The Maldives Tourism Minister, Ibrahim Faisal, has outlined plans to revitalise the development of stalled resort islands. In an interview with Mihaaru News, the Minister emphasised his priority to address the lack of revenue generation from underdeveloped islands that were allocated for resort development many years ago. He aims to complete the development of around 25 of these islands during his tenure.
Minister Faisal noted that 63 islands remain undeveloped, some having been allocated for resort purposes for up to 25 years. Funding issues have been cited as a major obstacle to development. To address this, the Economic Council will identify challenges faced by developers and propose solutions to be submitted to the cabinet for approval.
The Minister stated that many undeveloped islands would be offered to the market under revised policies and regulations. Efforts will also be made to find “fair solutions” for islands where some investment has already been made. He highlighted the lost revenue potential of these stalled projects, noting that the tourism industry offers the most straightforward path for the state to increase income.
According to the Tourism Ministry’s “Fiscal Risk Statement”, approximately MVR 26 billion (USD 1.7 billion) in revenue is lost annually due to the lack of development on islands allocated for tourism. Kaafu Atoll has the most significant number of stalled projects, with 29 non-operational resorts.
Former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih also attempted to tackle the issue by significantly reducing penalties for companies failing to pay rent associated with stalled developments. Minister Faisal expressed optimism that 25-30% of the islands could be brought to market.