The Tourism Ministry has announced that a special task force will be formed to reopen the Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in Addu City, the Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa. The resort has remained closed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the Tourism Ministry, high-level discussions have taken place with senior executives from Shangri-La Hotels, focusing on the reopening of this luxurious resort located on Villingili Island.

“This crucial step underscores our commitment to revitalising tourism in the area and achieving substantial progress,” stated the Ministry.

Lawmakers representing Addu City also attended the discussions, although it sparked online criticism, alleging interference by parliament members in the government’s mandate—the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC) holds a supermajority in parliament.

Shangri-La Resort in Villingili is a 284-bed facility, featuring 60 water villas, 26 beach villas, 28 pool villas, 16 treehouse villas, and two presidential villas.

Initially, the Maldivian government held a 30 percent stake in the resort, while the government joint-venture company Addu Investment Pvt. Ltd. held the remaining 70 percent. However, in August 2023, the government decided to divest its shares due to financial challenges arising from the resort’s prolonged closure during the pandemic.

The closure of the resort significantly affected employment, leading to job losses for many staff members from Addu City who then sought employment elsewhere.

Tourism Minister Ibrahim Faisal earlier emphasised the administration’s commitment to reopening Shangri-La Villingili Resort. The Muizzu administration also aims to reopen Shangri-La Resort before international flight operations resume at Addu International Airport.