Tuesday, July 26, 2011

MIRA “will not hesitate” action against resorts for late rent payment

Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) yesterday declared that the authority would not hesitate to execute its legal responsibility against tourist resorts that have failed to pay rents and fines.

The authority’s comments followed an announcement by the Tourism Ministry on Wednesday that it would not execute a cabinet decision to revoke permits of resorts that fail to pay 25 percent of their dues by July 20.

Commissioner General of Taxation Mohamed Yazeed revealed that MIRA had already taken six resorts to court over late rent payments and dodged fines.

“Although the Tourism Ministry doesn’t take any action MIRA will carry out the legal responsibility assigned to it. We will not fall back even a step,” he said.

Haveeru has learned that out of the 90 resorts paying rent, some have shown indications of not paying at all.

Resorts sued by MIRA include Filitheyo Island Resort Medhafushi that has the stakes of ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Hamza and President Mohamed Nasheed’s Economic Advisor Ali Shiyam, Hamza’s brother Moosa Shiyam’s Zitahli Resort and Spa, Giraavaru Tourist Resort owned by Abdu Rauf of Maafannu Snow Rose, Athama Marine International’s Kihadhuffaru Resort and Funamauddua Resort (Huvandhumafushi) owned by Yacht Tours Chairman Abdulla Jabir who is running for MDP Chairperson.

MIRA also plans to take Jabir’s Kuda Rah Resort and Alidhoo Resort to court.

Haveeru understands that Alidhoo Island Resort and Kuda Rah Island Resort owe the government $792, 042.12 and $759,636.38 respectively while Funamaudua Resort in Gaaf Alif atoll has paid 25 percent of the $1,241,226. 20 25 it owed.

Filitheyo Island Resort owes $2,563,509. 01 in rent and fine as of July 5 while Medhufushi Island Resort owes $3,431,328.44 and Zitahli Resorts and Spa owes $669,604.72.

Alila Villas Hadaha Maldives (now Park Hyatt) run by Driftwood Maldives has paid the rent out of the $200,833.33 it owed while Giraavaru Island Resort owes $2,519,276.98.

Kihadhuhfaru Island Resort has $1,471,221.90 due in payments and Olhuveli Island Resort has paid 50 percent of the rent out of $4,751,511.11.

MIRA is also seeking $265,054.93 as rent and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) payments from Galaxy Enterprises that manages Nasandhura Palace Hotel. The authority earlier won a lawsuit against the company obtaining a court order to complete the payments within a month. So far 25 percent of the payments have been made, according to MIRA.

Source: http://print.dailymirror.lk/

Dusit International to open first Maldives resort

Dusit International is to open its first resort in the Maldives, Dusit Thani Maldives, in December.
The resort will open on Mudhdhoo Island, northwest of Malé, with 46 beach villas, 30 water villas, 20 ocean villas, two beach houses and two ocean houses.

Its facilities will include a spa, a 50m pool, restaurants, tennis courts and diving centre.

The hotel will be a 40-minute seaplane flight from Malé.

Source: http://www.citmagazine.com

National Day of Maldives Tuesday

Tuesday is the National Day of Maldives. Consisting of a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, Maldives is located south of India’s Lakshadweep islands, and about 700 kilometers southwest of Sri Lanka. The country has 1,193 islands, 200 of which are inhabitable. Male is the country’s capital.

The name “Maldives” is derived from Sanskrit Maladvipa, meaning “garland of islands,” or from mahila dvipa, meaning “island of women.” The Maldives is the smallest Asian country in both population and area. It is considered the lowest country on the planet with an average ground level of 1.5 meters above sea level.

Islam was introduced in 1153. It became a colony of Portugal (1558), the Netherlands (1654), and Great Britain (1887). On July 26, 1965, Maldives achieved independence from Britain (originally under the name “Maldive Islands”), and in 1968, the Sultanate was replaced by a Republic. Throughout the political history of Maldives after independence, the country has been served by just two Presidents. The 2010 population of Maldives was around 396,000, making it the smallest Asian country in population. It is also the smallest predominantly Muslim nation in the world.

Tourism and fishing make up the backbone of the Maldivian economy. The country’s shipping, banking, and manufacturing sectors are growing at a considerable pace. Among the South Asian nations, Maldives has the second highest per capita Gross Domestic Product at around US$4,000. Major trading partners are India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.

