Minister of Tourism Ibrahim Faisal is currently visiting islands leased for tourist resorts where developments have stalled. He visited the island of Maarendhoo in Gaafu Alifu (GA) Atoll over the weekend.

The current administration has pledged to give special priority to resolve issues where development on tourism projects had stalled, whereby depriving the state of land rent and other ancillary revenue.

Maarendhoo was leased to a Chinese company in 2016; however, development had stalled since 2019, Faisal noted, adding that residents of Kolamaafushi Island in Gaafu Alifu Atoll were eager to see work on the project to be completed.

Faisal said a special committee has been formed to find a solution for resort developments that have stalled.

“Around 50-60 percent of the work on this island is complete. So if we work well, we will be able to complete it in two years,” he said.

An estimated US$1.7 billion (MVR 26 billion) is lost annually from leased tourism islands where development has stalled.

The majority of stalled resort developments are in Kaafu (K) Atoll, where 29 projects are in limbo and have not yet gone into operation. Around 10 resort projects in GDh Atoll have stalled.

While there are currently around 63 islands where projects have stalled, 25 of those will be completed and brought to market within the next five years, Faisal had said earlier.

The biggest problem facing many resort developments was the lack of funds, he said, adding that the administration’s Economic Council has now decided to identify problems faced by such developments and facilitate solutions for those projects. Faisal said last month that he would soon submit proposals along those lines to the Cabinet.