Tourism Minister Ibrahim Faisal has recently emphasized the government’s renewed focus on completing existing, unbuilt resorts rather than allocating new islands for resort development. In a conversation with the media, Minister Faisal highlighted the ongoing efforts to address the challenges of 63 unfinished island resorts. He noted that while the government is prioritising these existing projects, it remains open to proposals from competent companies interested in developing new resorts.
Faisal acknowledged the significant challenge of bringing these 63 islands into the tourism market, stating that the government is actively exploring potential solutions. One key aspect of this initiative is revisiting lease agreements. The minister mentioned that the government is compiling a list of parties interested in modifying their lease terms and is in the process of arranging meetings with them. He expressed optimism about making swift progress in these endeavours.
The minister identified the absence of a dedicated investment bank in the Maldives as a major impediment to resort construction. He pointed out that building a four-star resort requires an investment of around USD 25 million, a sum that current banking institutions in the Maldives are not equipped to finance, particularly for newcomers in the tourism sector. This financial bottleneck has led to many projects stalling after initial phases of investment and development.
Faisal also touched on the process of acquiring islands for resort development, explaining that the acquisition cost is often disclosed to attract investors. However, he observed that even with investor involvement, some projects have halted mid-way due to various challenges.
The discussions regarding the unfinished resorts are being conducted in a cooperative spirit, aiming to find viable solutions. Minister Faisal affirmed his commitment to amending lease agreements if necessary to facilitate progress.
In an effort to boost the tourism sector, the minister expressed his intention to attract investors from China. This move is part of a broader strategy to invigorate the Maldivian tourism industry and ensure the successful completion of the numerous pending resort projects across the nation’s islands.