Further investments in tourism infrastructure – Tourism minister supports sustainability and renewable energy
Like ITB Berlin itself, this year’s partner country, the Maldives, is commemorating a memorable occasion. July 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Germany. At today’s opening press conference at the world’s largest travel trade show the Honorable Moosa Zameer, Tourism Minister of the Maldives, looked back at the beginnings of tourism, which is now the island nation’s single most important industry. What began in 1972 with just two resorts with a total of 280 beds has now expanded to more than 33,000 beds. In 1984 the Maldives exhibited for the first time at ITB Berlin. Germany was and still is an important market, according to Moosa Zameer: “From the very start of the development of tourism Germany has been among the top 5 in terms of arrivals, and number one for visitors from Europe. In 2015 we welcomed 105,132 holidaymakers, and this year we hope to receive even more German visitors. The Maldives is your destination, and we hope that the close links will continue”, Moosa Zameer stated at the opening press conference.
Among the ways that this is being achieved are by making further investments in the country’s infrastructure. For example, work on expanding Ibrahim Nasir International Airport has already begun, and further investments are planned in international airports and in increasing bed capacity. Moosa Zameer expects that tourism will receive a fresh impetus from the port facilities that are currently under construction, which are intended to tap into the cruise market. Much attention is also being paid to sustainable tourism and renewable energy in the Maldives. The industry has already launched such initiatives as Gasfinolhu Island, which will be powered solely by clean energy. The Green Resort Award is again being used as a means of inspiring the providers of tourism facilities to commit to a greener lifestyle.