Sri Lanka and Maldives must jointly promote tourism targeting both destinations, said Minister of Finance Maldives, Ahmed Munawar.
Speaking to ‘Daily News Business’ he said that this will not be a completion but a compliment for both nations. He said that both countries have two different products to offer and joint promotions would help to increase arrivals to both countries. “One of the biggest advantage is the high air connectivity between the two countries.”
Minister Munawar said that Maldives tourism and economy had being growing steadily and up to July they have received 700, 000 arrivals and this year they will come close upon the 1.5 million mark. “We have seen bed nights increasing by 7% while there is also a sharp 14% increase in capacity. There has being a double digit growth from the European market and this may be the reason why 10 new resorts were opened last year alone. We see the growth in tourism continuing and the government is now investing heavily in to tourism infrastructure mainly targeting the international airport. The government has invested US $ 800 million for airport expansion and when completed it would be able to accommodate up to 7 to 10 million passengers. The present capacity is around 1.5 million.
In addition even the world’s biggest aircraft A380 too would be able to land in Male’s new airport which would be ready by end 2018. “In addition the government would further invest US$ 40 million for the development of regional airports.”
He also said for the first time the Country has received an international rating and they have also floated a bond to raise US$ 200 million and due to high demand closed it at US$ 400 million.
The Minister said that in a bid to attract a conference and meeting (MICE) market they would also build a large conference hall in Hulhumale Island which is now linked to the main airport by a road.
“We are promoting Hulhumale as a destination for people to live in comfort and with huge apartment complexes, luxury bus transport service (a first for Maldives) lot space for recreation and leisure. We have also requested people living in heavily congested Male and far away lasiandras to come and live here. But this is purely voluntarily.”
He said that they hope soon they would be able convert some of these less inhabited islands to build resorts.
He also said that the government is also investing over US$ 400 million in building a bridge over the sea linking both Hulhumale, International airport with the capital, Male. “We expect this to be ready by end of 2018.”
Commenting on the Hotel Asia exhibition that was concluded in Male he said that it helped the tourism industry and specially to enhance culinary skills of Maldivians.
Sources : dailynews