We congratulate the people and government of Maldives led by H.E., President Mohamed Nasheed, on the occasion of their National Day. We wish them all the best and success in all their endeavors.

Source: http://www.tempo.com.ph

Pak-Maldives Trade Relations must be further strengthen-Tauseef Zaman

Pakistan and Maldives enjoy close friendly relations. Maldives economy is regarded exemplary in the region as it has shown growth at an average of over 10 percent during the past two decades, which should be a source of encouragement for investors.

Muhammad Tauseef Zaman, Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) said in a statement Pak-Maldives Trade Relations must be strengthened further.

He said that Maldives Independence Day has a lot of significance, as on this day that it got freedom from Britain. ICCI Vice President said that Pakistan and Maldives have deep rooted history and both Muslim nations share common culture and traditions. There was also commonality of views and perceptions on all regional and global issues, he opinioned.

He said that tourism is the main industry of Maldives�s economy as about 700,000 visitors annually visit islands of this country and added that both countries could reap benefits by increasing bilateral cooperation in this area. He further said that 100 percent of population of Maldives is Muslims which provides an additional advantage to strengthen bilateral trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Maldives.

ICCI Vice President said that bilateral trade between Pakistan and Maldives was not up to the potential and added that the only way to improve two-way trade is encouraging frequent exchange of trade delegations. He said Pakistan has the potential to meet all import needs of Maldives at very competitive prices because Pakistani products are cheaper than European and other countries.

He said that Maldives imports from Pakistan were $6 million that could be further enhanced by increasing bilateral trade and exploring different trade areas.

He said that Pakistan provides quality education at very low cost than Western & European countries and desired that Maldivian students should come to Pakistan for higher studies, which will bring both countries further closer in different spheres of life.

Muhammad Tauseef Zaman was of the view that Muslim Ummah must be united to overcome the challenges of world powers. There were centuries-old civilization, historical and cultural relations between Pakistan and Maldives, both countries should enhance further cooperation in trade and other sectors, he added.

Source: http://www.onlinenews.com.pk

Shilling is third worst performing currency

The Uganda Shilling is one of the world’s worst-performing currencies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, a news agency. The local unit is in third position coming after the Suriname dollar and the Maldives rufiyaa.

Since January the Shilling has depreciated by about 12 per cent touching an all-time low of Shs2,700 in more than a decade. The unit was by close of last week set for a weekly decline against the dollar amid increased demand for the greenback from local domestic banks.

It fell by 0.6 per cent to Shs2,600 per dollar bringing its decline so far this week to 1.9 per cent, according to Bloomberg’s data. Last week it closed at Shs2,585. A local foreign exchange dealer, Mr Benon Okwenje, said last week: “The Shilling weakened slightly because of demand in the interbank market.” However, the local unit has also seen pressure from both corporate demand and the manufacturing sector.

Businesses are pensive about the local unit’s trend, thus have been forced to increase stock capacity fearing for the worst. The Shilling has since the beginning of this year heavily depreciated against major currencies on the back of rising inflation, high fuel prices, power outages and international market volatilities.

In May, inflation rose to 16.1 per cent - a 17-year high, before slowing to 15.8 per cent in June. However, the central bank has stepped up measures that aim to stabilise the unit.

Apart from a regular market interventions, the central bank recently increased interbank interest rates from 11 per cent to 13 per cent. The move is part of the lager plan that seeks to mop up excess liquidity from the money market so as to curb the runaway inflation.

The government is also optimistic that the Shilling will soon be lifted as the petrol dollars begin to flow in. Uganda has an estimated 2.5 billion barrels of oil, with about 1 billion in proven reserves, according to Tullow. It is expected that by 2012 the country would have started pumping oil for commercial purposes.

Source: http://www.monitor.co.ug

Monday, July 25, 2011

Iran beats Maldives 4-0 in WCup qualifier 1st leg

Three-time Asian Cup champion Iran earned a 4-0 home win over Maldives in the first leg of their World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

Striker Karim Ansarifard opened the scoring in the fourth minute and Iran added three more in the second half.

Iran, which routed the Indian Ocean island nation 17-0 in 1997 to set a World Cup qualifying record, dominated the match but the packed Maldives defense was able to frustrate the host for most of the first half.

