Fitch Ratings has assigned the Maldives a first time Long Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at B+ with a stable outlook, largely owing to the country’s resilient tourism industry.
In an statement, the leading global credit rating agency said Monday that the country ceiling for the Maldives is assigned at BB- and the Short Term Foreign and Local Currency IDRs at B.
Fitch said the ratings balance the Maldives’ advanced economic development, strong GDP growth and high government revenue generated by a prosperous tourism sector against a high government debt burden and low foreign reserve buffers.
The Maldives’ success as a prime luxury tourist destination has generated relatively high GDP per capita of USD 9,145 (B category median is USD 3,362), Fitch said, adding that real GDP growth is expected to pick up to four percent in 2017 and 4.5 percent in 2018 from 3.9 percent in 2016 due to continued tourism demand and construction. It noted the development of new resorts and the large infrastructure projects initiated by the government, including capacity expansion of the main airport, the construction of a bridge linking the capital to population centres, an advanced medical centre and new housing units.
“The government’s ability and propensity to tax the luxury tourism sector has led to a revenue ratio of 34.9 percent of GDP, significantly higher than the B median of 24.7 percent. There is still potential to further increase the amount of revenue raised from tourism if needed, given the likelihood of rather inelastic demand in the luxury segment to moderate price rises. Government revenue forms an important link between tourism and other sectors of the economy,” the statement read.
However, Fitch warned that high dependence on tourism makes the economy vulnerable to sudden events that harm the perception of Maldives as a safe and reliable tourist destination, including the emergence of political instability in an already-polarised environment or security issues.
“The country’s high dependence on a single sector causes volatility in economic metrics, such as GDP growth, and makes the country vulnerable to external shocks and domestic developments that undermine the Maldives’ attractiveness as a tourist destination; for example, changes in perceptions of safety,” the statement read.
The agency also cautioned that execution of many large infrastructure projects at the same time has posed serious fiscal challenges. Foreign debt financing of the large construction projects will increase the importance of foreign-reserve buffers in the years ahead, it said.
“The risks to external balances from the low reserve base are mitigated by the persistent current account deficits being fully financed by foreign direct investment and by the tourism sector both earning and spending in US dollars. This implies that tourism-related outflows should also fall in the case of a sudden drop in tourism-related inflows,” the statement read.
“In addition, the country has managed with similarly low levels of foreign-exchange reserves for a number of years without experiencing an exchange rate shock.”
Fitch highlighted the new measures included in this year’s state budget to increase revenue and to cut expenditure to make fiscal space for the projects underway, saying that the remedial action should significantly lower the deficit to 4.3 percent of GDP in 2017 and 3.8 percent in 2018. However, it said the official target of reducing the fiscal deficit from the government’s estimate of 7.4 percent of GDP in 2016 to 0.5 percent in 2017 is highly ambitious.
“On the basis of the government’s announced measures and Fitch’s nominal GDP forecast, the agency expects general government debt/GDP to fall gradually from 72.3 percent in 2017 to 70 percent in 2020. At the same time, risks to debt sustainability remain and the stabilisation of debt, assumed by Fitch, depends on the government’s willingness and ability to follow through on its fiscal consolidation plan,” the statement read.
Fitch highlighted a few main factors that could lead to negative rating action:
- A significant rise in general government debt; for instance, caused by a failure of the government’s fiscal consolidation strategy.
- Balance of payment pressures; for instance, a fall in foreign exchange reserves or a higher than Fitch expected increase in external debt.
Fitch also highlighted a few main factors that could lead to positive rating action:
- Policy initiatives that lower general government debt to levels closer to the rating category median.
- Strengthening of external buffers through accumulation of foreign-exchange reserves.
- Diversification of the economy by developing sectors other than tourism; for example, facilitated by implementing structural reforms that enhance the business environment.
Fitch’s first ever credit rating for the Maldives is in line with a similar rating assigned by Moody’s Investors Service in September of B2 with a stable outlook. In the first ever sovereign credit rating of the Maldives, Moody’s also noted the Maldives’ healthy GDP growth prospects driven by the tourism sector, while raising concerns over relatively low institutional and fiscal strength and moderate susceptibility to event risk.
Credit ratings are used by investors as indications of the likelihood of receiving the money owed to them in accordance with the terms on which they invested.
Majority of foreign investments come into the tourism sector. Several foreign investors are developing resorts in the Maldives with many more expected to come this year as well.
With several foreign investments in tourism, Maldives has maintained its lead in performance of tourist properties amongst Indian Ocean destinations. A recent report by industry-leading global real estate services company Colliers International has shown that the Maldives has a significant lead on rival Indian Ocean destinations such as Mauritius, Seychelles and Zanzibar in almost every performance indicator, including occupancy, Average Daily Rate (ADR) and Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR).
Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) holds its 34th Annual General Meeting
The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) held its 34th Annual General Meeting at Kurumba Maldives today, with a total of 100 members in attendance.
The day’s events began with a welcome address from the Chairman of MATI, Mr. Mohamed Umar, who also presided over the session. The agenda included an address from the Secretary General, Mr. Ahmed Nazeer, the review and approval of the minutes of the 33rd AGM, the review and adoption of the Annual Report and Financial Reports for 2023, the approval of the 2024 budget, the appointment of auditors for 2024, the welcoming of new members and election of executive board members to the two vacant positions (by-election).
