The Maldives Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has sold the Herethera Island Resort in Addu City for US$33 million to Singapore’s Canaries Private Ltd.
Of the four companies that submitted bids following a public announcement to sell the resort on December 18, MTDC said in a press release on Monday (March 31) that the Singaporean company submitted the highest bid.
The agreement to transfer lease holder rights for the resort was signed on March 31.
The press release also noted that following the sale of the resort property the MTDC has repaid a loan obtained from the Bank of Maldives for developing the resort.
In June 2013, MTDC’s board of directors decided to sell Herethera – the government-owned company’s biggest asset – for US$30 million to a company with a majority stake owned by local tourism magnate ‘Champa’ Hussain Afeef.
MTDC Managing Director Mohamed Matheen told newspaper Haveeru at the time that the decision was made to sell Herethera to Afeef’s Treetop Investment Pvt Ltd because the government corporation did not have the finances to profitably operate the resort.
He added that a large investment was needed to fix problems with the beach and the environment of the resort in the southernmost atoll.
Herethera was the first resort developed and opened by MTDC while Afeef was chairman of the government’s tourism company.
Tourism pioneer Afeef meanwhile told the local daily that the Herethera development would take place in conjunction with the development of the international airport in Gan.
In November 2012, thirty percent of the Addu International Airport Ltd (AIAL) was sold to Afeef’s Kasa Holdings to raise finances to develop the Gan airport in Addu City.
However, the decision to sell the resort to Afeef was reversed following the election of President Abdulla Yameen.