Published On: Wed, May 13th, 2015

Laamu Integrated Resort Development Project driving tourism in Maldives

six_senses_laamu_aerial__5636-large_Maldives is comprised of over 1,190 islands, of which 200 are inhabited and 112 are exclusive resort islands. The population of Maldives is approximately 360,000, a third of which live in the capital Island of Male. The natural beauty of the islands and the marvelous marine ecosystems attract tourists from all over the globe to the Maldives. Tourism in Maldives began in around early 1972, with the arrival of a group of tourists from Italy. The volume of international travelers has risen rapidly since then. The achievement of one million visitors for the first time in a year in 2013 marked a milestone in tourist arrivals to the destination. While tourism is the largest and fastest-growing industry in the country, it has been described as the driving force of the Maldives economy. Over the years, Maldives has been successfully positioned and branded itself as a world-class destination under the main branding slogan “Maldives…sunny side of life” communicated as a uniform message in all marketing messages.

Reflecting the importance of tourism to the Maldives economy, President Yameen has outlined “Laamu” Integrated Resort Development Project for guest house islands in the PPM (Progressive Party of Maldives) tourism manifesto which is the embodiment of President Yameen’s vision for guest house islands. An integrated approach to resorts, works to achieve a balanced development that satisfies economic, environmental, and socio-cultural objectives through controlled planning and implementation of resort projects. A long-term project development taking over a period of many years at times, an integrated project involves constant monitoring and control at different phases of development to ensure that the basic concept can be adapted to changing circumstances as well as changing market demands.

This project will responsibly expand the tourism product of Maldives to the mid-market segment with social and economic development for the region. With the vision of becoming Maldives’s first integrated resort development, this project will kick-start the country’s mid-market property segment while giving opportunity to invest in tourism to the small and medium businesses. This project offers investment opportunities in prime sites for mid-market hospitality developments as well as sub-sector developments. This project will be designed in such a way that the investors will have common infrastructures such as electricity, sewerage, water, and jetty services developed, while the investors can come in and start their developments.

The project is specifically targeted for investments in prime sites for mid-market hospitality developments as well as sub-sector developments.

The Laamu Integrated Resort Project will create an opportunity to capitalize on the strong expected demand originating for the growing market specifically mid-market, with each property type being positioned to cater to the specific requirements and needs of the expected demand generators.

The Laamu Integrated Resort Project development consists of: management offices, staff quarters, sports and recreation zones, emergency services, hospital, 3 plots for a water sports center, 3 plots for a dive school, 6 plots for specialty restaurants, 3 plots for a spa and wellness center, and 20 plots for guest shops.

The project also includes 4 beach resort hotels which are land and sea-based villas that will be the leading hospitality asset within the project. A further 10 plots of beach hotels with 10,000 square feet and 35 plots of beach hotels with 5,000 square feet are also included under this project. The project proposes to have the dedicated 3 beach front plots of 5,000 square feet each for the development of exclusive beach clubs which will be the first of its kind in Maldives. Furthermore, jetties are also included in the project as well as large open spaces and green parks.

The strategic location for the project would be the currently untouched atoll of Laamu, which is renowned for diving and fishing. The island will be accessible via a 40-minute domestic flight from Male international airport, followed by a short 20-minute boat ride.

The project offers a significant number of opportunities for investment, supported by key sub-elements all of which drive growth and sustainability to the region.

This project will be designed as such that each investor can come in and start their developments as it will have common infrastructures like electricity, sewerage, and water and jetty services developed.

Benefits of investing include investors will have the right to 100% ownership (local as well as foreign) and investment will be legally backed. Other benefits include overseas arbitration of disputes; freedom to repatriate profits and capital proceeds; and freedom to use foreign managerial, technical, and unskilled workers. With no exchange restrictions, investors will be guaranteed a long-term lease of land.

Development of a beach resort plot in Laamu is estimated at $12 million, with an acquisition cost of $1,000,000. The risks are minimal as Maldives has one of the highest RevPARs in the world and has a firm travel demand. This plot is a great opportunity for capital growth value with a projected internal rate of return of 20 percent.

Government policies on foreign investment have also relaxed in the Maldives, allowing leases to be extended for 50-year terms for this plot. Compared to other markets, the Maldives offers attractive returns, which makes this a great investment opportunity.