Addu council looking beyond single island resort model for mid-market push

Addu City Council has announced plans to kick-start a project aimed at attracting mid-market tourism to the region in a change of policy from the country’s established one resort per island policy.

Following in the footsteps of developments on the island of Gan in Laamu Atoll, Addu City authorities have said they will develop areas of the city as a Asseyri (Beachside) Project.

The project represents a tourism development plan by which guest accommodation, alongside recreation and entertainment facilities, will be developed in a specific area with each commercial component being rented out to different parties. The system differs from the country’s established tourism model that has generally been based on a single enterprise operating a resort property exclusively on a designated island.

The announcement of the Addu City project follows a cabinet decision made earlier this year to create an integrated tourism development policy.

“We have identified the areas we want to develop for the Asseyri project, and we have sent the proposals to the Tourism Ministry for approval,” says Abdullah Sodiq, Mayor of Addu City.

The two areas ear-marked for development under this project are the Maafishi Area of Hulhumeedhoo Island and the start of the Hankede area, Hithadhoo.


Moving away from the existing one island, one hotel tourism product, an Asseyri project aims to open up venues to allow larger numbers of local entrepreneurs to participate in the Maldives’ lucrative tourism sector.

The project will also open up doors for budget and mid-market tourists to visit Maldives, diversifying the Maldivian tourism product, according to developers.

A pilot Asseyri project was launched by the Tourism Minister Dr Mariyam Zulfa in Gan in March. According to the proposed plans, two 300 bed hotels, 69 guest houses, as well as a number of restaurants, spas and sports/recreational facilities will be developed on the 25 hectares of land located on the western beach side of the island.

In trying to emulate the Gan project, Mayor Sodiq said “the Addu Assyeri project will also be a multi-owner project; with lodgings and other facilities like restaurants, spas and sports areas each being owned by a different enterprises.”

The proposals for the Addu project have now reportedly been drawn up and sent to the ministry for approval.

“The tourism ministry shared with us the details of their ongoing project at Gan and has been very supportive of our maiden venture into this area,” Sodiq said.

Addu City Council hopes the project will give a boost to the local economy by creating more job opportunities and helping with aims to increase the GDP of Addu Atoll within the next three years. It will also attract more visitors to the city which is already home to properties like Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa.

Finding developers

Tourism authorities in the country have also pledged to try and assist the Addu City beach-side developments.

“We are holding discussions with Addu City Council to plan their Asseyri project,” says Moosa Zameer Hassan, Deputy Director General at the Planning Department of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

Hassan added that the Tourism Ministry was currently working to change its approach to the Gan Asseyri project after evaluating project proposals that were submitted ahead of a June deadline.

“We received two proposals, one from a local company to do the water and sanitation component of [the project], the other from a foreign company to develop the hotel component. At present we are negotiating with both parties,” Hassan said. The initial idea for the project was to try and find a party interested in the total development of the whole area and to lease out the different components of it afterwards, though tourism authorities are now reviewing this.

“The area is very big that might be the reason [for the review]. So now we are going to put out a tender for the development of hotels and guest houses, and hold discussions with the local council for them to rent out the land plots for other components of the project like restaurants, spas, recreational facilities and such,” Hassan claimed.

Aslam Moosa, a representative for Gan Island Council said he and his fellow members had been kept in the dark regarding the project.

“Yes, I have seen the area marked on the map, and heard the announcement for the proposals, but nobody has held discussions with us on the project,” he added. Moosa claimed that the council was presently only involved in the development of a 300 bed hotel by an Indian Company in Gan.

Hassan confirmed that discussions have not been held since local councils were elected. in February. “But we hope to hold discussions with them and to be able to rent out plots of land within two months,” he said.

While the tender for hotels would be open to foreign parties, bidding for running guest houses will be only for locals, Hassan stressed.

“Guest houses have always been protected investments just for locals. By law, the Tourism Ministry’s involvement is vital as guest houses and hotels can only be leased by them. The ministry does not envisage giving priority to residents of the Atolls involved,” he said. “Bidding for guest accommodation will be a process open to all Maldivians. Though local councils can decide if they will prioritise residents of their island in the bidding for involvement in other components of the project.”

Meanwhile, Addu City Council has said it is finishing up the administrative work for the Asseyri project and would soon be drawing up the final plans.

“We are very confident that our proposed plan will be approved by the ministry. It will be well regulated, we will assign land areas and have a limit on the height of the buildings.”

The tentative date to complete the tender for the Addu Asseyri project is by September. However, Sodig says actual physical work on the project will be put off until December, to enable the scheduled 17th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit to go without any hitches.


9 thoughts on “Addu council looking beyond single island resort model for mid-market push”

  1. Its sounds good.But in reality it will not work yet in Addu.We all have good visions but the prob is finacially we are incapable .When talking about mid market.Think twice before you say it.How people can go there.Is it by a Mega air line or by the ferries beteen Maldives and neibouring right!!Look at th condition of Gan airport.It should be the first priority.Do we really have equipped international airport facility and infrastructure??.I do not think so coz i use that airport every now and than!!!
    I can also make the map and have the drawings of hotel or guest house and build it too .But who will stay there,is it people from Fua Mulah!! no right coz they will have their own airport and they have better hospital etc... and they are more developed than Aduu.I know it coz i go Fua Mulah very often.

