Several resort managers have voiced concern that revenue raising measures proposed by the Finance Ministry will affect the financial viability of the tourism industry while providing little improvement in service or support in return.
“We are going to protest this if we have to. Surfing is part of our culture and has been for many years. Even my grandfather used to surf,” Maldives Surfing Association member Ahmed Rifaee told Minivan News.
Proposals for the creation of a series of five man-made islands to support leisure developments such as a 19-hole golf course in the Maldives are expected to become a reality by the end of next year, project developers have told UK media.
“Some of the best surfers in the lineup are locals, that’s for sure,” said Tropicsurf director Mark Winson who is co-ordinating the Maldives Domestic Champions Trophy, to be held August 27 to September 2 alongside a showdown between six world champions.
The Soneva Group, owner of the upmarket eco-concious Soneva Fushi resort, has sought to clarify the facts surrounding allegations in the UK’s Private Eye magazine.
“When the government decides that a project be stopped, we will make sure this happens,” said President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza.
The Maldives has recorded a 6.1 percent overall increase in tourist arrivals for June 2012, compared to the same period last year, according to figures from the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).
Attempt to have “Sunny Side of Life” slogan become an online trend among Twitter users hijacked by allegations of human rights abuse, according to international media reports.
The government has pledged commitment to further guest-house development in the Maldives after issuing a circular cautioning local councils that the allocation of public land for tourism purposes must have ministry approval.