of those inhabited islands and 164 resorts across 26 atolls. The islands that have been announced, subject to third phase bidding include:

  1. Alidhuffarufinolhu in Haa Alifu, which is 0.3 hectares and has capacity for 230 beds.
  2. Medhafushi in Haa Alifu, 10.90 hectares, 320 beds
  3. Kudafarufasgandu in Haa Dhaal 1.20 hectares, 230 beds
  4. Dhigurah in Shaviyani Atoll, 5.1 hectares, Medhurah in Shaviyani atoll 6.7 hectares, Mairah (Dhiguvelidhoo) in Shaviyani atoll 7.7 hectares (all with 300 beds)
  5. Eh’thigili in Raa with 10 hectares from R. Alifushi Lagoon, 20.90 hectares, 290 beds
  6. Kudalhaimendhoo in Shaviyani, 14.60 hectares, 430 beds
  7. Seedheehuraa in Meemu with Seedheehuraa Veligandu 4.28 hectares,  230 beds
  8. Maausfushi in Meemu 10.4 hectares, 290 beds
  9. En Bulufushi in Faafu 1.00 hectares, 230 beds
  10. Jinnathugau in Faafu 0.89 hectares, 230 beds
  11. Kaadoo in Thaa 3.9 hectares, 230 beds
  12. Olhufushi with Olhufushifinolhu in Thaa atoll, 3.54 hectares, 230 beds
  13. Kashidhoo in Laamu atoll, 3.1 hectares, 230 beds
  14. Bodumun’yafushi in Laamu atoll, 03 hectares, 230 beds
  15. Dhonberehaa with Holhurahaa in Laamu atoll, 1.50 hectares, 230 beds
  16. Maarehaa in Gaaf Alif atoll, 17 hectares, 490 beds
  17. Funadhooviligillaa in Gaaf Alif atoll, 0.5 hectares, 150 beds
  18. Kan’dahalagala in Gaaf Dhaal atoll, 7.4 hectares, 210 beds
  19. Ferethaviligilla, Dhekaan’baa and Koderataa in Gaaf Dhaal Atoll; 9.26 hectares; 230 beds

Following the minister’s opening session there was a presentation of investment opportunities for the development of tourist resorts by planning officer Abdulla Iyaz, who explained why it was good to invest in the Maldives.

He explained that the country offers an excellent return on investments, an average of seven to 10 years, with concessions on development duty. There is a strong legislative framework and tax incentives as well as 100 percent direct investments allowed and no capital controls.

Furthermore, the Maldives is well connected and is also enjoying record numbers of tourists and with a liberal aviation policy across the four international airports. There is a free visa on arrival for tourists and easy visa applications for expats and corporate resident visas. Recently the tenth amendment to the tourism act has allowed lease extensions and strata leases.

Thus followed a session on the tourist development procedure by Fatimath Shaiha Nasih.

Several ambassadors of the Republic of the Maldives, tasked with communicating these opportunities in their respective countries included:

  • Mr Ahmed Latheef, Ambassador of Maldives to Germany and nonresident ambassador to Russia, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden.
  • Hassan Sabir, ambassador for Maldives to Belgium and European Union and non resident ambassador to Luxembourg and Netherlands.
  • Farahanaz Faisal, High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and nonresident ambassador to France, Ireland and Spain.
  • Asim Ahmed, permanent representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva and non resident ambassador to Australia and Switzerland.
  • This followed an interactive session and discussions with a question-and-answer session.

Panellists included Director-General Aishath Ali, Senior Policy Director Mohamed Khussan, Deputy Director General Ali Shinan and Director Ibrahim Fikree.

Donna Richardson
Donna Richardson is a contributing editor for Hotelier Maldives. Donna can be contacted on: