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MALE, Dec 28 (HNS) – Peace and harmony existing in Maldives are the keys to success of the tourism industry here, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom said Wednesday.

He said that the government was undertaking a painstaking campaign in international forums to promote the country as a safe, secure and peaceful destination.


Addressing a special gathering Wednesday evening held at Giyasudin School to mark the 30th anniversary of Bandos, the second tourist resort to be set up when tourism was first introduced to Maldives in 1972, Gayoom said that tourism industry’s success depends largely on peace and stability existing in the country.


He pointed out neighboring Sri Lanka which, although it has far greater resources and greater attractions, failed to attract tourists due to the decades-long conflict in that country.


Gayoom spoke on the importance of maintaining the friendliness of the Maldives people and said that Bandos Island Resort’s ‘Smile’ campaign depicted Maldivians’ full hospitality. Indeed, it was important to carry out such a campaign throughout Maldives whose backbone is the travel industry, Gayoom said.

Asia’s leading luxury hotel company, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, has signed a management contract with Villingili Investments Private Limited to operate an exclusive and fully-integrated spa resort in the Maldives. Opening in 2004, Shangri-La Maldives will be situated on Villingili, an unspoilt island in Addu Atoll, at the southern most tip of the Maldives.

Consisting of four independent and unique villages, the eco-orientated 252-villa resort is designed by Singapore-based Design B·U·BE. Gan airport, which is in the process of being upgraded to international status, is a five-minute speedboat ride away from the resort where guests will be greeted at an exclusive Shangri-La lounge. Gan Island will also offer a soon to be completed golf course, which will be the only one in the Maldives.


Commenting on the new management contract, Mohamed Manik, chairman of Villingili Investments Private Limited, said: ‘Shangri-La’s strong brand, which is synonymous with award-winning hospitality, will be an integral component in the marketing of our resort internationally, especially with exploiting the potential of the Asian market. Villingili Island is set to become a world-class resort destination with this new development, adding to what the Maldives already has to offer to the growing number of visitors.’


Giovanni Angelini, chief executive and managing director of Shangri-La, said: ‘Shangri-La Maldives complements our spectacular new line of deluxe resorts opening in Muscat, Oman and Sanya, Hainan Island in 2005. This tropical paradise resort with its magnificent beaches and turquoise waters will embrace nature preservation and offer an educational and informative experience in luxurious, unique surroundings.’


The Waterford village with 68-water bungalows on stilts is ideal for couples and honeymooners seeking a romantic Indian Ocean hideaway. It will have a Horizon Club, Shangri-La’s exclusive club concept, which offers special privileges, as well as its own private sports pavilion. With 67 villas extending over the ocean, the Plantation Club village will provide a more relaxed atmosphere. Near to the Green Lagoon and ‘floating’ pool, key features of this village include a conservation lookout and an organic restaurant where guests can receive specialist culinary guidance from experienced chefs after picking their own local produce from an organic farm.


Set directly on the beach amidst the palms from which it gets its name, the family orientated Whispering Palm village will offer 77 villas, including eight that are split level. The Windance village will consist of 40 semi-detached tree houses perched on lush greenery with panoramic sunrise and sunset views.


Shangri-La will introduce its new spa brand to the resort. Set in the magical Blue Lagoon with open views of both the Indian Ocean and the lagoon, the spa will offer a full range of innovative treatments along with integrated wellbeing and lifestyle programmes.


In addition, Shangri-La Maldives will provide a selection of bars and restaurants serving a wide choice of local and international cuisine in each of the villages. Banqueting, meeting and wireless facilities as well as a horticultural garden and an observatory, a marine research facility and a conservation centre will also be features of the resort. Sporting activities include surfing, diving, snorkeling, wind surfing, fishing and boating. There will be a traditional market street leading to the pier and tennis courts as well as a piazza near to the central swimming pool.


Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is the largest Asian-based luxury hotel company in the region with nearly 20,000 rooms including almost 8,000 rooms in mainland China. Its hotels are located in the Chinese mainland, Fiji, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan.


For more information, please visit www.shangri-la.com.

MALE, Dec 16 (HNS) – Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday arrived in Maldives on an official visit. Wickremesinghe and his wife Maithree is making a one-day official visit on the invitation of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom

MALE, Dec 16 (HNS) – Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday arrived in Maldives on an official visit.


Wickremesinghe and his wife Maithree is making a one-day official visit on the invitation of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.


During the short visit, Wickremesinghe made an official call on President Gayoom. Both leaders also held official talks between Maldives and Sri Lanka. The PM’s wife Maithree made a courtesy call on First Lady Nasreena Ibrahim.


A state luncheon was hosted by Gayoom and Nasreena in honor of the visiting PM and his wife.


Maldives national TV telecast the arrival of the Prime Minister and his delegation. The prevailing rainy weather experienced in Male on Monday did not hinder people from turning up on the main streets to catch a glimpse of the PM and his entourage.

On the 5th of December 2002, Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Maldives is to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese National Tourism Administration for the purposes of listing Maldives as a destination to which Chinese Travel Agents can send Chinese Tour Groups.

To sign the Memorandum a high level delegation headed by the Chairman of China National Tourism Administration, His Excellency He Guangwei, would visit Maldives on the 4th of December. Minister of Tourism Honourable Hassan Sobir would sign on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Maldives.

The Memorandum is the culmination of efforts initiated by Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Maldives in 2001 by way of an official request. The matter was discussed between the President of Maldives His Excellency Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the Chinese Premier His Excellency Zhu Rongji during the Premier?s state visit to the Maldives in May 2002. Subsequent to the Premier?s visit high level delegations, including the Foreign Minister and the Speaker of the People?s Majlis of Maldives, visited China. During these visits negotiations were held with the Chinese National Tourism Administration for the purposes of finalizing the draft of the Memorandum.

Already about 10,000 Chinese tourists visit Maldives every year and it is expected that this number would increase by several folds as a result of this Memorandum.


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