Playing before a crowd of about 15,000 in Tehran's 100,000-capacity Azadi Studium, Ansarifard scored again in 64th minute. Captain Ali Karimi headed home a corner kick in the 67th and substitute Saeed Daghighi finished the scoring minutes later.

The return leg will be played in Maldives on Thursday.

Source: http://msn.foxsports.com

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A ferry service to connect Kochi and Male

The Shipping Ministry is taking up a major initiative that could add to Kochi’s tourism potential. For the first time in Kochi’s history, a passenger-cum-cargo ferry service would soon be operated between Kochi and Male.

The decision was taken at a high-level delegation meeting between India and Maldives to improve bilateral maritime cooperation between the two countries last week. It has been provisionally agreed to initiate the preliminary work for a regular passenger-cum-cargo ferry between Kochi and Male. The ferry service, which would be preferably biweekly, would be run by a private operator but all facilities on either port of call will be made by the concerned ports.

Sources in the Shipping Ministry said as per the existing scenario the service would be commissioned in two months. “The Expression of Interest (EoI) for the ferry would be done by the Shipping Corporation of India. It has been cleared and the EoI would be floated by next week. Based on the response, the Request for Proposal (RFP) would be fine-tuned. Hopefully, we would be able to commission the service in two months,” sources said.

The high-level delegation meet led by Union Shipping Secretary K Mohandas and Mohamed Latheef, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Communication, Government of Maldives, also discussed various issues on bilateral cooperation. An agreement has also been made to promote leisure cruise service between India and Maldives.

“In fact, the delegation from India also considered the possibility of developing the regional port in Kulhundhuffushi in the upper north province of Maldives,” sources said.

The port and shipping officials are looking into the trading opportunity for Kochi and Maldives. It has been estimated that last year 25,000 Indians visited Maldives against 1.55 lakh Chinese. After 2008 there was a huge dip in tourists coming to Maldives. So, it’s an opportunity for it, too.

“Only 10 percentage of Maldives’ imports are from India. The 1 million tonne cargo import is through Tuticorin."

"The Cochin Port has started the concept of becoming a logistics hub. So, Maldives should become the first focal point for the Kochi Port. The Indian delegation has asked for trade break up data,” said sources.

Source: http://ibnlive.in.com/

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

UN special rapporteur assessing Maldives’ internal displacement

UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Chaloka Beyani is now on an official visit to the Maldives in a bid to assess the extent of displacement due to climate change.

This is the first visit to the country by a UN expert on internally displaced persons.

Beyani’s visit from July 16-22 will include meetings with various stakeholders related to the newly launched Strategic National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaption 2010-2020.

Yesterday, Beyani met with Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed where he urged the need for a legal framework in relation to the policy of national disaster.

Apart from the 2004 Tsunami that saw some of the country’s low-lying islands badly devastated, unusually strong storm surges in May 2007 flooded as much as 48 of the archipelago's 197 inhabited islands.

Waves of 3-4 feet hit the chain of islands that stands on average 1.5 (5 feet) above the sea level – bringing home the fact that the issue of climate change is already reality in the Maldives.

The possibility of Maldivians becoming climate refugees has often been raised in the arena of talks on global warming.

Maldives was the first country to raise the issue of climate change at the Human Rights Council.



For Crusoes with Style. Here is a retreat for the truly romantic. You will find the relaxed, low-key style of the islands an ideal honeymoon destination, if you love the beach life.

Some island resorts have perfected a simple Robinson Crusoe lifestyle, others, have now become elegant hotels, established as sophisticated hideaways of taste and delightfully understated luxury, where you can be pampered to perfection.

Choose the Indian Ocean for an unspoilt, unhurried, get-away-from-it-all relaxing holiday, and dive in luxurious surroundings.

The Maldives are most sough after by honeymoon couples, divers, Dhaainkanbaa-Maldives holiday enthusiasts and spa & wellness aficionados, due to their secluded location, far away from the complexities of the world.

Most resorts boast water bungalows with jacuzzi or private plunge pool and facilities include world class scuba diving, deep sea fishing, first class spas, whilst all serve a delightful blend of east-meets-west cuisine enhanced by extraordinary wine cellars - complimented by discreet service.

