President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has a solid plan to open three more resorts in southernmost Addu, the main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) 's Parliamentary Group leader and Hithadhoo North MP Mohamed Aslam has said.
Expanding tourism in Addu City and adding 8,000 beds into service is a presidential ledge of President Solih.
Speaking to AVAS regarding the pledge, MP Aslam said the government is not building 8,000 beds in Addu City by directly spending from the state budget but by assisting the efforts. He said that the government has a good plan to dredge Addu to build three resorts.
"The government is providing assistance to dredge Addu to accommodate three more resorts, to further develop Here'there' and expand the guesthouse business," Aslam said.
Aslam said 91 plots of land have already been allocated to private individuals to develop the guesthouse business in Addu City. The government intends to provide loans to these people to develop guesthouses, he said.
Aslam also responded to allegations that the current government hindered tourism in Addu City. He said former President Mohamed Nasheed increased the lease of Addu City's first resort, Vilingili, to MVR 2 million, which was initially leased for a low price during the rule of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
"Initially, the land was leased for MVR 500,000. Later, in 2010, when MVR 8 was charged per sqm, increasing the price to MVR 2 million. The same thing happened to Here'there'," Aslam said.
Aslam said President Solih's government is giving high priority to the development of tourism in Addu City. The current government reduced the lease rates for land leased for tourism, and MVR 2 is now charged per sqm, he said. Asa a result, investor interest in Addu has increased significantly, he said. Resort projects that were at a standstill have also been resumed, he added.
Noting further that the government is doing everything necessary to fulfill its promise to develop 8,000 beds in Addu, Aslam said the government is also working to reduce land rents, allocate land for guesthouses, launch more airlines to the city, and build roads in Addu. These efforts would contribute towards adding 8,000 beds, he said.
The MP noted that Fly Dubai recently signed an agreement to start flights to Addu City. This will connect Addu with more than 250 airports from different parts of the world and will provide tourists from other countries with the opportunity to stay in Addu in the near future, he said.
"This government brought the biggest development to Addu. It is President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's pledge to establish equality. He is doing that regardless of whether it is a small island or a big island. The government has a broad vision and a strong plan to develop Addu and expand tourism in the city," Aslam said.