Government on Wednesday announced plans to develop a 500-room city hotel in the southern atoll of Fuvahmulah.
Tourism minister Moosa Zameer told reporters that the integrated tourism project in Fuvahmulah will commence in six months, after the completion of a similar project to develop 60 guesthouses in the island of Kaashidhoo in Kaafu atoll.
The minister said that the project worth MVR 400 million (USD 25 million) will be financed through foreign loan aid. The city hotel will be developed in 20 blocks, with a separate convention centre accompanying the development, he added.
“Fuvahmulah has so many unique geographical characteristics like a diving spot just for tiger sharks. We can carry out this project in such a way that the natural beauty of the island’s wetlands and mangroves as well as the lifestyle of the people can be showcased to visitors,” the minister said.
“We receive complaints about the limited air connectivity to Fuvahmulah. But with this project, we will be able to develop at least 1,000 beds in the city and increase flight frequency.”
Being the only one-island atoll and the third largest natural island in the Maldives, Fuvahmulah features a diverse range of habitats, ranging from tropical woodlands and wetlands to freshwater lakes, well-vegetated marshland areas, white sandy beaches of different variations and pebble texture plus gravel beaches and fertile lands of humus greater in area than any other island in the Maldives. Two freshwater lakes in the island plus the many number of swamps and marshland areas in the island give habitat to different plant and animal species not to be found anywhere else in the Maldives.
A nature park developed to promote eco-tourism has recently opened in Fuvahmulah. Visitor centres and boardwalks have been built in Fuvuhmulah’s Eydhigali Kilhi, offering tourists access to the aesthetic beauty of the wetlands and various plants previously hidden from view.
However, the island lacks proper facilities for tourism, except a domestic airport. Only a handful guesthouses provide accommodation to visitors.