The Male’ City Council has decided to introduce a park entry fee for foreigners visiting parks in Male city’.

The decision came after a council member proposed that a park entry fee should be levied on expatriates entering Sultan Park and Lonuziyaarai Park. The proposal was deliberated and approved at the council’s weekly meeting. Under the decision, the council will impose varying fees for tourists and foreign workers residing in the Maldives.

During the meeting, Male’ Mayor Dr Mohamed Muizzu addressed the issue, drawing attention to the fact that many other countries also enforce park entry fees for foreign visitors.

“It’s a civilised approach and not considered discriminatory. Put simply, it is a normal practice,” the mayor stated.

During the discussion, council members noted the growing number of expatriates and tourists in the Maldives and voiced concern about the limited availability of parks and public spaces for local residents to enjoy and relax. Recognising this pressing issue, the majority of council members present at the meeting approved the imposition of fees on expatriates and tourists.

The council says it will finalise the exact fee amounts to be charged within the next two weeks. The council plans to begin implementing the fee structure by June 15.

A fee was previously imposed on foreigners when Sultan Park underwent renovations. The park was reopened during the tenure of President Abdullah Yameen. However, this practice was discontinued with the change in government in 2018.