Sun Siyam Resorts announces expansion with three new resorts in Maldives, one in Sri Lanka

Local resort operator Sun Siyam Resorts has announced plans to open four new resorts over the next two years, with three of them located in its home base of the Maldives.

Ahmed Siyam Mohamed, Chairman and Managing Director of the company, told Sun Online last week that the uninhabited islands of Faandhoo and Alivifushi in Dhaalu atoll, and Dhigurah in Noonu atoll are being developed as resorts. A second property in neighbouring Sri Lanka is being constructed as well, he said.

Sun Aqua Faandhoo is set to open this December, while The Sun Siyam Alivifushi is scheduled to open in May 2018 followed by The Sun Siyam Dhigurah in June 2018. The resort being developed in Sri Lanka is expected to open in 2019.

Siyam (C) attends a ceremony held at Aluvifushi island early this month to inaugurate the development of the island as a resort. PHOTO/ SUN CONSTRUCTION

Led by Siyam’s passion for creating a difference in the Maldives tourism industry that redefines the luxury hospitality experience, Sun Siyam Resorts currently has a portfolio of boutique luxury resorts operating in the Maldives and Sri Lanka, including The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi Maldives, Olhuveli Beach and Spa Maldives, Sun Aqua Vilu Reef Maldives and Sun Aqua Pasikudah in Sri Lanka.

As Sun Siyam Resorts prepares for the opening of three new resorts in the Maldives, Siyam cautioned on the rapid increase in supply currently observed in the Maldives tourism industry, saying that supply has to be controlled as per the demand. If not, average occupancy of the resorts might drop below the 50 percent mark, he warned.

“But if we market the Maldives as a destination, we would be able to overcome those challenges and ensure that these new resort openings benefit the economy as a whole,” Siyam said.

The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi resort. PHOTO/ SUN SIYAM RESORTS

After years of double-digit growth in tourism, the Maldives has over the recent years observed a slowdown in growth despite recent gains. Tourist arrivals have crossed the one million milestone and is on course to reach 1.5 million by the end of this year, but the country has been struggling to create demand amidst a significant increase in bed capacity.

Over the past three years, dozens of uninhabited islands have been leased to local and foreign resort developers. Several international brands have entered into the market, increasing the number of resorts to 120. That number is set to increase as the government has announced the opening of some 20 new resorts by the end of this year.

Along with the new resort openings come the challenge of increasing demand from budget travellers who choose guesthouses over luxury resorts that the Maldives is known for. The guesthouse sector has rapidly expanded with over 300 guesthouses in operation today.

Government has come under fire from private organisations representing industry stakeholders such as the Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) over the lack of effort and budget to promote the Maldives as a destination.

The government has recently announced new steps to maintain a structured growth in tourism, including a slowdown in leasing islands for resort development and increased marketing efforts in key markets such as China and the Middle East in order to reach an ambitious target of a record 1.5 million tourist arrivals this year.

Main photo: Dhigurah in Noonu atoll. Credits to Mohamed Malik. 

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