Hulhumalé Development Corporation (HDC) Chairman Hassan Ziath has revealed that the next phase of Hulhumalé’s development will include a monorail to Ibrahim Nasir International Airport.
In an interview with Haveeru, Ziath explained that the monorail would be designed to serve the growing number of tourists visiting guest houses in the capital’s suburb.
“Even now, 80 percent of tourists who visit Hulhumale are transit passengers. If we make it more convenient for them to travel to Hulhumale, it would increase injection of foreign currency into economy,” he told the paper.
Hulhumalé is currently home to 10 of the Maldives’ 199 registered guest houses, and is connected to the airport island of Hulhulé by a causeway allowing buses to take passengers between islands.
“It would be a big developmental step, especially if we are able to facilitate more activities targeting tourists,” said Ziath.
Reclamation for phase two of the island’s development would begin next month, he told Haveeru. The work – awarded to Belgian company Dredging International – will expand the size of the artificial island from the current 188 hectares to 410 hectares.
The financing of the US$60 million project will rely largely on loans from the Bank of Ceylon.
Ziath said that experts had advised a waterway be maintained between the two reclaimed areas, with four 50 metre bridges planned to connect the two. The most prominent of the government’s proposed ‘mega projects’ involves a bridge connecting the main island of Malé with Hulhumalé.
The HDC head explained that the island – already envisioned by President Yameen as a ‘Youth City’ with modern industry and facilities – will also include a tourist island and additional city hotels.