Tourism Minister Ali Waheed has revealed that islands will be leased for resort development from 12 atolls, and that the new resorts would open up 18,000 employment opportunities.
Speaking at a panel discussion at the 'Viyavathi' councillor's symposium ongoing at Crossroads Maldives, Minister Waheed said 8000 tourist beds will be created in the islands that will be opened for leasing on Wednesday.
"We are focusing on southern and northern atolls, [as per] the President's manifesto, the manifesto of Maldivian Democratic Party. The environment assessments and socio-assessments have already been conducted," said the minister.
Minister Waheed said arrangements will be made such that employees of the resorts can obtain training at locations close to the resort.
"Staff will be trained at locations near the island instead of traveling all the way to Male' to be trained. This will be achieved through collaborative efforts between the government and businesses, in the vicinity of the particular island," revealed Minister Waheed.
The tourism minister said tourists who visit Maldives want a pleasant experience, therefore, it is important to properly brand each island. Sea cucumber divers frequent the areas surrounding water villas, and councils and defence forces must be mindful of trespassers, said the minister.
"The councils are now empowered. My request is for councils to work alongside the government. The owners of the islands are the citizens. We are leasing the islands. The businesses to whom the island are leased to wish to maintain a close relationship with islands. After meeting with the resorts and islands, what became evident is that a city cannot form relationships. Therefore, the government will help forge a good relationship between the councils and the resorts," said the minister.