Addu Council to arrange financial assistance for tourism zone land recipients

The Addu City Council has launched a campaign to provide financial assistance to those who received land from the tourism zones.

The city council met with the SME Development Finance Corporation (SDFC) officials and requested them to provide funds to assist those who received land from Addu's tourism zones in developing the land.

In August, the land was handed over to the winners of the bids for the development of guesthouses and tourist hotels in the tourism zones of Addu. They are six plots in the Hithadhoo zone, two plots in the Feydhoo zone, eight plots in the Hulhudhoo zone, and seven plots in the Meedhoo zone.

Speaking to AVAS, Addu City's Deputy Mayor Mohamed Shuau said the biggest challenge facing tourism development in Addu is the lack of financial assistance. However, the meeting with SDFC has given hope that the challenge would be addressed in some capacity, he said.

SDFC officials also held separate meetings with the tourism zone landowners. The bid winners also shared that their main concern was obtaining funds for the development of the land.

"The Addu City Council was the intermediary between the SDFC and the bid winners. The main purpose of this meeting was to convey the concerns of the bid winners to a corporation like SDFC. That has been done. We are looking forward to seeing the results," Shuau said.

According to the Addu Council, SDFC will provide loans to land recipients under certain policies. However, the council did not comment on the amount that would be issued by SDFC.

Shuau further said the amount issued as loans would vary for different people as the plots were allocated at different prices. Therefore, it is difficult to say the exact number, and only SDFC can comment on it. He also said the meeting also discussed additional assistance that the SDFC could provide to expand tourism in Addu City.

"Everyone is aware that the law has been amended to reduce the rent of land in Addu City in a bid to expand tourism in Addu. It is a huge sacrifice by the government. This was done to develop and expand tourism. The development of guesthouses and hotels in these lands is expected to attract more tourists," he said.

In addition to SDFC, the council is also working with other banks to provide financial assistance to those who received land from the tourism zones in Addu, he said. In this regard, discussions are underway with the Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB), he said.

The establishment of 8000 tourist beds in Addu City is a presidential promise of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Last July, Addu City's Mayor Ali Nizar said the president's goal would be achieved within two years. However, tourism experts say that the goal is not achievable in the near future with the country's current economic situation and resources.