All Inclusive Maldives holidays don't come cheap, but offer greater value. As a targeted audience, those partial to wine and spirits or budget conscious, will be wise.

When is the best time to go to the Maldives
The best time for holidays is during the dry north-east monsoon season from late December to April - the high season (when prices shoot up), with little rainfall and open blue skies. The tropical climate averages daily temperatures of 25C to 32C and high humidity around 75-80%.

May to November is the south-west monsoon season: temperatures are still high but the weather less predictable with sporadic rainfall, winds and cloud cover - You could have a clear blue sky over one island and a downpour over another.

Source: http://www.travpr.com

Monday, July 18, 2011

Maldives, Sri Lanka currency swap talks continue

Despite the apparent lull in discussions on a Maldives- Sri Lanka currency swap,a Maldivian minister said yesterday that it was continuing. The Maldives Economic Development Minister Mahmood Razee,said in Male that the monetary authorities of the two countries were working on the financial arrangement for a direct exchange between the Rufiya and Rupee.

When told that it was quite some time since President Mohammed Nasheed and President Mahinda Rajapaksa had discussed the currency swap,he declined to comment on the reasons for the delay,saying that “perhaps the two sides are working on the nitty gritty details.”

Nasheed,who was in Colombo last November to attend Rajapaksa’s second term swearing in ceremony,took the opportunity to propose the reciprocal currency system and subsequently expressed confidence about finalizing the arrangement,under which he had also sought a US$ 200 million credit line from the Sri Lankan government.

The aim of obtaining the credit facility,he said was to establish a framework for the currency exchange and not to use the money for anything as such.

Asked,about the status of trade and tourism exchanges between the two countries,Minister Razee said that there was great scope for improvement considering proximity,long standing bilateral relations and the end of military conflict in Sri Lanka. While admitting that there will be competition on both sides,he said there are many areas where they could work together for each others mutual benefit.

Source: http://pakobserver.net

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chinese become biggest holidaymakers in Maldives

Visit the Maldives and there's a high chance the fellow holidaymakers at your island retreat will be from China, according to new figures that show the Asian giant as the biggest source of visitors.

The Maldives, a string of low-lying islands fringed by azure waters and white sand in the Indian Ocean, has long been popular as a luxury honeymoon destination for Europeans - but times are changing.

"China has emerged as the biggest source of tourists for the Maldives, displacing our traditional markets of Italy, the UK and Germany," Simon Hawkins, an official from the Maldives Tourism authority, told AFP.

The Maldives welcomed 65,148 Chinese tourists for the five months to May this year, which is a 56.7 percent gain over the same period of 2010, according to figures given by Hawkins.

A total of 392,000 visitors were recorded in the same period, including 47,000 Italians, 39,000 Germans and 47,000 British tourists.

Hawkins said that hotel owners were having to adapt to the different tastes of its new visitors from East Asia.

"The Chinese don't want the beach like the Europeans. They want activities, like visiting other islands, swimming classes, karaoke, discos, during the average five days they spend in the Maldives," he said.

Neighbouring Sri Lanka, which is recovering from decades of ethnic conflict, has also seen a surge in visits from Chinese holidaymakers.

It greeted 8,613 Chinese from January to June this year - a rise of 83.8 percent compared with 2010, tourist board figures showed.

The Maldives is aiming to greet some 850,000 foreign tourists this year, from 800,000 in 2010, and tips 2012 as the year when the figure will cross one million.

Sri Lanka hopes to attract a record 780,000 visitors in 2011 from a record high of 654,476 last year.

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A ferry to the Maldives in 30 hours

Travelling to the Maldives might just get a little more exciting with the government now considering starting a sea route facility to the smallest Asian country. The shipping ministry in order to boost tourism to and from the Maldives will run a passenger liner for travellers either from Cochin port or the Tuticorin port.

“We are examining the projects. We are in discussion with the Maldives government on the modalities for a ferry service and development of ports for trade and tourism,” said K Mohandas, secretary-shipping ministry. A delegation led by the secretary, shipping, along with chairpersons of Cochin and Tuticorin Port Trust, an official from DG Shipping and Shipping Corporation of India are currently visiting the Maldives.

