Govt. announces plans to revise and modernize tourism regulations

A group of tourists wait at the Republic Square in Male' City to begin a city tour. (File Photo/Sun)

The Maldivian administration is in the middle of revising and modernizing many of the tourism regulations currently in use in Maldives, says Tourism Minister Ali Waheed.

Minister Ali Waheed made the announcement during a press conference by Ministry of Tourism this Thursday.

Speaking at the press conference, Ali Waheed said that the administration was working on bringing order to all affairs related to the tourism sector in time for World Tourism Day, which will be marked on September 27.

He said that the Ministry of Tourism has revised the construction period extension regulation – under which resort developers are granted extensions on their contracts and allowed concessions on lease and fines. He said that a draft of the revised regulation has been sent to relevant State agencies and tourism stakeholders for comment.

Additional regulations revised by Ministry of Tourism includes; the regulation on fire safety standards for tourism service providers, and the regulation on collection of information to compile tourism statistics.

Ali Waheed said drafts of the two revised regulations have also been sent to relevant State agencies and stakeholders for comment,

Two more regulations undergoing revisions include the regulation for organizing ceremonial wedding functions for tourists, and the regulation on tour guides.

Ali Waheed said that Ministry of Tourism is holding discussions to employ people with special needs as tour guides to serve tourists with special needs.

He said that the suggestion was made by Deaf Association of Maldives. And pledged to take the suggestion into consideration in the administration’s vision to build a more inclusive community.

Commenting on the decision to annul the regulation for sand mining to develop resorts, Ali Waheed said that despite the decision to annul the regulation, Maldivian islands and resorts belonged to the people, and that Ministry of Tourism will therefore cooperate in protecting the islands.

“This means that, for example, an island is getting eroded. It is an environmental crisis. It is therefore this administration’s duty to protect the island before it is completely eroded,” said Ali Waheed, adding that sand mining will be allowed in a way which does not damage the environment of islands.

Ali Waheed said the Ministry also planned on revising outdated policies, in addition to laws and regulations.

He said that tourism must be developed using environment-friendly and sustainable methods.