Cruise liner-tender boats docking jetty closes to tourists

Maldives Association of Yacht Agents (MAYA) has expressed concern on government order to close down Jetty Number One from tender boat docking for tourists visiting capital city Male'.

The association responsible in managing high-profile cruise liner porting in Maldives had stated that Housing Ministry had placed the order restricting the docking of tender boats dispatched from larger cruise ships at Jetty No.1 since last week, completely restraining visits from tourists to the capital city for excursions or sight-seeing.

MAYA stressed that without a proper docking access for the tender boats dispatched from larger cruise ships carrying thousands of tourists, attempting to reach inland for excursions or sight-seeing could result in a slip in the tourism industry.

"Housing Ministry has declared the Number One Jetty inaccessible for tender boats carrying these tourists and while they [Ministry] had not directed us towards a proper docking site this has resulted in tourists unable to reach the mainland for their needs," an official who spoke on behalf of MAYA noted.

The yacht and cruise liner managed association asserts the only jetty with the capacity of receiving arriving tourists and sending off departures is Jetty No.1 right next to Izzuddeen Jetty - which is mainly used for the transportation of presidents' couple and high-profile delegates.

"We have been advised to use the new port at the south side of Male' [established near the industrial zone] for transporting tourists inland. But that place is unsafe and cannot easily accommodate these vessels carrying hundreds of people," the MAYA representative said.

He also stressed that their attempts to reach an agreement with Tourism Ministry and Housing Ministry had been unsuccessful so far.

"We contribute to the tourism industry in significant portion. Guests who are arriving to Male' from these cruise liners help to boost the local tourism in many aspects," he said.

Cruise liners have been porting in Maldives on a scheduled routine since November 2017, while two cruise ships are expected to arrive within the current month.

The businesses of taxis, guesthouses and several tourism related businesses such as souvenir shops, cafe' and bistros experience a boom of their business whenever a cruise ship docks at the capital.

"These are scheduled trips, falling into a routine and such decisions and actions could significantly hinder the businesses related to it. Even now a cruise ship has been docked 3.5 kilometers outbound of the capital while the regular docking period for these liners is roughly 3 days minimum," the official said.

Cruise ships not only boost local businesses but also contribute to generating considerable income to the state with an MVR 8,000 fee charged per day for liner docking. Additionally these liners are inclined to pay USD 600 per day for chartered licensing and another MVR 5,000 is collected as one-off for cruising permit.

Maldives Ports Limited collects MVR 30,000 while Transport Authority collects MVR 35,000 and Maldives Customs Service Collects MVR 2,000 for every cruise liner docking.