Over 700,000 tourists visit Maldives first half of the year

More than 700,000 tourists visited the Maldives in the first seven months of this year, Tourism Ministry has revealed.

The number of tourists, who visited the Maldives from January to July 2011, increased by 18.3 percent to 520,483 compared to the 439,864 tourists in the same period of last year.

According to the Tourism Ministry, tourist arrivals to the Maldives in July increased by 26.7 percent to 72,516 compared to the same period of last year.

Statists revealed by the ministry show that China dominated the tourism market in the first seven months of the year with 103,734 tourists, which accounts for 19.9 percent of the total arrivals.

UK is the second-most contributor to the Maldives tourism industry with 60,021 tourists (11.7 percent) and Italy follows on the third with 53,493 tourists (10.3 percent).

Tourist arrivals from China increased by 65.6 percent from January-July 2011 while the number of tourists who visited the Maldives from UK and Italy decreased by 6.1 percent and 3.8 percent respectively.

Maldivian resorts operated 24,156 beds in the past seven months while the tourists spent 7.2 days on average. The average occupancy rate of the resorts stayed at 80.1 percent.

Source: Haveeru News Service

Maldives records 56.7% growth in Chinese market

The Maldives received more than 65,000 Chinese tourists in the first five months of this year, a 56.7 percent increase over the same period of 2010, according to the latest figures.

Figures from the Maldivian tourism authorities show that the number of Chinese tourists to the Maldives accounted for 16.6 percent of the total foreign tourists from January to May, ranking top of foreign visitors, followed by Italy with 47,900 tourists, Britain, Germany and France.

The Maldives, a popular tourist destination for Western tourists, has witnessed a rapidly growing number of Chinese tourists in recent years.

China became the Maldives’ largest tourist market in 2010, generating 120,000 tourists.

In an interview with Xinhua in early May, Mariyam Zulfa, Maldives’ minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said the number of Chinese tourists to the Maldives are expected to rise to a new high in 2011.

The Maldives’ tourism authorities said China’s fast growing economy has made more and more people afford to enjoy overseas holidays.

Other major factors in attracting Chinese tourists include unique sand beaches, visa-free access and a variety of water sports.

The country’s tourism department plans to launch non-stop flights between the Maldives and China’s inland cities.

Four Seasons Resorts Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy 2011

Surfing goes five star and beyond from August 29 to September 5, 2011 at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa.

The Maldives is set to host the world’s most exclusive surfing event this August featuring six world champions, a leading five-star surfing resort, a luxurious 39-metre three-deck catamaran, and perfect reef break waves.

Conceived in conjunction with luxury surf pioneers Tropicsurf, Four Seasons Resorts Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy will see the sport’s biggest legends – including four-time world champion Mark Richards of Australia – compete across three disciplines that showcase the evolution of modern surfing. Competitors will contest the Single Fin (1970s), Twin Fin (70s and 80s) and Thruster (80s onwards) divisions for USD 25,000.00 prize money while enjoying the spoils of Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa.

Recent publicity is highlighting what the locals have known for years: that the Maldives is home to some of the world’s most impressive, consistent – and warmest – swells. Seven-time world champion Layne Beachley is looking forward to embracing the challenge in style. “I’ve never been to the Maldives and I can’t think of a better way to go than in five-star style,” says the Sydney surfer. “It will be back to basics in the ocean while living it up on land.”

Also included in the legendary line-up is 1988 world champion Barton Lynch of Australia, with three other surfers yet to be announced.

Never before has a surf competition amassed such a high-profile field in such exclusive surroundings. “It’s the ultimate surf competition showcasing a hand-picked field of iconic champions with the latest surf craft available,” says Event Co-ordinator and General Manager of Tropicsurf Mark Winson. “We’re talking about six of the sport’s most acclaimed surfers taking on old rivals while competing for high stakes in some of the best surf on the planet.”

