Southern Maldives will become ‘extremely’ popular with Huvadhoo International Airport: Minister Mausoom

Minister of Tourism, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom | Photo: Tourism Ministry

Addu City, Maldives – Toruism Minister of Maldives, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom has stated that the southern Maldives will become an extremely popular tourist destination when the proposed Huvadhoo International Airport opens.

The international airport is to be developed in Huvadhoo atoll to promote international connectivity to the atoll which currently has nine resorts, one tourist hotel and three guest houses. Huvadhoo atoll boasts the most number of islands in a single atoll in the world with 255 islands within its boundary.

Minister Dr. Mausoom’s remarks on southern tourism being linked to the Huvadhoo International Airport comes while government has failed to develop Addu International Airport to help the tourism sector in southern atolls which had been crippled following the Covid-19 pandemic.

While government has made various promises to develop Addu International Airport, no substantial work has been carried out so far. The last project announced for the Addu International Airport which was to connect Huvadhoo Atoll and Addu City via seaplanes had not materialized until date.

Managing Director of Addu International Airport, Qais Naseer had previously told that the necessary preparations required to begin seaplane operations between Addu and Huvadhoo are underway in full speed and that the flights are scheduled to start in November, 2020.

The agreement to start seaplane operations between Addu City and Huvadhoo atoll was signed between Maldivian and Addu International Airports Company Limited, on 5th October, 2020.

The agreement signing ceremony, which was held at Gan International Airport, was attended by Tourism Minister of Maldives Dr. Abdullah Mausoom, Economic Minister Ismail Fayyaz, Parliament Members representing Addu and Huvadhoo constituencies, as well as representatives of Addu City Council.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Mausoom said that the government is doing a lot to develop the tourism industry in the northern and southern region of the country and that the agreement signed to commence sea plane operations between these two atolls is “a new move towards making the business formula successful”.

Speaking further on the matter, highlighting the lack of bed capacity in the region, Minister Mausoom said that even at present, there  are more than 2,400 beds which are yet to open in the region and that this is not an adequate number for international flights to operate. He explained that an additional 6,000 beds would be required to make the investment feasible.

However, given the situation some sacrificed need to be made, and that sacrifice is being made by the government, said the Minister. “The decision being made today is whether flights will not be operated until the 6,000 bed capacity is ensured, or whether flights will be operated until the 6,000 bed quota is met, or whether it would be done either way with losses shared by the companies.” Minister Mausoom stated on October 5, 2020.