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Maldives Association of Tourism Industry, the powerful lobby group representing Maldives' travel industry, has asked the government to legalise and facilitate tourist weddings in the Maldives.

MATI's Secretary General Sim Ibrahim Mohamed said that many tourist couples arriving in the Maldives were in search of a "memorable honeymoon" and likewise, many couples were looking forward to having a "memorable wedding in the paradise islands of Maldives."


Apart from the offering of "sun, sea, and sand", the Maldives has also become one of the premiere destinations for divers and honeymooners.

Maldives' only tourist submarine, the Whale Submarine, is to begin underwater classes for schoolchildren.

The underwater classes were introduced by the company's chairman Gasim Ibrahim, who is also the chairman of the Villa group, to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Whale Submarine.


The classroom in the submarine will be provided free of charge to schools, and free dives will be given until the end of next year to make schoolchildren aware of underwater ecology and Maldives' marine environments which are main attractions for tourists and the basis of the Maldives travel industry, the company's Managing Director Umar Naseer said.


Each dive of 45 minutes duration can accommodate 25 students, teachers and parents. The dives will be started later this month.


Students of Majeediyya and Ahmediyya have previously gone on dives in the submarine on their own request, according to local media.

Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) held its biannual assembly Wednesday, Sept 24.

At the meeting, chairman Mohamed Umar Maniku noted that Maldives had recovered from the affects of SARS and the Sept 11 attacks which had a great impact on the world economy, especially the tourism industry.


Maniku noted that compared to 2000, tourist arrivals to Maldives from January to August 2003 period had actually increased by 15 percent. European arrivals had a 17 percent marked increase during that period, he especially noted.


However, he also pointed out that there was still more to do to attract more German and Japanese tourists to Maldives. "We can discuss these issues at our annual general assembly at the end of the year," Maniku told the meeting.


MATI is a private lobby group representing Maldives' travel industry.

Tourists arrivals to Maldives from France increased by 40 percent in the first seven months of this year compared to 2002.

More than 25,000 arrivals were recorded from France from January to end of July 2003, according to statistics released by the Tourism Ministry. This is an additional 7,255 arrivals from last year's figure for that period.


Tourism Minister Hassan Sobir recently said that France is becoming an important tourist market to Maldives and that in future, arrivals from France to Maldives may surpass arrivals from other European countries. Presently, most tourist arrivals to Maldives are from Italy.

A first class round-the-world air tickets for two will be given to the 500,000th tourist to the Maldives, the Tourism Ministry announced.

Tourism Minister Hassan Sobir has said that he expects Maldives to get half a million visitors before the end of the year.


He said that the 500,000th tourist is expected in November or December. Last year, 484,680 tourists visited the Maldives.

The Tourism Ministry has said that tourist arrivals to the Maldives have increased by 18 percent during the January to August 2003 period compared to the same period a year ago.

The number of tourists visiting the Maldives this year till the month of August was 360,000. For the same period last year, the arrivals were around 310,000.


Italian tourists made up 27 percent of the total tourist arrivals in 2003 followed by British travelers who made up 16 percent of arrivals. Germans make up 12 percent of tourist arrivals to the Maldives.


In a recent interview to local media, Tourism Minister Hassan Sobir said that he expected Maldives to record half a million tourist arrivals to the archipelago before the end of this year.

Four Seasons Resort Maldives was voted the number one tourist destination last week by the United Kingdom's Conde Nast Traveler magazine.

In the Conde Nast Traveler awards, another resort island of Maldives, Sonevagili Resort and Spa, came third.


The Conde Nast awards were presented on Sept 9 in London, and are regarded as the ultimate guide to exclusive travel destinations and are an important barometer of future trends for wealthy travelers, with many of the destinations costing tens of thousands of pounds.


To see the full list, visit the below link: http://www.cntraveller.co.uk/readers_awards/RTA_2003/categories/Hotels/Overseas_Leisure_Hotels_Africa_Indian_Ocean_and_Middle_East.html

A DJ night is to be held by the Tourism Ministry in Male atoll Kuda Bandos island to mark the World Tourism Day.

Though the Tourism Day is marked on Sept 27, the DJ night will be held on the evening of Oct 3, according to officials.


The DJ night is titled "Tourism Eve" and will guest star two renown Australian DJs.


A music band of Maldives will also perform at the DJ. Anybody can attend the DJ after buying a ticket for Rf100 (about US$8).


Kuda Bandos is a few minutes boat ride from the Male International Airport and is used as an excursion and picnic island by Bandos Island Resort.

The artificial beach area on Male's eastern coast was cleaned up this week by the National Security Service.

The area is becoming one of the capital island's tourist attractions mainly because tourists are curious about the way the artificial beach is created by metal stones, according to the Lifeguard Station there.


Tourists also visit the artificial beach to quench their thirst with ice cream from the original Swiss Movenpick vendor there.


Furthermore, many tourists on excursion to Male visit the Lonuziyaaraiy Kolhu area adjacent to the artificial beach to photograph local and foreign surfers and body boarders braving the waves at any time of the day.

Reethi Rah resort on Sept 9 defended the title of the resort volleyball tournament for the second straight year.

Reethi Rah became the first division champions by beating Laguna 3-2.


The resort's coach Ahmed Asim said that he now has set his sights on winning the tournament next year, too.


The resort volleyball tournament this time was held at the court of the Youth Center in Male.'


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