In the member discussion session, the following topics were covered: the Government’s aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2023 and renewable energy generation in the Tourism Industry, new terminal of Velana International Airport and developments, employment challenges, the Industrial Relations Act and trade unions, environmental conservation and the significance of creating and executing efficient management plans for protected areas like the South Ari Marine Protected Area (SAMPA).
Following the official proceedings, the Minister of Tourism Hon. Ibrahim Faisal and the Minister of Economic Development and Trade Hon. Mohamed Saeed joined the forum. The Ministers provided remarks and engaged in a Member Q&A session. This session provided members with the chance to directly engage with the Ministers and delve into crucial industry topics. The queries focused on the Economic Outlook, forthcoming development plans and immediate challenges and issues affecting the Tourism Industry.
A video presentation was also showcased that delved into the extensive work undertaken by MATI in 2023. The video also touched upon the Tourism Industry’s performance over the past 5 years, as well as the current and projected human resource capacity of the sector.
In his closing remarks, the Secretary General highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing industry challenges and called for greater unison amongst industry stakeholders, ending with an acknowledgement of the promising start to the year in terms of arrivals.
Executive Board Members elected to the 2 vacant positions (by-election):
- Ibrahim Shareef, CEO and Managing Director of Maldives Airports Company Limited
- Renato De Olivera, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands and representative of Marriott International
Unlocking power of travel storytelling at Travel Creators Exchange 2024
Join us for the Travel Creators Exchange 2024, taking place on February 1, 2024, at the Hotel Jen in Male’, Maldives.
This dynamic event provides a platform for networking and collaboration among Maldives-based travel creators, fostering connections, idea-sharing, and the establishment of lasting partnerships to expand opportunities and monetise content.
Our lineup of distinguished speakers includes:
- Zihuny Rasheed, Deputy Managing Director of MMPRC, will present on “Power of Digital Storytelling: Collaborative Strategies for Destination Promotion.” MMPRC actively markets the Maldives globally, utilising a comprehensive approach that includes travel trade shows, roadshows, digital marketing, and more.
- Amjad Thaufeeg, Commercial Director of Kuda Villingili Maldives Resort, brings over 23 years of hospitality industry experience. He will discuss “The Role of Content in Tourism Marketing,” drawing on expertise in revenue, customer service, sales & marketing, and human capital development.
- Suresh Dissanayake, Assistant Vice President of Sales & Marketing of Heritance Aarah & Adaaran Resorts, with nearly two decades of experience, will shed light on “What does a Sales and Marketing Director Do?” He brings extensive luxury hospitality experience and a proven track record in sales, distribution, and marketing.
- Vishal Amir Ahmed, a versatile cinematographer and content creator, will explore “Who is a Content Creator.” Currently associated with Various Arts Studio, he specialises in providing multimedia solutions to various clients.
Organised by Maldives Insider, Maldives Virtual Tour, Travel Trade Maldives, and Hotelier Maldives, this collaborative effort aims to empower Maldives-based travel content creators and elevate the Maldives as a premier destination for captivating travel storytelling.
Acclaimed contemporary artist Ana Pušica explores perpetuality and community at Patina Maldives
Ana Pušica Kramer, an internationally acclaimed contemporary artist, joins Patina Maldives for an exclusive art residency in the now infamous Fari Art Atelier. From January 22 to February 22, 2024, Ana Pušica will grace the shores of the Fari Islands, weaving a vibrant narrative of colour and emotion across her larger than-life canvases.
Her artistry transcends boundaries, melding abstraction and figuration into awe-inspiring masterpieces. Having exhibited globally, from New York to Beijing, Ana’s paintings are a physical, intuitive act rooted in movement. Described as a “beautiful fluorescent thunderstorm,” Ana’s art explores light and colour, capturing the energy of life itself.
The Fari Art Atelier which has previously hosted the likes of Daniel Arsham, Chris Stamp and David Nott, will be transformed into Ana’s studio and gallery showcasing her enthralling artworks—a mesmerising journey through poetry, memory, and the vibrant interplay of colour. Guests at Patina are invited to delve into Ana’s world, where each stroke reveals layers of meaning, evoking sensations of intense lightness and boundless interpretation.
At Patina Maldives, Ana will immerse herself in a month-long residency, inviting the Patina Malidves community or guests and team to witness her artistic fervour firsthand. Guests will have the rare opportunity not only to observe her creative process but also to engage with and create art alongside this luminary.
Experience artistry at its most exclusive
Experience Ana’s captivating exploration of colour and emotion in her spellbinding artworks displayed at the Fari Atelier.
Art Workshops: Message in a Bottle
As part of a collaborative artwork, Ana invites Patina guests to participate in short workshops, actively contributing to the creation of a permanent installation at Patina Maldives.
Open Studio Session
Join Ana for an exclusive open studio session, offering guests a behind the-scenes look at her creative process.
Ana Pušica residency package
Discover a world where creativity knows no bounds as Ana Pušica, the maestro of contemporary art, transforms Patina Maldives into an immersive canvas of inspiration.
Book now to secure your experience.
For more information and reservations, please visit Patina Maldives or contact
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