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Seven resorts are contesting for the prestigious environmental award, the "Green Resort" award, given by the President of the Maldives.

Deadline passed on Aug 20 for applying to qualify for the award, according to the Tourism Ministry. This time, the number of resorts vying for the award has also increased, a ministry official said.

 

"The award has helped to increase awareness about environment conservation among resort managements," the official said.

 

The award, introduced five years ago, is given to a resort which contributes notably to promoting eco-tourism and sustainability. So far, the Green Resort award has been given to Sun Island, Sonevafushi, Dhunikolhu and Ihuru resort islands.

Construction of a yacht marina in the north of the country is under way, the Tourism Ministry said.

The yacht marina is being constructed in Haa Alifu atoll, Maldives’ northernmost atoll where many foreign and tourist yachts harbor.

 

The marina is being constructed by Turquoise Private Limited.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$18 million aid package to Maldives to develop its transport infrastructure which is vital to tourism and mobility in Maldives.

Among the other sectors the three-year aid package aims to cover is regional development projects in the atolls and providing electricity to as many islands as possible.Maldives aims to introduce tourism and set up resort islands in all the 20 atolls of the island state by the year 2020.

 

The ADB aid package, which covers the years 2004 through 2006, will help to develop much needed transport facilities across the archipelago which is a key factor to facilitate tourism, according to local officials.

 

The US$18 million aid package to the Maldives was approved last week by the ADB's Board of Directors.

EuroDivers, the widest diving school group in the Maldives, is to train a Maldivian each year to dive masters level.

A local will be selected through interview and trained so that the Maldives' diving industry will become more localised, EuroDivers' regional manager for Maldives Silke Weber told local media.

 

"Maldivians are hardworking people. We at EuroDivers try to maintain a 50-50 ratio when giving jobs at EuroDivers," Weber was quoted as saying.

 

EuroDivers operates nine diving schools throughout the Maldives.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$18 million aid package to Maldives to develop its transport infrastructure which is vital to tourism and mobility in Maldives.

Among the other sectors the three-year aid package aims to cover is regional development projects in the atolls and providing electricity to as many islands as possible. Maldives aims to introduce tourism and set up resort islands in all the 20 atolls of the island state by the year 2020.

 

The ADB aid package, which covers the years 2004 through 2006, will help to develop much needed transport facilities across the archipelago which is a key factor to facilitate tourism, according to local officials.

 

The US$18 million aid package to the Maldives was approved last week by the ADB's Board of Directors.

Maldives, which is becoming well-known throughout the world as a surfer's destination, launched its 3rd national bodyboarding championship on Sunday, Aug 17, in Male.

The championship, also known as the "Varunula Challenge", is participated by more than 15 local contestants and will conclude on Aug 25 at the Lonuziyaaraiy Kolhu coast of the capital.

 

A cash prize of Rf10,000 (about US$778) is tagged to the championship, which is organised by Maldives Surfing Association (MSA). MSA also organised the international premier surfing event, the O'Neill Deep Blue Open this time along with the Australian surfing association and the Maldives Tourism Promotion Board. The national bodyboarding championship is sponsored by Evince, De Ja Vu, MIFCO (Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company), Best X Motors, V.B. Brothers, and Maldive Gas.

 

The last national bodyboarding championship in Maldives was judged, among others, by world famous Australian bodyboarder Ryan McKinn.

 

Information and photos about bodyboarding and surfing in Maldives can be found on MSA's official website: www.MaldiveSurf.org.mv

Safari yachts now do not need to take any special permission to visit atolls outside of the tourism zone in Maldives, the Tourism Ministry said.

Earlier, safari yachts carrying tourists needed to take a special permission from the Ministry of Atolls Administration if they wanted to travel to atolls which was outside of the tourism zone.

 

"But the regulations have now been changed. Now, safari yachts are free to travel to any atoll they want, without any special permission," a tourism ministry official was quoted as saying in the local media.

 

All laws and regulations concerning safari yachts, excursions, and island hopping from now on will be made by the Tourism Ministry, the official said.

British pop star of the 1970s, Cat Stevens, arrived in the Maldives last week with his family for a holiday.

Stevens, who has converted to Islam and since has changed his name to Yousuf Islam, will be vacationing in Paradise Island, Vakarufalhi and Makunudhoo island resorts, according to a statement by the Tourism Ministry.

 

Stevens will also tour historic and cultural sites of Maldives and visit some inhabited islands to get a firsthand experience of the unique local culture.

 

He will leave back for Britain on August 27.

Arrivals from Italy formed the bulk of tourists to Maldives during the January-July 2003 period, according to statistics released by the Tourism Ministry.

Around 83,000 tourists from Italy visited the Maldives in the first half of the year. This is a 31.3 percent increase compared to the year-ago period.

 

With the recent figure, Italian tourists make up 26.8 percent of tourist arrivals to the Maldives.

 

After Italy, most tourists to the Maldives were from Britain, Germany, France, Japan, and Switzerland.

OLHUVELI -- Every Maldivian who work in the tourism industry should always smile when catering to tourists, Tourism Minister Hassan Sobir said.

"The travel industry caters to selling 'happiness.' And the greatest asset of any resort island is its smiling and friendly staff," Sobir told a function last week to give awards to the successful recipients of the "Smile Campaign" conducted in Olhuveli resort island by Job Market company.

 

The function saw the awarding of the resort's Best Employee and the five staff who were most successful in carrying out the Smile Campaign.

 

The resort in return awarded Sobir and Job Market's Managing Director, Mohamed Saleem, commemorative plaques.

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