    Is this planning is for the next three years only!!! that sounds Stupid!!!

    Look at our Health care service,water,roads,seawages,education etc...we need those basic needs in first place have it done on first hand and then can go for the next step.

    When we say Addu city i am ashamed of our living condition.Roads are flooded from rain and muddy ponds everywhere.If you are on bike or car feels same like in rough sea in the middle of storm.Mosquitoes everywhere.its really big in size and they can eat people alive.

    Mr Council Of Addu atoll .I want c addu to be developed in a near future and its my dream too.But please try to estabish our basic needs at first.Thats what i want c in next three years.If not lets wait and c the big picture.We are not sleeping.

  2. Bravo Addu city Mayor, have your own concept plan.
    Only Adduans can do their own planning and do things. You have Adduans in tourist industry that has the capacity to invest and also technical skill, request them to get involved in the development of their atoll.

  3. There is a huge Indian middle class and upper middle class who will spend on good quality consumer electronics and branded sports wearer.
    This is a market that Addu city can get. Indian businessmen in Hog Kong could be your investors for necessary shops.

  4. Hi I agree with previous letter. You need to sort out the basic requirements of addu before trying to build for the tourist Market place. Sort out the basic first, ie litter, rubbish disposal, roads, sewerage then see about other hotels/guest houses etc. Also tourists require alcohol, how is that going to be managed ?

    Addu has come a long way since we left, but still has a long way to go. Give the people what they deserve first, before the tourist.

    I return every year so I do know what I am talking about, not some sentimental rubbish.
    Steve Ellis

  5. Firstly, much as I would like a plan like for this to work for Addu, I'm unsure about the feasibility of this project.

    It's easy enough to say "mid-market" tourism; but what does that mean? What are you trying to sell? Addu doesn't have the traditional Maldivian beaches and crystal clear waters. Our environment is totally different. This necessarily means, we need to sell something else for the visitors. I really don't know what that would be.

    Do you think tourists are going to come and stay in bugalows in Hankede and just wander around sipping drinks all day? They won't have access to the traditional Maldivian beach experience. Even though it'd be "mid-market", there has to be something tangible they can't get elsewhere for the money. Diving perhaps, but then again, that market may not be suitable for this project.

    The main problem here is this: Addu has long past its "sell by" date in terms of bringing in external investment. There was a time when Gan could have been a focal point for the development of the whole region with the infrastructure we already had. However, after 30 years, we are way too late to this game. The world around has marched on and most projects like these are just not economically feasible anymore.

    Moreover, the central government is pushing ahead at "mega" speed with the development of even more projects around Male to the detriment of places like Addu and the rest of the country. This is the sad truth, dear Adduans.

  6. Imagine what will happen if these Atoll councils start formulating their own policies by passing "National" policies that are formulated by the relevant Ministries based on the greater good of the whole country.

    Wouldn't the role of the Central Government be irrelevant if the concerned Ministries are by passed?

    While there maybe some merit to the policy idea of developing Addu's tourism in a different way from the rest of the country, these ideas need to be adopted from a national level.

    As far as I am aware, the local councils are not mini governments and this is still a unitary Government.

    Certainly the councils must push for the development of their respective areas but this can be done by advocating the adoption of these local ideas and policies into the National Development frame work.

    As someone, with roots in Addu I wish every success for the development of Addu.

  7. Addu have been deprived of many things by consecutive previous governments.
    Auduans have brains and adequate finance with them so I believe there is no need for the center to spoon feed them. I believe the idea of decantation is that!

  8. I would like to know how you are going to get the amount of guests to fill all of these hotels and guest houses.Direct flights will of course help,but large airlines won't fly to Gan with just a few passengers,so how do you solve that problem.Subsidised flights might be the way to get the Gan visit started,but would your government/airport authorities give that support??..Once you get the tourists there,will everything be in place for them--alcohol/entertainment etc..Has anyone thought that if you want tourists to walk about your villages you will have to provide toilet facilities/hot/cold water..Remember you are aiming to attract hundreds of tourists so forward planning is a must..Can anyone tell me,why after becoming a city,with city councils etc,,why on earth is there so much rubbish lying around.Surely people could be employed to collect all of this stuff.There is an almighty pile of rubbish behind the old airmens mess on Gan,that must surely be a breeding ground for disease,,monsoon ditches blocked with rubbish,just a great place for mossies to breed..My suggestion to Addu--if you want to expand your tourist industry,,get the place cleaned up,,get the facilities in place,get the transport sorted so as you can offer Addu to the mid-range tourists at a sensible price,,get your council to really promote the atoll worldwide..Seems easy doesn't it,,but as with all ideas--where is the investment coming from..I wish you well..I've been to Gan many times,and I will come again,but you know as well as me,the place needs to be given a good overhaul..Good Luck....


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