Maldives hospitality industry is on course to see its most active year with more than USD 450 million worth of resort transactions either completed or under offer, according to real estate consultancy firm JLL.
Traditionally dominated by Asian investors, the Maldives is now attracting new sources of cross-border capital from Europe and the US. In the past six months, investments from new sources of capital represent USD 300 million, compared to the annual average deal volume of USD 120 million per year.
“The tightening of yields in core markets across the globe, particularly in Europe, is causing investors to look further afield in search of higher yielding opportunities. Our clients outside of Asia are starting to show increasing interest in the Maldives, given its reputation as a sought-after tourist destination. We’re confident that investor demand will continue to rise and lift market sentiment,” Nihat Ercan, Managing Director and Head of Investment Sales, Asia, JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group, was quoted in a statement, as saying.
The Maldives tourism market continues to grow, with the first quarter of 2019 experiencing a 15 per cent year-on-year increase in visitor arrivals. Growth in Europe, the largest regional source market, accelerated as arrivals rose by nine per cent in January alone. Other notable source markets include India and the US, with increases of 86 per cent and 44 per cent respectively year-on-year.
In April, German-based Seaside Hotels & Resorts acquired Finolhu Maldives, a resort in Baa atoll, for approximately USD 90 million. JLL Hotels & Hospitality acted on behalf of the seller, Coastline Group of Companies.
“The sale of Finolhu Maldives to Seaside Hotels & Resorts is our first transaction of a Maldivian resort to a European buyer. With a 12 per cent year-on-year increase in European visitor arrivals last year, European hoteliers see an opportunity to capitalise on the familiarity of their brands with these travellers and tour operators. In the next nine to 12 months, we expect more of our European and American clients to enter the Maldives hospitality market,” Charlie MacIldowie, Vice President, JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group, said.
This is the second transaction by JLL Hotels & Hospitality in the Maldives this year. In February, the real estate firm was involved in the sale of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort, then owned by local developer Crown Company, to American investment firm Blackstone.
Official figures show that 144 resorts, 12 hotels, 508 guesthouses and 148 liveaboard vessels are registered in the Maldives. The number of registered travel agencies and dive schools stand at 308 and 272 respectively.
Government had earlier said that a total of 132 tourism projects involving 140 islands are being carried out across the Maldives.
Authorities have 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.
These concerns come as the world-famous holiday destination struggles to match demand with a rapid increase in bed capacity.
Over the past few 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 in operation to more than 130. That number is set to increase as another 20 resorts are expected to open over the next two years.
Singapore’s Park Hotel Group has opened its first resort in the Maldives, while major international hotel chains such as AccorHotels have entered the Maldives with four openings, including Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort, Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi, Mӧvenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives and Raffles Maldives Meradhoo as well as two in the pipeline. Brands like Hard Rock International, Capella Hotel Group, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Emaar Hospitality Group, Baglioni Hotels, Emerald Collection and Meliá Hotels International have announced their entry to the Maldives as well.
Existing international players are also upping their presence, with Marriott International launching Westin and JW Marriott in Maldives, Hilton Worldwide re-introducing its top-end luxury brand Waldorf Astoria, Aitken Spence introducing its Heritance brand, Minor Hotel Group introducing its AVANI brand, Onyx Hospitality Group introducing its OZO brand with its second property in the island nation, and LUX* Hotels & Resorts opening its second resort in the Maldives. Centara Hotels and Resorts has also signed a management agreement for its third resort in the tropical destination, while The Residence by Cenizaro has announced the launch of its second Maldivian property.
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 400 guesthouses in operation today.
Maldives welcomed a record 1.4 million tourists in 2018 — a 6.8 per cent increase from the 1,389,542 tourists that chose to holiday in the Maldives in 2017. Other factors such as average duration of stay, bed nights and occupancy also posted positive growth in 2018.
Atmosphere Core expands in South Asia with Atmosphere Living ultra-luxury residences
Atmosphere Core, a globally renowned name in hospitality, has announced the launch of Atmosphere Living as part of its continued expansion in South Asia. Headquartered in India, this new company will offer branded ultra-luxury residences with customised end-to-end amenities and indulgences, including coffee lounges, wine cellars, private transport, and bespoke concierge services.
The global branded residences market has experienced a remarkable 150 percent growth over the past decade, and projections indicate a surge in demand. With the real estate veteran Sandeep Ahuja at the helm as Managing Director, Atmosphere Living is strategically positioned to capitaliSe on this demand.
Atmosphere Living will focus on a conscious design philosophy. All properties will be built in harmony with the environment and will incorporate features such as smart recycling, efficient waste and water management, and green energy solutions.
Sharing his insights on the launch, Salil Panigrahi, Managing Director, Atmosphere Core, said, “Atmosphere Living will bring a distinctive offering to India, and is a brand to watch out for. It will combine Ahuja’s decades of experience, knowledge, and industry network in real estate with Atmosphere’s hospitality expertise, introducing unparalleled serviced residences in India.”
