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Maldives offers resort construction period extension over virus disruptions



Many a developer involved in the construction of Maldives resort properties recently suffered project delays due to Covid-19 related lockdowns, shutdowns and interruptions.

More often than not, construction and development of a tourist resort happens with a combination of certain key factors: money, resources and time.

Any unwelcome time lags in the construction of a resort can affect the developer in many ways. It may result in breach of the construction permit, increased project costs, deterioration in workmanship, claims for compensation, renewal of permits – all having a degree of financial overlay.

It is not disputed that a Covid-style lockdown like the one we experienced recently would have resulted in cost increases with regard to labour material and equipment directly contributing to expanded field overheads.

It would have affected the ability to mobilise adequate manpower due to glitches in submitting documentation, seeking timely approvals and transporting them. It would have affected the timely import of materials, clearance and transportation of goods to locations due to interruption caused to supply chains. It would have also caused a series of concurrent delays where one component when held up has a cascade effect on rest of the components of the project.

Some of these developers who were affected by the lockdown communicated their concerns to the ministry of tourism. As a matter of relief, they requested that the construction period be extended to accommodate lost time.

The government seems to have appreciated their concerns in an amendment it brought out on June 22 to the Construction Period Extension Regulations.

The amendment enabled developers to apply for an extension of the construction period by an amount commensurate to time lost due to restrictions imposed or suffered pursuant to the public health emergency in effect since March.

According to this recent policy intervention, the developer in applying for relief should describe the delays encountered by the project due to restrictions imposed; define the period lost from the construction period; and provide documentation to support the claim.

On review of the application, if the ministry of tourism is convinced that delays did occur to the project and those delays are attributed to actions taken pursuant to the emergency (including lockdowns and shutdowns), the period lost from the construction period would be reimbursed in the form of an extension to the construction period. This extension will not attract a fee payment.

It may be noted that the construction period extensions provided in exchange for Covid-related disruptions would only entitle the developer for a commensurate extension of the construction period to accommodate time lags. This extension will not change the total lease period of the property.

The relief provided by this policy is limited to two things: the fact of reimbursement of time lost from the construction period, and this extension being granted without a fee.

This new rule is significant for a key reason: the lease agreement ordinarily provides the first 36 months of the tourism lease as a rent free period to develop the resort property. This is the three-year construction period.

Often times, the development of the property is not completed during that construction period for a host of reasons including insufficient or lack of funding, variations, changes to design drawings, and all sorts of other delays attributed to the supply chain. In these circumstances, an extension is invariably sought.

Extensions are generally granted to the construction period on application and payment of a prescribed fee. The fee is calculated at a base rate, charged on a per month basis, and prescribed in the regulations. The fee is applicable for each month of extension added to the construction period.

In consideration of this fact, the lease rent that would otherwise be levied from the end of the initial 36-month construction period (and applicable even during extensions) is deferred to be paid at a later date.

The key takeaway from this recent amendment is that qualifying applicants would be able to gain at least one to three months of extension to their current construction period, without the need for payment of an otherwise payable monthly fee.

Note: This article has been reproduced and adapted to fit our publishing guidelines with permission from its author: Nasheed & Co., a commercial law firm in the Maldives. The original article can be viewed here.


Maldives celebrates arrival of 2024’s 1 millionth tourist



Maldives on Thursday welcomed the one millionth tourist to visit this year.

The one millionth tourist is a Thai named Sutapa Amonwivat, who arrived from Singapore with her husband and two children. This is her second visit to Maldives.

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) and the Ministry of Tourism gave a warm welcome to Sutapa at the Velana International Airport (VIA) Thursday afternoon. She was welcomed at the VIA by tourism minister Ibrahim Faisal, MMPRC Managing Director Ibrahim Shiury and senior officials of various relevant agencies.

After welcoming her with traditional offerings, she was presented with various gifts by the ministry, MMPRC, customs, immigration, Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) and Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA).

Maldives reached one million tourists in June, three weeks earlier than last year. The number of tourists reached one million on July 16, 2023.

Maldives expects to reach 2 million tourists this year.

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New air route connects Chongqing to Maldives



Chongqing Airlines on Monday began its inaugural flights to Maldives.

The Chongqing-Male route, scheduled three times a week, is expected to strengthen the bonds between China and the Maldives, opening up exciting new opportunities for tourism and cultural exchange.

The inaugural flight was welcomed upon its arrival at Velana International Airport (VIA) in Maldives, where local officials and tourism representatives expressed their enthusiasm for this new development.

“We warmly welcome our friends from China to our beautiful islands. This new connection strengthens our bonds and opens up new opportunities for tourism,” the tourism ministry said on X.

Maldives currently welcomes four airlines from China, including China Eastern, Beijing Capital Airlines, Xiamen Airlines.

In January, Maldives government urged tourism stakeholders in both Maldives and China to ramp up efforts to restore China’s position as the primary source market for Maldives tourism, a status held before the onset of Covid-19.

China, being the largest source market for Maldives tourism before the pandemic, saw a resumption of tourist arrivals from January 2023 after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. In 2023, the Maldives welcomed 187,118 Chinese tourists, marking a significant recovery in numbers. This year, the Maldives has welcomed the most number of tourists from China, with over 107,940 or 11.5 percent of total arrivals by June 12. 

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CROSSROADS Maldives Introduces Weixin Pay at resorts for seamless guest experience



CROSSROADS Maldives has introduced WeChat Pay, widely known as Weixin Pay in China, across its world-class resorts, SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, and Hard Rock Hotel Maldives. This payment option is made available to enhance the convenience and overall experience for guests from China, making their stay in the Maldives more enjoyable and hassle-free.

Understanding the needs of the diverse guests, CROSSROADS Maldives has integrated WeChat Pay into operations, allowing guests from China to easily and securely conduct transactions using a payment method familiar to them. The introduction of WeChat Pay is a testament to CROSSROADS Maldives’ dedication to enhancing guest satisfaction by offering exceptional experiences at every turn. What is also expected through this initiative is that the guests could benefit from better foreign exchange rates, translating to better savings on their expenditures during their stay.

The option is available for guests in-house conveniently at both resorts as well as across the Marina at CROSSROADS Maldives where a wider variety of unparalleled dining and retail experiences are available for all guests. The day visitors from China will also therefore equally benefit from this new introduction at the Maldives’ premier multi-island integrated leisure destination.

SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, is a vibrant tropical escape that offers unique and locally inspired experiences. The resort features spacious rooms and villas, a variety of dining options, and an array of recreational activities designed to cater to the desires of modern travellers. Guests can escape to the island’s SAiisational natural beauty, enjoy water sports, and indulge in spa treatments, all while relishing the personalised service that defines Hilton’s Curio Collection.

Hard Rock Hotel Maldives brings the iconic Hard Rock spirit to the tranquil shores of the Maldives. This family-friendly resort offers a perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment, featuring music-inspired experiences, live performances, and the brand’s signature amenities. With luxurious accommodations, diverse dining options, and a plethora of activities for all ages, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives ensures an unforgettable holiday experience for every guest.

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