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Blackstone to acquire three Anantara resorts in Maldives, reports say

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US venture capital firm Blackstone is set to acquire the leasehold rights of at least three resorts in Maldives from Thailand’s Minor Hotels, media reports said Saturday.

Several local media reports said that Blackstone had offered to acquire the leasehold rights of three Anantara-branded resort islands, along with the island, which houses the staff facilities of the three resorts: Dhigufinolhu island, home to Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort; Veliganduhura island, home to Anantara Veli Maldives Resort; Kudahura island, home to Naladhu Private Island Maldives; and the staff island of Boduhura.

The islands are situated within the same lagoon, in close proximity to capital Male and the main Velana International Airport.

Meanwhile, the Maldives tourism ministry had issued two separate notices to clear any debt or claims on the islands before the lease transfer — a legal requirement for transferring leasehold rights of tourist resorts in the Maldives.

In addition to the three resorts being sold, Minor Hotels owns and operates Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas in Baa atoll and Niyama Private Islands Maldives in Dhaalu atoll.

Despite the sale, the resorts will reportedly be run under Minor Hotels’ Anantara brand.

This is the third major investment in the Maldives by Blackstone, the largest alternative investment firm in the world.

Blackstone had earlier this year acquired the leasehold rights of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort from local owner Crown Company for an undisclosed sum. The resort continues to be run managed by Hilton Worldwide, under its flagship Conrad Hotels and Resorts brand.

In February 2013, Blackstone acquired controlling stakes in Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) and its sole competitor Maldivian Air Taxi (MAT). The two seaplane operators were merged under the TMA brand, creating the largest seaplane operator in the world.

A consortium led by US-based Bain Capital and Chinese conglomerate Tempus Group had in 2017 bought TMA from Blackstone for USD 550 million.

This latest sale comes amidst increased activity in the Maldives hospitality industry, with real estate consultancy firm JLL estimating that that the industry will see its most active year with more than USD 450 million worth of resort transactions either completed or under offer.

Traditionally dominated by Asian investors, the Maldives is now attracting new sources of cross-border capital from Europe and the US. In the first six months of the year, investments from new sources of capital represent USD 300 million, compared to the annual average deal volume of USD 120 million per year.

In April, German-based Seaside Hotels & Resorts acquired Finolhu Maldives, a resort in Baa atoll, for approximately USD 90 million.

Cover photo: Ananatara Dhigu Maldives Resort, Anantara Veli Maldives Resort and Naladhu Private Island Maldives. PHOTO: Faisal Photos

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Indian influencer Niki Mehra in Maldives

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Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/ Visit Maldives) hosted a familiarisation trip with Amilla Maldives for high-end influencer, Niki Mehra, from India to experience the luxury and romantic offerings of the Maldives from 3rd – 6th May 2024.

The familiarisation trip was a great opportunity to Niki Mehra, a renowned Indian model, fashion, beauty and travel content creator and social media influencer with over half a million followers who has carved a niche in the Indian fashion industry with her unique sense of style. During her time in the Sunny Side of Life, Niki Mehra showcased luxury to romantic experiences of the destination.

The trip promoted Maldives through social media platforms of Niki Mehra while highlighting experiential itinerary offerings of the Maldives. Additionally, the influencer trip assisted MMPRC in propelling growth in the luxury travel segment and honeymoon market by showcasing the Maldives as a premier honeymoon destination for the Indian travellers.

The Indian market has been a strong market for the Maldives over the years, currently ranked number 6 with 46,970 tourists as of 13th May 2024. Additionally, MMPRC showcased the Maldives in OTM and SATTE held earlier this year. MMPRC is committed to boosting the arrivals from the market and has exciting marketing activities planned for future, including joint campaigns, familiarisation trips, participation in major events and other campaigns which provides numerous opportunities to showcase the breathtaking Maldives to the market, attracting more Indian travellers.

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130 hotels in The Prestige Collection with 4 Maldives properties

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The Prestige Collection has reached 130 hotels in its portfolio, continuing to uphold quality and excellence as core pillars. It represents the most exclusive selection within Keytel, the world’s first alliance of independent hotels.

