Tourism revenue to rise to US$ 4.9 bln with new resorts: Saeed

Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed has revealed the annual earnings from the tourism sector, with the opening of 50 resorts in a five year period, will increase to US$ 4.9 billion (MVR 75.6 billion) .

Speaking in the signing ceremony of the construction of the new terminal at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) Minister Saeed said currently, with 26500 beds and a 65 percent occupancy rate, the sector was generating US$ 3.2 billion annually.

Minister Saeed said with the sovereign guarantee for resorts under development issued by the Government and brand new resorts, a total of 50 resorts were expected to be opened. These 50 resorts, he said will add 12500 beds to the sector. Based on the current occupancy rates, Minister Saeed said that an additional US$ 1.7 billion will be added to the country. He said as a result, earnings from tourism will rise to US$ 4.9 billion.

Minister Saeed added that with these earnings, will provide sufficient funds to pay back loans taken to develop major projects. He said the loan repayment will be facilitated through earnings from the projects. Minister Saeed said there was no rationale behind the allegations made by the opposition, reiterating that the loans were taken after due consideration and review.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg of the economic development initiative by the President. This is just conventional tourism, without including other forms. This is why I'm calling our critics to do the numbers. Challenge us on numbers," Saeed said.

He said the strong decisions taken by the President had fueled INIA expansion. Minister noted that there were times when funding for the project had been under doubt, adding that the President had taken the right decisions at the right time. He said that he was sure the project would have never proceeded if it was not for the President.

"Tonight you see the first innovators of the tourism sector. Chairman Umar Manik, members of the Board, they all say that this President is a courageous one. Without taking those decisions, the airport cannot be developed," Saeed said.

Noting the Hulhule'-Male' bridge will be a project that will astonish the world, Minister Saeed said the beams of the bridge were installed by drilling to a depth of 60 meters. He said the project used the latest technologies and will be a feat of engineering.