Maldives to develop resorts in two lagoons in north

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Sunday announced plans to develop 1,500 tourist beds in Haa Dhaal atoll, in a bid to introduce tourism to the northern atoll, which currently lacks any resorts.

At a rally organised by ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) in Kulhudhuffushi island, the president told his supporters that Haa Dhaal atoll has several islands and lagoons that could be developed as tourist resorts. Two lagoons — one measuring over 700 hectares and another having over 1,000 hectares — have already been identified for resort development, he added.

“I’ll try to gazette [the invitation for expression of interest] when I return to [capital] Male tomorrow [Monday],” the president said.

President Yameen speaks at a rally organised by ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) in Kulhudhuffushi island on Sunday. PHOTO/ PRESIDENT’S OFFICE

President Yameen stressed that these new developments would be worth over USD 200 million. Some 40,000 new jobs would be created in the region through these investments, he said.

The president was in Kulhudhuffushi to inaugurate the land reclamation project for the development of an airport in the island.

According to the president, the Kulhudhuffushi airport along with the international airport on the neighbouring island of Hanimaadhoo will act as the main gateway of the country’s northern region, and will boost its tourism industry.

Over a million tourists from across the globe visit the Indian Ocean island nation every year to holiday in one of the 120 resorts and 400 plus guesthouses located in all corners of the country. The multi-billion dollar tourism industry, which is the country’s main economic activity, relies heavily on the domestic transport infrastructure, especially air travel.

Maldives, the most dispersed country on the planet with 1,192 islands spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres, already has 11 airports, including three international airports. The government has contracted both local and international companies to develop additional domestic airports across the archipelago in a bid to boost tourism.

Haa Dhaal remains as the only atoll in the Maldives which does not have a tourist resort. Plans to develop a resort on the island of Naagoashi in the atoll have stalled.

Main photo: Naagoashi island in Haa Dhaal atoll, being developed as a tourist resort.

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