Biggest failure is lack of tourism development in Addu City: Nasheed

Former President and Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed giving a speech in Hithadhoo, Addu City as part of the MDP presidential primary campaign. | Photo: The Times of Addu

Addu City, Maldives – The biggest failure of the country is the lack of tourism development in Addu City, said the MDP presidential primary candidate Mohammed Nasheed yesterday.

Meeting his supporters near Hira School in Hitadhoo, Nasheed criticised the government stating that the government hasn’t done anything for the development of Addu City.

One of them is the failure of the government’s promise to develop the airport and tourism in the city, he said.

Nasheed said five years have passed and nothing has been seen at the Gan International Airport besides the VIP lounge built for the SAARC summit. That is a great regret, he said.

Developing the airport, expanding tourism and bringing tourists on direct flights is not an impossible task, he said, adding that tourists have been coming to Maldives for many years.

Nasheed added that although the people of Addu City started doing tourism in Malé City, it is the biggest failure of the state that tourism has not been developed properly in Addu City after 40 years.

The most obvious fact is that Addu City is the engine of development. Addu City has had infrastructure for many years. However, we have not used it. We have received some free assistance from the Indian government to develop guesthouse tourism here. Roads near these lands for guesthouses could have been built by those funds.

MDP presidential primary candidate Mohammed Nasheed

Nasheed said President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih came to power in 2018 with a promise to develop 8,000 beds in the city and increase the income of the people.

To achieve that, the city has allocated land for the construction of 84 guest houses to start local tourism, but none of them will be completed with 10 months left in the term of this government, Nasheed said.

Even if the land is allocated, it will not be done because of lack of funds, he said. It will not cost more than MVR 5-6 million to build 10 rooms in each of them. That’s a total of MVR 250 million or USD 15 million.

Nasheed said USD 15 million is needed to revive the entire Addu City’s economy. He further stated that he will win the presidential election in September and promised to issue loans for the construction of the guesthouses in November.

Nasheed also criticized the slow pace of road construction in Addu City. He said the highways would be built someday. The works are done on a contract basis and the road will be built even if the government changes, he said.

He has promised to develop the port as an international port and hand it over to private partnership to generate revenue. There are also various income generating activities that can be done, and Nasheed has said that he will double the income of the people of Addu City.