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The foundation laying ceremony of the new terminal at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) was held today at the airport island.

The ceremony was chaired by President Mohamed Nasheed and Chairman of the GMR Group Mr. GM Rao. It was also attended by other government officials and management team of GMR group.

The new terminal building is expected to be completed by the end of 2014 for a staggering 511 million dollars. GMR expects to serve three million passengers when the first phase of the development is completed and to cater five million passengers after completion of the second phase. Speaking to local newspaper Mr. Rao said that the perception towards Maldives will change once the airport is developed and modernized. “We are confident to complete the project ontime” Mr. Rao further added.
While the foundation of the new terminal building was laid today, GMR Company which manages INIA has decided to impose 25 dollars from each departing passenger from 1st of January 2012.
The Maldives Civil Court made a ruling recently imposing such a charge is against the constitution. However, Mr. Rao said that the government of Maldives will honor the agreement and he is confident that the agreement between GMR and the government of Maldives will be fully implemented. The agreement allows GMR to impose 25 dollars as Airport Development Charge according to Mr. Rao. Addressing at the ceremony President Nasheed assured the government’s commitments to fully honor the agreement between GMR and the government of Maldives. 

The Embudu Lagoon which also houses Taj Exotica Resort is to be leased to develop five tourist resorts. A portion of the lagoon would be reclaimed to develop the resorts.

The joint venture company which is to be awarded the lagoon has proposed 20 million dollars upfront to the government. The lagoon is located approximately 10.8 kilometers from the airport island.

In addition another lagoon known as Fushidhiggaru Lagoon in Male’ Atoll is also to be leased for resort development. The lagoon is to be awarded to a Ukrainian. 

Maldives welcomed 760,231 visitors from January to end of October 2011.

The figure indicates an 18.2 percent growth when compare to last year’s arrival of 643,410 visitors in the same period.

The trend of China’s dominance in Maldivian tourist arrival continued in the first 10 months of the year. Chinese arrival increased from 104,148 to 169,263 visitors which represents a stunning 62.5 percent increase when compare to the first 10 months of last year. As the major source market of Maldives, China enjoys 22.3 percent of total tourist arrivals. Other key Asians markets such as Japan and Korea recorded a negative growth when compared to the same period.

The second largest source market for Maldives the United Kingdom recorded a negative growth of 7.6 percent. However, UK still holds 11.6 percent of market share with 88, 309 visitors. Italy followed UK’s trend while Germany, France, Switzerland and Russia showed a positive growth. Tourist arrival from Russia grew by 30.5.

While tourist arrivals to Maldives are in double digit growth, the operational bed capacity also increased from 21,700 to 24,481. Out of registered 101 resorts in Maldives 92 resorts were operational.
Maldives is expecting over 800,000 visitors by the end of 2011.  

The official unveiling of LUX* Island Resorts which replaced Naiade Resorts took place at a gala event in LUX* Le Morne in Mauritius. The core of the rebranding was to introduce lighter and brighter island life experience.

The gala event was hosted by LUX* Island Resorts CEO Paul Jones. World’s brightest new classical star, violinist Charlie Siem surprising performance opened event. It was followed by LUX*  overture which is a dramatic visual production accompanied directed by renowned by composed and conductor Steve Sidwell. The event was concluded with an exclusive song for LUX* called “Kiss the Sun”.

The event was well attended by both international and locals guests. The guests include Chairman of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation Thoyyib Mohamed, Mauritius’ Minister of Tourism Michael Sik Yuen, President of Ile de la Réunion Tourisme Jacqueline Farreyrol.

“Our launch event is not a traditional hotel opening: it is a unique celebration of island life inspired by the flavours, culture and people of all our destinations in Mauritius, Maldives and La Reunion. We are doing more than simply changing the name of the company or putting a new brand on our hotels”, says Jones the CEO of LUX* Island Resorts.

LUX* Island Resorts property in Maldives formerly known as Diva Maldives has also been rebranded as LUX* Maldives.

Male’, December 2011; The second largest hotel chain in Mauritius Naiade Resorts has been rebranded itself as Lux Island Resorts. Their property in Maldives formerly known as Diva Maldives has also been rebranded as Lux Maldives.

Set in the privacy of the island of Dhidhoofinolhu in South Ari Atoll, a short 25 minutes flight away by seaplane from Male’ is how the resort has been defined the brochures. The resort has 193 beach and water villas. It was awarded Best Luxury Beach Resort by World Luxury Hotel Awards in 2011.  

Lux Maldives has also opened a Marine Biology Centre, dedicated to researching the presence and conservation of whale sharks in the South Ari Atoll waters.

In a press conference to rebrand their Maldives property, the General Manager of the resort Dominik Ruhl said resorts tended to define themselves in terms of the hardware, which we all have – villas, pools architecture. They are all fairly similar – but people don’t come to the Maldives to sleep in a 1950s boudoiur. We don’t want to follow the same thoughtless patterns we learned in hotel school 20 years ago. He further added that we realised that as a resort we are helping people to celebrate life. It might be a honeymoon or family trips, but visits to the Maldives are usually a celebration.

Naiade resorts now Lux Island Resorts consists of six hotels and a private island in Mauritius, a luxury villa resort in the Maldives and two hotels in Reunion.

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