The sea route to the Maldives is expected to take about 30 hours to travel. The cost parameters are still being studied. Government officials will visit the ports as well as the Maldives to understand the demand and the economic viability of the project. “At this stage, we don’t have any details about the cost and frequency of such a service to the Maldives. But after Sri Lanka, this is the second neighbouring country to which we want to provide easy access,” Mohandas added.

Last month, the shipping ministry started a sea route to Sri Lanka from the Tuticorin port. The shipping service, which runs twice a week, costs about $50 for a passenger, with travelling time of 12 hours. The ship called Scotia Prince with capacity to ferry 1,044 passengers is operated by Flemingo Liners.

The Maldives is towards south of Lakshadweep Islands where the Indian Navy had captured 28 Somali pirates in February this year. “The Indian Navy has been guarding the area very well ever since the last incident occurred. Security will not be an issue,” Mohandas said.

According to tourist arrival figures of the Maldives for 2009, China ranks fourth among the top 10 tourism destinations, with over 69,000 arrivals. India stands at the 10th position with over 15,800 tourists visiting the country. In 2009, the Maldives’ total tourist arrivals were 655,852.

Source: http://www.business-standard.com

India take on Maldives in test of strength for World Cup Qualifiers

A new-look Indian football team will test their strength in Armando Colaco's first match as coach when they take on Maldives on Sunday in an international friendly ahead of their World Cup qualifiers.

The match against South Asian rivals Maldives will be the first international friendly in preparations for India's World Cup qualifiers against United Arab Emirates on July 23 and 28 and the maiden game for Colaco as national coach.

Colaco will be fielding a new-look side with many of the stalwarts like Baichung Bhutia and Renedy Singh having been dropped to infuse young blood against the team whom they have played mostly at the South Asian competitions.

India and Maldives have played against each other on 14 occasions. India have won nine times while losing four matches. The remaining one match was a drawn affair.

India's recent record against Maldives, however, has not been that impressive. In the last three matches, Maldives had beaten India on two occasions - in the finals of SAF Games in Dhaka last year and South Asian Football Federation Cup in 2008.

In the third match, India had beaten Maldives in the final of the SAFF Cup in 2009.

Colaco is not willing to take anything for granted against Maldives, who are presently ranked four places below India, at 151st in the FIFA ladder.

"We need to finalise our playing XI before the World Cup double-leg qualifiers against UAE," Colaco said, hinting that he will try various options in his first match as national coach.

"We have worked hard at the camp (in New Delhi). The boys are raring to go and we are taking one match at a time," he said.

Colaco has achieved almost everything at the national circuit as Dempo coach but said being at the helm of affairs of the national team was "something different".

"It's exciting, there's more responsibility. The passion for one's country knows no bounds," he said.

Colaco's counterpart, Argentinean coach Diego Cruciani was not too pleased playing India.

"India friendly is not my best wish to play. I would prefer a much more difficult opponent abroad to put our plans against Iran (World Cup qualifiers opponent). At home we will certainly play to win," he said.

Colaco refused to be drawn into a verbal duel with the Maldivian coach.

According to reports, Iran's Portuguese coach Carlos Quiroz is expected to watch the match from the stands.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Friday, July 8, 2011

Online Australian visa application opened to Croatia and Maldives

The online Australian e676 tourist visa application has now been opened to anyone who holds a passport from either Croatia or the Maldives. The e676 tourist visa is a multi-entry via that enables tourists to visit Australia for either 3 months, 6 months or 12 months at a time.

Anyone who holds a passport from either Croatia or the Maldives can now apply for the e676 Australian tourist visa.

The e676 is an Australian visa that can be applied for online and takes approximately 20 days to be processed from the date that it is applied for. However, additional documentation may be required to complete an application which could significantly delay the process

e676 tourist visa holders must conduct themselves according to the following rules:

  • You must not work while in Australia;
    Note: Voluntary work may be permitted.
  • You must not study for more than three months while in Australia;
    Note: if you intend to study for longer than four weeks, you may be required to pass a health examination before starting your course. Some countries are exempt from this examination.
  • Your visa may be granted with a 'No further stay' condition. If this is the case, you will not be granted any other visa (except for a Protection visa) while you remain in Australia. This condition may be waived in exceptional circumstances; AND
  • The holder must depart within the validity of the Tourist Visa.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their application with the Australian High Commission.