Since its establishment in 2007, The Prestige Collection has been dedicated to meeting the growing demand for luxury hotels, becoming a reference for hospitality industry specialists. Despite its focus on independent hotels, the collection has successfully attracted prestigious properties from international luxury chains such as Rosewood Villa Magna, Mandarín Oriental Ritz Madrid, and Fairmont Mayakoba in Riviera Maya. These hotels view The Prestige Collection as a complement to their commercial strategy for attracting luxury clientele.

With a prominent presence both nationally and internationally across 36 countries, The Prestige Collection shines in with four distinguished resorts: Baglioni Resort Maldives, Diamonds Athuruga Maldives Resort & Spa, Diamonds Thudufushi Maldives Resort & Spa, and Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa. Internationally, the collection boasts emblematic properties like Armani Dubai, Café Royal in London, The Pierre in New York, and Kappa Senses in Ubud, Bali, among others.

The collection categorises hotels into four distinctive categories, highlighting ideal places to disconnect, properties in vibrant urban settings, coastal options for those seeking serenity, and unique experiences for those seeking singularity.

Furthermore, this milestone coincides with the relaunch of its new experiential website platform. This platform offers users and industry professionals the opportunity to explore the collection in greater detail and drives qualified traffic to the official websites of member hotels.

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Waste Management Corporation (WAMCO) Marks a Significant Step Towards Transforming Urban Waste Management

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Waste Management Corporation (WAMCO) marked a significant step towards plastic waste management with the adoption of dedicated vehicles handed over to boost this transformation of urban waste management supported by The Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives.  

In March 2024, UNDP Maldives officially handed over a fleet of six vehicles to WAMCO, which included two electric vehicles (EVs), as part of an initiative aimed at enhancing waste management across the Greater Male’ Area (GMA). This acquisition, facilitated through the financial support of TCCF paves the way for a crucial advancement in bolstering PET collection efforts and tackling the challenge of plastic waste in the Maldives.

“This initiative marks a significant step towards boosting recycling rates and combating environmental pollution in the Maldives,” stated Pek Chuan Gan, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Maldives speaking at the handover ceremony. “Integrating electric vehicles into WAMCO’s fleet and improving PET recycling processes not only lowers carbon emissions but also pioneers renewable energy use in waste management. It’s a vital move for steering the Maldives towards a sustainable and renewable-powered future.”

The provision of electric vehicles marks a continuation of UNDP Maldives’ support to the Government’s vision to introduce renewable energy in key sectors such as waste management that significantly contribute to the country’s renewable energy transition ambition. By embracing clean energy solutions, such as electric vehicles in waste management practices, the Maldives can further reduce its carbon footprint and move closer to achieving its renewable energy goals.

“Utilizing eco-friendly vehicles is a pivotal change for WAMCO, signifying a major leap towards modernizing waste management in the Maldives,” remarked Mujthaba Jaleel, Managing Director, from WAMCO. “This collaboration highlights the shared commitment to environmental stewardship and the potential for such partnerships to catalyse meaningful progress in sustainability and about the positive impact these vehicles will have on our operations and the environment.”

Representatives from UNDP Maldives, WAMCO, and The Coca-Cola Foundation’s unified efforts towards a sustainable future. Photo courtesy: CIAO Advertising.

“Our commitment goes beyond just recycling; it’s about fostering a culture of sustainability,” remarked Saadia Madsbjerg, President, Coca‑Cola Foundation and VP Community Affairs. “By enhancing waste management in the Maldives, we aspire to set a benchmark for environmental stewardship.”

For The Coca-Cola Foundation, together with the stakeholders, the aim is to propel Maldives towards a future where plastic circularity is not just envisioned but actively pursued. By channelling resources and expertise into the heart of waste management, TCCF has made a sizeable contribution in enhancing and attracting investment to this crucial sector in the Maldives. This initiative is a testament to TCCF’s commitment to fostering sustainable practices and promoting the reuse and recycling of plastics, thereby reducing environmental impact, and paving the way for a circular economy.

The fleet handover event held on March 18, 2024, served as a celebration of collaboration in waste management. Representatives from UNDP Maldives, WAMCO, The Coca-Cola Foundation, government officials, and stakeholders came together to mark this significant step and reinforced their collective dedication to building a more sustainable future for the Maldives.

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