Significant increase in bed number expected with introduction of homestay

A significant amount of tourist beds will be added to the market with the introduction of 'Homestay Tourism' in the Maldives this Saturday.

Introducing Homestay Tourism is part of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's administration's 'Blue Economy' manifesto. Three years into the current term, the administration is set to launch the concept in two days at a special ceremony in M. Maduvvari. President Solih himself would be participating in the function.

The homestay concept will have a similar style to 'Airbnb'. Speaking on the program, an official from the Tourism Ministry said he personally believed that 1,200 new beds will be added to the market during the first year of launching the homestay program. The program will be kicked off in Dhiggaru island with 50 beds, and the Tourism Ministry expects 250 additional beds to be put on the market during the current council term.

The homestay regulations will be published in the national gazette on Thursday. The regulations prioritize security and the sustainable development of the business with minimum negative impact on local communities. Revenue generated from the homestay program will be taxable at the same rate as local guesthouses. The regulation also delegates several responsibilities to island councils.

Speaking at a press conference held Wednesday, Executive Director at the Tourism Ministry, Ali Razzan, said some guesthouse regulations were eased to introduce homestay. In this regard, the rules were amended such that households with guestrooms can be registered to provide hosting services. Additionally, strict measures are in place to ensure the safety of all tourists, Razzan said.

With the exception of tourist beds at high-end resorts, most beds are available in local guesthouses. While liveaboards also have several beds, tourist beds available through homestay are expected to increase significantly.