Although the locals and global surfers have known about this magic spot for years, the rest of world will soon be in on the secret that the waves off the Maldives are some of the world’s most impressive, consistent and warmest swells around. Part of this exposure will come from the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa when it hosts the world’s most exclusive surfing event this August.

The event, conceived by luxury surf pioneers Tropicsurf and the Four Seasons, will feature six world champions including four-time world champion Mark Richards of Australia, seven-time world champion Layne Beachley of Australia and 1988 world champion Barton Lynch also from Australia. Three other surfers, who have yet to be announced, are also included in the line-up.

The competition will reflect the evolution of modern surfing by having three disciplines the champions must compete in. The eras to be showcased are the Single Fin from the 1970s, Twin Fin from the ‘70s and ‘80s and finally, Thruster from the ‘80s onward. The champion will enjoy a cool $25,000 in prize money.

Guests are welcomed to come during the competition to see the epic surf battle while ensconced in luxury at the Four Seasons. The resort’s all-inclusive four- or seven-night Champions Trophy package is available from August 29 to September 5 only. This stellar package includes competition-day passes aboard Four Seasons Explorer, three half-day surfing passes with Tropicsurf, full-board accommodations as well as recreational activities such as diving sessions, shark safari, dolphin cruise and sunset fishing.

Source: http://wandermelon.com

Fragile beauty in the Maldives

Famed for its fragile beauty, the Maldives has long been a top destination for those wanting to get closer to nature, offering sugar-white beaches and clear blue seas.

However this tiny cluster of stunning atolls and islands is also one of the most delicate environmentally. Located in South Nilandhe Atoll, Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort is a green and fertile resort which actively protects the local environment through tending to its underwater ecosystem, using locally-grown produce in its restaurants and regularly planting palm trees - promising guests the ultimate in idyllic natural beauty.

Vilu Reef is known locally as the ‘Garden Of Eden’ for its lush tropical vegetation and countless coconut palms. In fact, honeymooners staying at this small island retreat are invited to plant a tree during their stay, leaving a small legacy of their stay. As well as boasting over 800 palm trees, one side of this 122-room resort boasts a protected lagoon and the other has a beautiful reef, with a greater variety of corals and reef fish than in any other atoll.

Even the accommodation at Vilu Reef is inspired by nature, offering understated laid-back luxury and traditional thatched roofs. The beach villas are actually modelled on the rare Maldivian nautilus shell found in its lagoons and corals, with circular walls and a spiral roof!

As 99 per cent of the Maldives’ low-lying coral islands are covered by sea water, climate change and rising sea levels are of great concern for its people. Vilu Reef’s sister resort Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort has therefore set up a number of initiatives to protect its abundant coral reefs and wealth of endangered sea creatures – from manta rays to turtles.

Located on the South Male Atoll, Olhuveli has recently added six artificial structures to the natural reef, thus increasing the existing underwater ecosystem. What’s more, on special occasions such as PADI Project Awareness Day, Environmental Day and Ocean Day, the dedicated staff clean their house reef, even encouraging guests to participate, which is great news for its marine life.

While the islands of the Maldives are small, they are far from fruitless. Vilu Reef’s plentiful coconut trees are a source of ingredients for a number of dishes served at the resort – and are a vital ingredient in its classic coconut cocktail, which is offered to guests on arrival. While other ingredients for the menus at both Vilu Reef and Olhuveli come from a local agricultural island, which grows everything from pumpkins to papayas and reduces the amount of air miles used to source food.

Thomson Tailormade (thomsontailormade.com) is offering seven nights at Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort from £1,599 per person (saving £323 per person), based on two sharing. Available for departure on 5 November, the price includes return flights from Heathrow with Qatar Airways, accommodation on a half-board basis, resort seaplane transfers, taxes and surcharges. Facilities include an infinity pool, fitness room, Sun Spa, table tennis, volleyball court and a selection of restaurants and bars.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tata Housing goes to Maldives with villas

Tata Housing on Monday announced a Rs 1,000-crore foray into Maldives with villas priced at a princely Rs 30 crore each. This is the first international project for the fully owned real estate arm of Tata Group.

The project is to be a public-private partnership between Maldives government and Apex, a special purpose vehicle formed by Tata Housing and Maldives-based developer SG18. Tata Housing owns 65% stake in the SPV.

