Hospitality investors, leaders to gather in Maldives for first tourism investment briefing

Global event organiser Bench Events has announced the launch of the inaugural Maldives Hotel and Tourism Investment Briefing in November, providing a platform for global investors to easily explore investment opportunities in the Maldives tourism industry.

The briefing to be held on November 30 in capital Male will follow on from the Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC), which is scheduled to take place in Sri Lankan capital Colombo from November 28-29.

AHTIC is a top-level gathering of international investors, business leaders, government ministers and officials. It is anticipated that investors and other delegates will travel from Colombo to Male for a one-day briefing, with project showcases and a networking reception followed by a day of FAM trips to various islands around the region to show potential investors and partners the projects available for collaborations. These will include a range of both public and private investment opportunities.

The briefing is organised by Bench Events in partnership with ultra-luxury tourism promotion and event management company Luxury Collections, and will be hosted by the Maldives tourism ministry under the patronage of the minister Moosa Zameer.

Luxury Collections CEO and Founder Adeel Ahmed said: “We are thrilled to announce the Maldives Tourism and Hotel Investment Briefing. This event will attract some of the world’s premier investors and is co-directed by a leading international consultant who has organised multiple similar events around the globe. This event has incredible potential for tourism investment, and the Maldives is bursting with opportunities, with a tourism-based economy and a strong brand identity which has stood the test of time.”

The Asia Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC) held last year. PHOTO/ AHTIC

In 2016, the Maldives hospitality and tourism industry recorded an annual average tourist arrival growth rate of 4.2 percent. According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the global annual average tourist arrival growth rate for the year was 3.9 percent year-on-year, which is slightly lower than the rate for the Maldives.

To cater for this increase in demand, the country continues to invest in the support infrastructure and connectivity. The main airport is currently under expansion and is expected to be completed by 2018. Several new airlines have recently commenced flights to the Maldives including Saudi Airlines, with European airlines such as Air France and Alitalia set to begin operations to the Maldives later this year.

The Maldives is an attractive destination for the discerning investor and one of South Asia’s most attractive centres for Foreign Direct Investment. Lying in the heart of the Indian Ocean, at the strategic cross roads of the East and the West, the Maldives benefits from a stable and transparent legal system, relative political stability and stable economic growth. With a rate of growth that has averaged 7.5 percent over the past 15 years, the country continues to develop at a steady pace and remains economically resilient.

The recently introduced Special Economic Zones framework provides economic incentives and introduces a flexible regulatory environment for foreign investments. With the right to incorporate businesses with 100 percent foreign ownership and no restrictions on repatriation of profits, the Maldives promotes a liberal trade environment and offers excellent ROI, which are amongst the highest globally (five to eight years on average).

Over the past three years, dozens of uninhabited islands have also 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.

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