The Ministry of Tourism held a press conference on the afternoon of 29th December 2021, to disclose the details of homestay tourism. The press conference was attended by Deputy Minister of Tourism Asad Riza, Senior Policy Director Ibrahim Farhad, Senior Policy Director Mohamed Khussan, and Senior Executive Director Ali Razzan. This is the first press conference held by the Ministry of Tourism since the pandemic.
Speaking at the conference, Mr. Asad Riza highlighted the massive achievements achieved by the Maldivian tourism industry throughout the year. The Maldives acquired the title for World’s Leading Tourist Destination two years in a row at the World Travel Awards as well as reached the target tourist arrivals numbers two months ahead of goal.
Mr. Asad Riza said 10 years ago guesthouses were introduced as a local tourism product and today we are just completing a decade-long project by taking it to the next level, that is by introducing homestay tourism. The goal is to provide business opportunities for locals to be a part of the tourism industry. Mr. Asad Riza believes that the reason locals are hesitant to start a tourism business is due to inconveniences with guest house regulations and unaffordable investment rates. Hence, the target is to help people tackle these obstacles in order to diversify tourism in the local islands. With homestay tourism, Maldives will become more affordable to visitors and will be able to attract visitors from new and different markets, he added.
Senior Executive Director Ali Razzan, mentioned that homestay tourism was discussed extensively with island councils, women empowerment committees, and people already working in the industry to determine what is needed to implement it. Homestay tourism is set to kickstart in the island of Dhiggaru on the 1st of January 2022, along with the new year’s celebrations and the Golden Jubilee of tourism in the Maldives, he added. Mr. Ali Razzan noted that the regulatory frame book will be amended and new rules will be added and introduced in the upcoming year.
Speaking about the rules and regulations, Senior Policy Director Mohamed Khussan said the main focus will be on providing convenient registration services for anyone setting up a new business. Furthermore, criminal records of guesthouse owners will be taken into account when issuing registrations and third-party liability insurance will be introduced to protect visitors and property owners.
The press conference was concluded with a Q&A session afterwards.