Hotels and Resorts Investment Maldives (HARIM), a prominent player in the hospitality construction industry in the Maldives, enters into an agreement with Finland’s MEYER Floating Solutions to embark on a pioneering venture in luxury real estate development. The signing ceremony took place at the prestigious Kurumba Resort on July 5th, 2023. This collaboration marks a significant milestone in transforming the construction landscape of the Maldives.
Under this partnership, the first phase of the project will witness the creation of 13 luxurious over-water villas, situated in the pristine Villivaru region of the South Male’ Atoll. These villas will be developed using cutting-edge technology, 6F printing, and will redefine the concept of luxury living in the Maldives.
The signing ceremony was attended by esteemed dignitaries, including Chief Guest Mohamed Aslam, Minister of Housing and Infrastructure, and Guest of Honor Dr. Abdullah Mausoom, Minister of Tourism. The presence of leaders from the construction and tourism industries, both domestic and international investors, further emphasized the significance of this collaboration.
Mohamed Ali Janah, Chairman of HARIM, expressed his excitement about the project, emphasizing its potential to revolutionize the construction industry and elevate the luxury real estate sector in the Maldives. He highlighted the innovative financing approach, with plans to secure financing from the European Investment Bank to facilitate the sale of these exclusive villas.
Mikko Lahtonen, Partner and Director of MEA Meyer Floating Solutions, shared his vision for the project, stating their intention to introduce a new standard of quality in real estate development on water. He acknowledged the Maldives’ status as a leader in the hospitality sector and expressed their commitment to enhancing the country’s reputation by providing sustainable, high-quality construction solutions.
Minister Mohamed Aslam expressed his delight at witnessing this significant milestone, particularly as discussions around floating properties have been ongoing for over a decade. He highlighted the importance of embracing innovative changes in the construction industry, especially in the face of climate change. Minister Aslam expressed his optimism that this partnership would bring tangible results and contribute to the sustainable development of the Maldives.
Dr. Abdullah Mausoom, Minister of Tourism, echoed Minister Aslam’s sentiments, emphasizing the need to adapt the construction industry to the challenges posed by climate change. He expressed his enthusiasm for this groundbreaking project and its potential to bring about a revolution in the construction and real estate sectors.
The initial phase of the project will see the development of 13 high-end floating villas, which will be manufactured in MEYER Floating Solutions’ state-of-the-art factory and transported to the Maldives via sea where it will be placed at the designated location. These villas are set to be available for sale in the Middle East within the next two months. HARIM envisions this as just the beginning of a larger initiative, with plans to collaborate with local property and lagoon owners to develop more such properties in the future.
MEYER Floating Solutions, known for their expertise in overwater products, will play a pivotal role in implementing the project. Their portfolio boasts a wide range of highly customizable and sustainable floating solutions, perfectly suited for various industries and use cases.
As HARIM continues to push boundaries in the construction of exquisite island resorts, this partnership signifies their commitment to delivering distinctive excellence and embracing innovative approaches in the Maldives’ ever-evolving real estate sector.
China on track to becoming top source market for tourist arrivals by year’s end
Tourism Minister, Dr Abdulla Mausoom has said that China, to which Maldives opened borders earlier this year, will become Maldives’ number one source market for tourism arrivals by the end of the year.
So far this year, 133,962 tourists have arrived from China. That is 10 percent of the total 1.3 million tourists.
As of July this year, 78,158 tourists visited Maldives from China. Since then, more than 50,000 tourists have come from the country in the past one and a half months alone.
Russia has the highest number of tourists so far this year. 152,967 tourists have visited from the country so far, or 11.7 percent of the total.
The second most tourists have visited from India, which is 144,041 tourists or 11 percent.
“China, which is only 1.5 percent behind Russia and 0.8 percent behind India, is fast approaching Maldives’ number one tourist market,” Mausoom said.
He said if it goes at this rate, the Chinese market is expected to top the list before the end of the year.
Fee increased for tourist vessels docking in Maldives
Anew rule has been gazetted to increase the fees of tourist vessels coming to Maldives.
According to the rules, which were gazetted on Thursday, a tourist vessel must arrive in Maldives after arranging an agent to take care of business for the vessel.
Such agentship shall be available to people who have been authorized by the Customs to act as agents for foreign vessels arriving in Maldives under the prescribed regulations. If the agent assigned to the vehicle changes, the Ministry must be notified within three days of the change.
It shall be the responsibility of the agent in charge of any vessel brought into the Maldives under these rules to pay any fees or taxes payable before the vessel leaves. It is also the responsibility of the agent to obtain the permit and pay the fees as per the new regulations.
If the vessel is larger than 20 metres, the cruising permit holders will be required to pay US$100 per day to the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority during the period of docking the vessel in Maldives. Vehicles smaller than 20 meters will not be charged any fee for 90 days.
In addition, foreign tourist vessels docked and operating in Maldivian territory for more than one year will be allowed to do so upon payment of US$3,500 for renewal of the permit.
The ministry said that if the rules are violated, the violator will be fined a large amount. The rules, gazetted Thursday, impose a fine of $1,000 for the first violation, $2,000 for the second violation and $6,000 for more than two violations.
Most tourists visited from China last month
Data shows that most people visited Maldives from China last month after the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism, Sri Lanka achieved a growth of 1553.4 percent in the Chinese market in July.
China was the largest tourist market in Maldives until 2019.
Before the outbreak, 284,029 tourists arrived from China in 2019. This accounted for 16.7 percent of the total tourist arrivals that year.
The number of Chinese tourists fell sharply in March 2020 following the closure of the Chinese border during the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend continued until the border reopened this year after three years.
China resumed direct flights to Maldives on January 18, 2023. A total of 92,391 tourists visited Maldives from China as of July this year. The number of tourists that visited Maldives last month was 151,587 people. Out of that 28939 tourists were from China.
China is currently the third-largest tourist market in Maldives.
The Ministry of Tourism said the number of Chinese tourists has been growing rapidly in the past six months since China opened to travel. The ministry said it hoped to achieve pre-pandemic levels as soon as possible.
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