Significant interest in islands up for sale: Tourism Ministry

The Tourism Ministry has said there is significant demand for the islands put up for sale by the ministry.

The government initially announced that 18 islands were up for grabs for resort development purposes during an Investment Forum held at the Dubai Expo last year. The islands were opened for bidding on January 17. The ministry later added three islands in Shaviyani atoll to the list of islands: Sh. Dhigurah, Medhurah, and Mairah, increasing the number of islands up for lease to 21.

At a news conference held Thursday, the ministry's Deputy Director Ali Shinan said the ministry was receiving several inquiries regarding the islands. He noted that the interest in the islands is more compared to previous islands.

While the government initially said bid submission would end for all 21 islands on February 27 and 28, the Tourism Ministry has extended the bid submission deadline until March 17. The ministry said the deadline was extended by 23 days due to the economic and travel restrictions caused to countries due to the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron. The ministry said it would like to extend additional opportunities for investors in the current situation.