Positioned in major metropolitan areas, established second-home destinations, and undiscovered scenic locales nationwide, these projects will also present lucrative investment opportunities. Elite homeowners will have the option to lease their residences back to Atmosphere Living, allowing them to be rented out for income generation.
Sandeep Ahuja, Managing Director, Atmosphere Living, said, “There is currently a gap in the Indian realty landscape for ultra-indulgent serviced homes catering to affluent consumers. We aim to bridge this gap by curating serviced homes that offer indulgences such as entering homes using smart key cards, 24/7 butler services, fine dining, and co-working spaces, among others. Our ultimate desire is to enable our customers to experience a life of true luxury and exclusivity.”
A night of celestial wonders, luxury, and cosmic inspiration at Anantara Kihavah SKY Observatory by British astronaut Tim Peake
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas celebrated a historic milestone with the exclusive visit of the renowned British astronaut, Tim Peake. On the evening of November 2, Astronaut Peake hosted an exclusive space talk at SKY Observatory, the finest overwater observatory in the Indian Ocean, housing the most powerful telescope in the Maldives.
Perched gracefully over the pristine Maldivian waters, SKY Observatory provided an idyllic setting for this extraordinary event, complemented by a stunning sunset. The exclusive gathering attracted a full house of eager guests to a delightful evening that seamlessly blended science, luxury, and natural beauty.
The evening commenced with a lovely cocktail reception, where guests were serenaded by the soulful tunes of a live saxophone band. Attendees savoured exquisite cocktails and canapés as they eagerly awaited Tim Peake’s presentation.
Tim Peake’s talk unveiled his personal journey, where he shared his path to becoming an astronaut and narrated the rigorous training that astronauts undergo. He provided insights into life in space, the daily challenges faced by astronauts, and the awe-inspiring experiences he encountered during his
historic mission. He also offered a glimpse into his exciting future projects, leaving the audience both inspired and spellbound.
Following Tim’s presentation, an interactive Q&A session allowed guests to engage directly with the British astronaut. The audience posed thoughtful questions, deepening their understanding of astronauts’ unique experiences and the intricacies of space exploration.
The event was further enriched by the presence of the resort’s three SKY gurus, Hammadh Rasheed, Zunnoon Ahmed, and Ali Arushal, who conducted a stargazing session for the guests afterward.
The success of the event was evident in the overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees, who left with a deeper appreciation for space exploration and a memorable evening to cherish.
The evening marked a significant moment in Anantara Kihavah’s history, showcasing the resort’s commitment to offering unique and memorable experiences for its guests. The presence of Tim Peake, a celebrated astronaut and highly accomplished author, added an extraordinary dimension to the resort’s already spectacular offerings.
Tim Peake is a renowned British astronaut who made history as the first official British astronaut to visit the International Space Station (ISS) and conduct a spacewalk during his six-month mission. He also achieved the remarkable feat of running the London Marathon from space. Beyond his extraordinary space endeavours, Tim is also a bestselling author with his most recent book Space: A thrilling human history published earlier this month.
An astronomer’s paradise, Baa Atoll in the Maldives, is one of the best places on earth to enjoy stargazing due to its proximity to the equator. Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas promises a voyage of discovery on a private Indian Ocean Island, with Sky—an overwater observatory and luxury cocktail bar—providing guests a chance to sip champagne under the stars and explore the Universe.
Visit Maldives website adds atolls segment to showcase diverse regions
Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation’s (MMPRC/ Visit Maldives) has added a new segment to the official Visit Maldives Website specified for atolls showcasing the diversity of the Maldives.
The segment, now live at atolls.visitmaldives.com provides in depth information regarding the different regions of the Maldives, divided by atolls, to refine the traveller’s experience, commencing with an in-depth exploration of Addu Atoll and Fuvahmulah Atoll.
With 26 atolls, the Maldives offers a wide array of unique accommodations and awe-inspiring travel experiences, and this informative section of our website will serve as a gateway to discover the hidden treasures unique to each area. This falls under MMPRC’s initiatives to encourage tourism growth in all regions of the Maldives, broadening exposure to the diverse tourism products available in the Maldives.
The goal is to elevate Visit Maldives’ digital marketing landscape by showcasing the Maldives as more than just a honeymoon destination with various accommodation options. This initiative is driven by a desire to increase awareness about the distinctive offerings within each of the Maldives’ atolls. It aims to positively shape their perception of the Sunny Side of Life brand by curating engaging content that highlights the unique features of the atolls and diverse experiences available in the islands.
Additionally, the initiative will target the affordable luxury market to promote the Maldives as the most appealing option for short holidays and weekend getaways under a unified Maldives brand umbrella.
MMPRC aims to continue exploring other atolls in the Maldives as well, encouraging growth and tourism development in all regions of the Maldives, building on the foundation we have created to promote the destination beyond the traditional paradigms of sun, sand, and sea.
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