Tourism in the Southernmost tip of the Maldives have been one of the oldest, yet challenged in terms of growth and development- especially with two partially state-owned resorts that have not been in operation. What is your take in overcoming this decades-old obstacle and solution to develop tourism in the Southernmost islands, whilst transforming it to the country’s second hub for tourists?

PUBLISHED October 01, 2021

Fawzan Faried
Country Manager, Maldives
Sri Lankan Airlines
It is really unfortunate that Tourism Ministry overlooked one of best location in Maldives which is beyond beach! Historical monuments in Addu especially English colonial monuments are not marketed Fuvahmulah has its own unique mangroves as well as Mud bath which is available exclusively in this region has not been exposed to the world yet along with unique diving sites. If these areas are marketed properly, if the tourism could intervene and take some interest, certainly projected tourism arrivals could be increased by another 10-20% to Maldives. Stakeholder involvement such a Tourism Ministry, Regional Tourism, National carrier, Domestic Airline operators is mandatory as SriLankan Airlines is readily available to extend our international connectivity to southern Maldives
We have to make sure that there is demand for Addu tourism. Where there no demand businesses wouldn’t be successful.
Undoubtedly Southern Islands of Maldives are the most beautiful ones. Governments have neglected the interest of Southern People and its potentials. While Maldivian Resorts has been positioned as world’s finest, there should be some who are responsible for not positioning South in Tourism’s Scope.
Tourism in Addu has huge potential. In the past government only half-heartedly put an effort to develop tourism, lacking a good vision and strategy. Necessary connectivity was not established. For international flights to operate to GAN, there needs to be sufficient amount of beds, with Fuvahmulah, Huvadhoo and Addu combined it is possible but the required domestic connectivity wasn’t ever established. Addu also has the greatest opportunity for growth in guesthouse tourism due to its unique geography. Natural beauty, rich culture and history. Adduans are the most experienced in Maldives for hospitality. Hopefully with the new policies on tourism lease rent reduction, and government’s efforts to increase tourist beds and establish domestic connectivity will change the whole dynamics of southern tourism in Maldives.
As with any tourism business in Maldives, the access to tourists is a key deciding factor on the success or failure for the tourism in the Southern zone of Maldives. We are relying mostly on domestic transfers from Velana International Airport to the Southern zone. There are a number of significant issues including the high price of the domestic transfers, lack of flight schedule in advance, last minute changes to the flight timings, and other difficulties in working with local carriers. Key issue which the local carriers point out is the lack of sufficient tourist traffic to bring down the cost and to have regular frequent flights. Sufficient traffic would only come when there are a good number of beds and the investment to have this bed inventory is dependent on tourist arrival at a cheap rate. This leads to a catch-22 situation. Currently the Ministry of Tourism is working very hard on solving this issue through bringing together all relevant parties involved including domestic flight operators, travel agents, Atoll and Island Councilors, Parliamentarians representing Southern Zone and property developers including resorts, guesthouses and liveaboards. The government is also focusing on bringing international charter flights and scheduled flights directly to the Southern zone. Having international flights landing at GAN airport combined with the seaplane operation from GAN catering to the southern atolls could be the answer to make the Southern zone a success.