Addu City Council aims to assist in the development of 2000 guest house beds in six areas across the country’s southernmost atoll.
The council’s Guesthouse Tourism Promotion Board – to be established this week – will also oversee five diving centers, six watersports centres, six restaurants, and a sailing club.
“The biggest problem we have in Addu right now is lack of job opportunities. Adduans work in tourism all over the Maldives,” explained Mayor Abdulla ‘Soabe’ Sodiq.
“This venture will allow them to work in their home islands and also open up opportunities to start their own businesses.”
Guest house development on inhabited islands was a key election pledge of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, to which all members of the Addu City Council belong.
The party also campaigned in all recent elections with the pledge to strengthen decentralisation, pushing to increase the role of councils in development.
The US$20million venture is seen by the council as the best way to bring tourism development to the atoll which, despite being the country’s second largest urban area, is home to just 3.6 percent of the industry’s registered bed capacity.
With a recent tourist survey showing that 80 percent of tourists – who numbered over 1 million in 2013 – travel under an hour from Malé’s Ibrahim Nasir International Airport to reach their destination, Addu’s council has also recognised Gan International Airport to be vital to the scheme.
Ahmed Hamed, owner of the atolls only registered guest house – the Charming Holiday Lodge in Meedhoo Island – also feels transport to be the key issue Addu’s full participation in the mid-market sector which has grown from just 22 to 171 registered businesses in five year.
Hamed suggested that the potential for expansion in the atoll is great, but will have to take place in tandem with airlines providing more, and cheaper flights to the atoll.
Less than an hour from the capital Malé, the average price of a domestic flight to Addu is currently similar in price to longer haul tickets to India or Sri Lanka, with Hamed noting that much of his time as a guest house owner has been spent campaigning to get cheaper deals from local carriers.
Having opened his business last year, Hamed already plans to triple his guesthouse’s bed capacity in the coming months.
“People will come to Addu – I have many friends who want to come,” said Ahmed. “If there are more guesthouses I’m sure this will be okay for the airlines.”
Echoing a figure given by the council, Hamed suggested 3000 beds to be the necessary size for a successful guest house industry in the atoll.
During today’s press conference, the council revealed that work to develop Gan Airport – formerly a British RAF base – was ongoing.
The council’s guesthouse promotion board will also assist prospective guest house owners in finding land for 25-year lease periods, in obtaining 70 percent of construction expense, in making connections with tour operators and management companies, as well as staff training
In a document detailing the venture, two sites in Hithadoo – the second largest populated island in the country – have been identified for new developments, as well as single sites in the neighbouring Maradhoo, Maradhoo-Feydhoo, Feydhoo, and across the lagoon in Hulhumeedhoo.
Those who are interested are requested to send a letter or an email to Addu City Council secretariat before 3:00pm on June 30.
Photo by: Naj
3 thoughts on “Addu City Council reveals plans to develop 2000 guesthouse beds”
Yameen's government won't allow this to happen. Anything that will divert attention from Male will not be tolerated. There are simply too many powerful oligarchs in the land owning class in Male who have vested interests in keeping the rest of the population enslaved into paying them extortionate amounts of rent.
Addu's potential has been there since the day RAF left Gan in 1976. Much of that potential has now diminished and disappeared completely. Nasir and Gayyoom chose to ignore that potential for a very specific purpose, which is no secret to anyone. That continues with the present government.
Just take a look at the stranglehold put on Gan airport. In the proper hands, it has the potential to dwarf anything at INIA, and indeed can become a regional hub. If the people of Addu are determined, anything is possible. In today's world, innovation trumps anything else.
With good planning, project management and just the right amount of resources, I'm sure the City council can pull this off. It will require a lot of very hard work, but will be worth the effort.
Good start for Adduans to get out from Fishing Chain, If the head of fishing chains do anything to stop this, then it is time to revolt. Adduan desperately need independence from the backward fishing chain so they can at least live in their homeland with pride and peace. Just develop tourism, open an international airport and a port, Adduan can live a happy and decent life.
I believe all the atolls with potential like laamu, haadhaal, haa alifu etc need to be developed like this and offered the opportunity to expand their local economies. Of course the same tourism laws and regulations with taxes must also be applied, so that the overall development of the country is not compromised.
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