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The resort being built by the Maldives Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) on the island of Heretere, has already been fully booked by tourists, one year ahead of its opening, the company revealed.

The $30 million project begun this year will see 600 beds (300 rooms) and other facilities built by November, 2006. Heretere will cater to the charter or middle-market segment, MTDC revealed.
Work on the resort is progressing at a very fast pace with financing through a loan of US$ 25 million from the Bank of Maldives Plc.
The loan is against the personal guarantee of MTDC Chairman, Hussain Afeef, reports said.

The Maldives is close to reaching pre-tsunami numbers in tourist arrivals, press reports said. Arrivals figures from the Tourism Ministry for January to end-September revealed a difference of 6% between that period for 2004 and the same period this year.

Arrivals this year to end-September were about 435 thousand and about 463 thousand for the same period in 2004.

There was, nevertheless, 65% growth in arrivals this year for the first 9 months compared to arrivals last year for the same period, indicating strong recovery from the tsunami slump.

Occupancy in the resorts was about 70% during September this year.

The Ministry of Tourism is looking to improving the skills of Maldivian tour guides by training them to speak more foreign languages.

The Ministry has called for applications from interested instructors to conduct the language courses.
The training will be for the languages of Japanese, Russian, Korean and Chinese.

Three hotels, mainly aimed at transit passengers to and from Male' International Airport are to be built in the industrial zone ofHulhumale'. The island is Male's satellite city reclaimed from thelagoon between the international airport and Farukolhufushi, the formerClub Med resort.

The Hulhumale' Development Corporation said the decision comes after a revision of the Hulhumale Development masterplan. The hotels would also cater to the convention tourist market, the HDC said.

Transit passenger volumes between the resort islands and the international airport will increase significantly when the 52 islands being built as tourist resorts begin operations.

Maldivian airservices company Trans Maldivian Airways, will introduce three ATR 500-42's each with a seat capacity of 50 next year to serve domestic sectors, the company has revealed.

TMA's  Hussain Afeef  has said one of the aircraft would begin operations early next year. Mr. Afeef said the expansion of TMA's service to complement its seaplane operations would enable better tourist transfer for the new resort islands now being developed. Local passenger traffic would also be facilitated with the additional service, he said.

TMA operates a fleet of 16 seaplanes at the moment, mainly catering to tourist transfers between Male' International airport and tourist resort islands.

Work on the development of the regional airport on the island of Madivaru in Lhaviyani Atoll will begin later this year, reports said.

The architectural and engineering drawings were now begin drawn up, according to Madivaru Holdings.
The runway 1220 metes long and 300 meters wide would meet standards  and specifications set by the Civil Aviation authorities and ICAO, the company said.
A tourist resort also be built on Madivaru.

The Maldives Tourism Development Cooperation, MTDC, was planning to build tourist hotels on some selected inhabited islands, the company reveled.

These small hotels, each with 10 to 15 rooms, would cater both to local and international tourists.

The hotels on inhabited islands were seen as a means to contribute to the atoll economy, MTDC Managing Director Mohamed Solih said. They would also provide accommodation for the increasing number of travelers within the atolls, Mr. Solih said.

The expansion of MTDC's role to building hotels on inhabited islands would also promote surfing holidays in different parts of the country, while cultural tourism would also be facilitated, MTDC's Chairman Hussain Afeef revealed.

The Maldives was announced as one of the UK's coolest brands at the exclusive CoolLive event held at one of London's rare hidden gems - the 'Gymnasium' in King's Cross.


 As a CoolBrand, the Maldives as a destination 'has become extremely desirable among many style leaders and influencers.' The Maldives consists of 1,190 natural coral islands with white sandy beaches surrounded by clear turquoise waters. The 88 resort islands in the Maldives range from ultra-luxurious hideaways to properties which epitomise true barefoot chic. The resorts in the Maldives have an enviable reputation for trendsetting and recent developments in the Maldives-among them some world firsts - include an all-glass underwater restaurant, an underwater spa, an underground nightclub and an open-air cinema showing classic black and white films. The archipelago recently won Conde' Nast's 'Traveller's Reader Award' for Best Island.
CoolBrands is an unprecedented initiative from the Superbrands organisation and is considered a key barometer of the nation's coolest brands, people and places.
At its core is the CoolBrands Council who judge which brands have successfully created a cool reputation at this moment in time. This year's council includes MTV presenter and Radio One DJ Trevor Nelson, designer Ben de Lisi and Dazed & Confused Editor Nicki Bidder. Adding a further dimension to the expert opinion and new for 2006, Superbrands has joinedforces with YouGov, the UK's most accurate research agency, to ask the consumers themselves which brands they rate as 'CoolBrands'.
Stephen Cheliotis, Chairman of the CoolBrands Council for 2007 commented, 'with everevolving trends and interpretations of what is 'Cool', this vital step forward makes the consumer knowledge and experience a fundamental part of the programme.' CoolBrands 'have a magic about them, signifying that users have a sense of taste and style.'



Three more regional airports in the southern atolls and one in the north will be built on the 4 islands identified for the purpose, the Transport Ministry has announced.

These regional airports will be built with an adjoining tourist resort either on the same island or one close by, the Ministry said The 4 new regional airports will be in Shaviyani , Dhaalu, Thaa and Gaaf Alif Atolls. The island of Dhigu Rah in Gaaf Alif is uninhabited.

The regional airports are seen as vital to the success of the 35 new islands now being leased for resort development. Regional airports are also being built on Maamigili in South  Ari Atoll and Madivaru in Lhaviyani Atoll.


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