The guidelines of homestay tourism were published in the gazette on 31st December 2021 right before the implementation of homestay tourism in M. Dhiggaru on 1st January 2022. The underlying regulations were focused on ensuring the safety of the visitors and sustainable growth with minimal negative impacts on local communities.

The amended regulatory frame book says the license will be issued under the guesthouse business registry for a period of 5 years. The properties must have between 1-5 rooms with each size of a room with an attached bathroom of no less than 120 square feet.

The profits generated from the homestay scheme are subject to tax. Hence, the property has to be registered at Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA). The guidelines state the establishment of a tourist help desk at every island, which should be reachable any time of the day.  The government has published the gazette 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. 

Homestay tourism was inaugurated at Dhiggaru Island on 1st January 2021 with the warm welcome of five tourist visitors among which including Ms. Catherine Haswell, the UN Resident Coordinator for the Republic of Maldives. With the introduction of homestay tourism, a substantial number of tourist beds are expected to be added to the market, and homestay tourism is a revolutionary step taken to enhance the future of tourism in the Maldives.

Photo by: Ali Shaafy, SunOnline

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