HT first reported the plans of Tata Housing to go international and launching projects in Maldives and Sri Lanka, on January 19.

According to the agreement, the Maldives government has allocated four plots on an island on a 50-year lease to the SPV to develop residential apartments, of which 80% would be owned by the government to provide low-cost housing.

The remaining 20% would be sold by the SPV, apart from a 1.5-lakh sq ft land parcel which will have about 50 villas costing around Rs 30 crore each.

"We are expecting a top line of around Rs 2,000 crore from the project," said Brotin Banerjee, MD & CEO, Tata Housing.

"We have commenced the development of the project and are expected to finish it in around 30 months."

Tata Housing plans to raise half the funds through long-term debt, and meet the rest through internal accruals.

The company is also exploring ways and means to invest in Sri Lanka.

"We are in a due diligence stage and are looking at two projects, of which one could be affordable housing," said Banerjee.

The company could invest around Rs 250 crore there.

The company is also looking to invest in South Africa and Kenya, at a later stage, and has earmarked Rs 250 crore for investing in international projects every year.

"(However) the investment would depend entirely on the project," said Banerjee.

In India, Tata Housing is set to launch about 8 projects comprising of affordable housing, high-end housing and a small portion of commercial real estate.

It is looking at raising funds from Tata Sons and could issue fresh equity to the company, an official said.

Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com

Mega Maldives boosts Asian services

Mega Maldives Airlines is opening new routes into Asia, chasing the lucrative tourist market.

And the airline, which recently began direct flights between Hong Kong and Malé, has enlisted some famous Chinese celebrities to boost its brand awareness.

Mega Maldives will start flights to Shanghai on the July 15 and to Beijing on July 21.

Miss Asia Pageant of 2008 and ATV artist, Eunis Yao, flew into Malé via Mega Maldives Airlines recently, accompanied by other stars of the Chinese TV show “Delicacies” for Hong Kong’s Asia Television (ATV), including ATV artists Lam Tse Kean and Manecy Chen.

Co-sponsored by Mega Maldives Airlines, ATV filmed at many different locations including Malé and surrounding areas such as the Maldives fish market and the fruits and vegetables market.

Filming has also been scheduled in some of the major resorts of Maldives including Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa Maldives, Anantara Veli Resort & Spa Maldives, Naladhu Maldives, Anantara Kihavah Villas Maldives, Soneva Fushi by Six Senses and Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru.

It's all aimed at boosting awareness of the picturesque resort destination and entice Chinese to venture to the Maldives.

Mega Maldives Airlines is a joint-venture between Maldivian and US investors and a company incorporated in the Maldives. It commenced flights early in 2011 using a Boeing 767 aircraft.

Its initial plan is to target the Hong Kong, mainland China and other Asian markets, but it has longer term aspirations to serve Europe, Australia and New Zealand.


Shark fishing banned in the Bahamas

The Bahamas has banned shark fishing in its waters and prohibited the sale, import and export of shark products.

The new law will effectively turn all 630,000 sq km (243,000 square miles) of the nation's territorial waters into a shark sanctuary.

The ban was approved by Agriculture Minister Larry Cartwright in the capital, Nassau, on Tuesday.

The archipelago joins Honduras, the Maldives and Palau in outlawing shark fishing.

The government also increased shark-fishing fines from $3,000 (£1,900) to $5,000.

Sharks are considered at risk due to demand for their fins in Chinese cuisine - some 73 million of the sea predators are killed each year, environmentalists say.

Needing protection

In 1993 the Bahamas banned long-line fishing, which limited shark fishing and protected 40 species of sharks inhabiting its waters.

But shark fishing was not banned outright, and when a local seafood company announced last year that it planned to export shark meat and fins to Hong Kong, activists called for a new law to be introduced.

Environmentalists welcomed the ban. Neil McKinney, president of the Bahamas National Trust, which manages the country's resources, said sharks played an extremely important role in balancing the ecosystem.

"They desperately need protection if we're not going to drive them to extinction," AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

Tourism is a major industry in the Bahamas, and shark-diving earns it $80m a year in revenue, according to a recent survey.