Guests will rub shoulders with the contest’s participants in Kuda Huraa’s vibrant village-like resort – home to competitors, judges and supporters alike for the duration of the event.

The Resort’s all-inclusive four- or seven-night Champions Trophy package – available from August 29 to September 5, 2011 only – will also get right on top of the action with competition day passes aboard Four Seasons Explorer and three half-day surfing passes with Tropicsurf. The package also includes luxurious full board accommodation (excluding beverages); combined recreational activities including diving sessions, shark safari, dolphin cruise and sunset fishing; a Surfer’s Massage; nightly sundowners on Sunset Beach and a 50 percent discount off round-trip airport transfers via speedboat.

Maldives to waive import duty on environment-friendly vehicles

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The Cabinet has decided to waive import duties on electric and renewable energy powered vehicles to boost the government’s initiative to promote the import and use of environmentally friendly products.

Deliberating on a paper presented by the Ministry of Economic Development on waiving import duties on environmentally friendly products imported to the Maldives, the Cabinet also decided to waive import duties on solar panels and solar panel batteries used in marine vessels.

The Cabinet noted that most of the vehicles and marine vessels used in the Maldives rely on fossil fuel – petrol and diesel – and therefore, it was important to give a duty incentive to encourage the import of eco-friendly vehicles and renewable energy products used in vessels.

The Cabinet decided that import duties on these vehicles and products would be waived in accordance with on documentation issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declaring their eco-friendliness.

In addition, the Cabinet deliberated on the matter of introducing a feed in tariff system to encourage adoption of renewable energy in order to attain carbon neutrality goal, secure energy security and reduce dependency on imported oil.

After discussing the matter, the Cabinet, to encourage private investments in renewable energy, decided that the regional utilities companies would purchase electricity produced by renewable energy companies to the grid at the rate Rf3.50 per unit of electricity.

The Cabinet decided to subsidize 50 laari from each unit of electricity, produced using renewable energy, purchased by utilities companies.

Further, the Cabinet decided to waive import duties on raw materials and equipment imported for agriculture, fishing and poultry industries to increase local productivity and develop industries with potential of import substitution.

Cabinet also recommended seeking a 15000 sq ft land in Hulhumale to establish a detoxification centre, a halfway house and other drug rehabilitation infrastructure to be built with international donor assistance.

Source :: Haveeru

Maldives to take legal action over continued New Seven Wonders bid

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) has issued a warning statement given the fact that the New Seven Wonders is still counting Maldives as a contender, after the country’s Cabinet announced it was pulling out of the competition.

The corporation issued the statement following a statement by the New Seven Wonders that Maldives will continue to be a contender despite the government’s decision and an article published on the Minivan News website.

The corporation said it tried to contact New Seven Wonders via email and phone, but to no avail.

MMPRC, which stressed that the government is the sole authority that can do anything under the country’s name, said it approved the Maldives entrance to the competition as it was authorised with the government’s seal and signature.

The statement read, “If the country’s name is used in the competition without the government’s approval, there is no option left but to take legal action.”

In a statement, New Seven Wonders earlier said the organisation has accepted the resignation of the Maldives Ministry of Tourism as the Official Supporting Committee for the Maldives. However, proposals have been made for an alternative Official Supporting Committee for the Maldives, the organisation added.

Meanwhile, Maldives Association for Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) earlier revealed its plan to work jointly with other associations, including the Maldives Association for Construction Industries (MACI), Liveaboard Association of the Maldives and Maldives Association of Yacht Operators (MAYA), to ensure that the Maldives remains in the competition.

MMPRC said the Maldivian government is the only party authorised to take decisions regarding the Maldives participation in the contest, according to the agreement.

The corporation, which raised dubious questions in the statement, noted that following the government’s request to reduce the amount of pay required to stay in the competition, New Seven Wonders asked a third party for funds to sustain the country in the competition.

MMPRC also raised doubts about the authenticity of the voting system.

Source: Haveeru News