MDP manifesto proposes increasing local ownership in tourism industry

The presidential manifesto of the main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has included the introduction of an investment fund to increase the ownership share of locals in the tourism industry.

The comprehensive economic policy in the manifesto calls for the establishment of an investment fund to increase local ownership share in the tourism industry and provide local businesses with the capital they need to invest in keeping pace with bigger foreign companies. The policy also proposes to invest in the development of liveaboard and guesthouse businesses and providing technical and financial assistance to create world-class Maldivian hospitality management brands.

The manifesto also proposes government-supported investments in areas with international airports to increase bed capacity for the sustainable operation of international flights in the north and south of the country. The north and south will be marketed as separate tourist destinations to introduce new products and attract more visitors.

The manifesto emphasizes connecting local tourism businesses with resorts to boost opportunities for smaller businesses and enhance the economies of local islands.

Establishing a world-renowned hospitality school in the Maldives to provide skills and education to take local workers to the forefront of the tourism industry is also a plan outlined in the manifesto.

Moreover, the policy includes the introduction of new tourism products that reflect the country's rich heritage, culture, and religion of the country. A modern center reflecting the nation's history, ancient life, and monuments is part of the plan. There are also plans to create a convention island with an entertainment complex to host major international conferences in the Male' area.

To diversify the tourism industry, the manifesto proposes establishing cruise terminals and service facilities in the north, south, and Male' regions to cater to major cruise lines. Additionally, specific areas in the Maldives will be designated to support MICE tourism. Housing schemes will be offered to industry workers from urban centers near tourism resorts, making social and economic opportunities easily accessible.

The manifesto also outlines plans to provide tourism leadership scholarships to 500 Maldivians within five years to achieve the goal of reserving 50 percent of senior positions in resorts for Maldivians.