The country's main island, New Providence, is home to Jaws Beach, where one of the Jaws films was shot. Last year, the remains of a boatman who had disappeared off the beach were found in the stomach of a tiger shark caught by an investment banker.

The US-based Pew Environment Group said each reef shark brought some $250,000 to the archipelago's economy.

Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette said he did not think the ban would affect relations with China, which has increased trade with the Bahamas in recent years.

"This is in keeping with the government's commitment to pursue conservation policies and strategies in order to safeguard the marine and terrestrial environment," the Associated Press quoted him as saying.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pakistan desires to enhance ties with Sri Lanka, Maldives: Dr. Firdous

Information Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Tuesday said Sri Lanka and Maldives were important countries and Pakistan desired to strengthen its relations with them in all fields of bilateral interest.The Information Minister was talking to a media delegation from Sri Lanka and Maldives, which called on her here.She said that exchange of such visits was indicative of Pakistan’s pleasant relations with Sri Lanka and Maldives.

She said media was an important tool to enhance bilateral relations and Sri Lankan and Maldives media could also play positive roles to enhance relations among the countries.
She said Pakistan was a democracy and a vibrant and free media was working in the country. There were no sanctions on the media and the people’s government was trying to create conducive environment for media to grow and develop.

The minister said ,”the government considers media as its strength”. Appreciating the efforts of Sri Lanka to fight the menace of terrorism, she said terrorism was a global phenomena and a joint global effort was needed to curb it.

The delegation appreciated the Pakistan Government for its efforts for making national media more vibrant.

Source: http://ftpapp.app.com.pk

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Anantara Launches a Customised Honeymoon Registry

In coveted destinations where romance goes hand in hand with truly personalised service, one-of-a-kind proposals evolve into wedding celebrations that are completely unique to each couple.

Extending the dream of a fairytale wedding story, Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas in Thailand and the Maldives are now transforming fantasy honeymoons into a convenient reality, through the ‘Anantara Honeymoon’ registry.

To offer this new concept, Anantara has partnered with the very successful ‘Honeymoon Wishes’ which was founded in 2003 by Kristin Stark along with her now husband, Lee Cornwell. Kristen envisaged a bridal registry centered on honeymoon specific gifts and experiences to give wedding guests the opportunity to participate in creating memories that couples would cherish for a lifetime.

Signing up at www.Anantara.HoneymoonWishes.com is complimentary, and couples begin the process by browsing sample registries for inspirational suggestions, before customising their own personal honeymoon registry of items and activities for their guests to purchase as wedding gifts. The concept’s success lies in its ingenious simplicity and attractive convenience, and is further enhanced by a complimentary wedding website that includes a section for photos, blogging, and even tracking RSVPs.

Homely luxuries range from a bottle of chilled French champagne delivered to the newlywed’s room, to a room upgrade ensuring that they enjoy the ultimate in space, amenities and views. Invitations to discover a new passion include thrilling water sports such as learning to surf, as well as local cooking classes so that they can recreate their favourite dishes upon returning home. Precious moments can be given in the form of an indulgent signature treatment or package at Anantara Spa, and a ‘Dining by Design’ night in which a secluded location is set up with an intimate table for two, the perfect menu is devised in collaboration with a personal chef, and unobtrusive private butler service tends to every need.

The five selected Thailand resorts and three paradise resorts in the Maldives offer experiences and gifts that are signature to Anantara, and highlight the distinct allures of each destination.

At Anantara Lawana Resort & Spa, edging Koh Samui’s most celebrated beach, the wedding couple can be presented with dinner in a private tree top sala boasting sensational sea views. A sunset cruise from Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa will see the couple glide across the serene waters of the Gulf of Siam to new horizons. At Anantara Phuket Villas they can share a sense of achievement in a professional sailing lesson. The Andaman sea’s teeming marine life beckons a surreal scuba escapade at Anantara Si Kao Resort & Spa. While in the mystical land of three countries, Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa offers a unique VIP regal arrival by traditional longtail boat along the Mekong, followed by an elephant trek to the natural hilltop retreat.

The utopia of the Maldives conjures equally idyllic scenarios. Honeymooners can set out in search of dolphins from Anantara Veli Resort & Spa, go island hopping around the stunning archipelago from Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa, and savour an intimate picnic lunch on a deserted sandbank from Anantara Kihavah Villas.

Source: http://ftnnews.com