Maldivian to provide low-cost fares to Maldives first integrated guesthouse island

Maldives flagship carrier Maldivian has been assigned as the exclusive travel partner for the integrated guesthouse island project of Baresdhoo.

An agreement was signed on October 9 by project developer Maldives Integrated Tourism Development Corporation (MITDC) and Maldivian’s parent company Island Aviation Services (IAS).

Under the agreement, the flagship carrier will provide dedicated flight services from the main Velana International Airport to the domestic airport in the island of Kadhdhoo in Laamu atoll, enabling low-cost travel for visitors to Baresdhoo.

In a statement, MITDC said detailed negotiations are underway with IAS to finalise the fares and other specifics. The fares will be announced in the next one to three months, it added.

“With the overwhelming support for the Baresdhoo Project sine the opening of the opportunities for properties in September 2017, MITDC has maintained continuous rapport with potential investors and travel costs have always remained a key area of concern raised by the potential investors,” the statement read.

“MITDC believes that this MoU for the purpose of significantly lowering the travel fare rates is a key accomplishment for the investors in ensuring the success of the first integrated tourist project in the Maldives.”

Maldivian currently operates a fleet of two Dash 8-200 series aircrafts, seven Dash 8-300 series aircrafts, and an Airbus 320 and another Airbus 321 aircraft. The Dash 8 aircrafts are primarily used for domestic operations while the two Airbus aircrafts serve the airline’s international routes.

The state-owned airline operates flights to all the 10 domestic airports across the Maldives, and runs international operations to South Asian neighbours India and Bangladesh, and far Eastern countries such as Thailand and China.

According to MITDC, it is also finalising the provision of utilities and other infrastructure services for the project as well as investing in avenues to reduce the overall logistics and operational expenses of the investors.

MITDC has earlier opened bidding for the project.

A 35-room guesthouse is to be leased for USD 10,000 per month, while the monthly rent for a 60-room guesthouse is set at USD 18,000. Each of the two 100-bed hotels are to be rented out for USD 45,000 per month.

State tourism promotion company Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) has earlier announced the sale of 16 land plots from Baresdhoo, which is the first ever integrated guesthouse development in the Maldives.

However, MITDC recently took over the project from MMPRC and changed it to a rental business model.

According to MITDC, the 75-hectare island of Baresdhoo in Laamu atoll will have restaurants, cafes, bars, a spa, a theme park, a theatre, a golf course, a botanical garden and a dive centre to support the guesthouses and hotels. Construction will begin this year and will be completed within 18 months, it said.

MMPRC has earlier built the island’s harbour and joined a small nearby island to Baresdhoo. A local company has also been contracted to build the road network of the island.

Government’s foray into guesthouse business comes amid a significant increase in the number of guesthouses across the archipelago. Some 400 guesthouses have started operations over the past five years as the number of travellers that choose to stay in guesthouses is on the rise.

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