Maldives govt to boost guesthouse tourism in south

The Maldivian Economic Ministry and Tourism Ministry have started a joint effort to expand the guesthouse business in southernmost Atoll Addu City.

Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed said during a meeting with local businessmen at Equator Village on Sunday night that special projects will be conducted to expand the involvement of mid to lower level businesses in Addu City.

"We are starting a special tourism program directed at Addu City. These are ongoing efforts, and we will be starting more efforts directed to promote mid to low level guesthouse owners in the city very soon," Saeed said.

Minister Saeed said that expanding tourism in Addu is a primary objective of the government, and that the government had been working endlessly to achieve this goal, saying that the council's involvement was crucial to the success of the projects.

"The councils must be ready as well. The councils are there to convey the concerns of the public. So the elected councillors must be ready to work hand in hand with the government. This is an important issue today. The government is working for the benefit of the Maldivian people. However, the sad part is that the councillors don't do a good job of conveying the wishes of the people," Saeed said.

While noting on the efforts of the government to bring stability to the country, Saeed said that the economy can only improve if there is stability, stating that tourism will not move forward in a divided country. Saeed said that another important aim of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's government was ensuring stability in the country.

"Everyone here knows the things done in the past 40 years to expand tourism in this country, compared to the efforts undertaken in just the past three years. While work is ongoing in 22 resorts, we hope to start 50 new resorts within President Yameen's first term. The question is what is the cost of 50 resorts? My calculations show that it would cost a minimum of 60 million dollars. That means a total cost of three billion for all the resorts. The remaining question is how to secure this amount?" Saeed asked.

Saeed said that one of the first things President Yameen did after assuming office was securing the confidence of the international finance community, and that loans were coming in as a result.

"Due to this assurance, foreign finance institutions are providing local businesses with capital. This is the assurance we are talking about," Saeed said.

A 200 bed city hotel is also currently on the drawing board for Addu City.