Maldives has been one of the most sought-after tourist destinations since its tourism industry took off in the 90s. With its natural geography, the islands of the Maldives are blessed with beautiful turquoise waters, refreshing lush greenery and a kind of peace and quiet that you can only get on an island that is detached from the noise and pollution of cities.
Development of the Maldivian tourism industry over the years
Soon after the tourism sector was introduced to the country, the aviation and transportation industry was also developed in order to cater to the large number of guests that were overflowing into the country – and soon enough tourism became the largest sector largely contributing to the growing economy of the Maldives.
Just like that, the tourism sector became one of the largest and most important sectors in the Maldives, winning the Indian Ocean’s leading destination award three years in a row at the World Travel Awards, and it appears the Maldives’ tourist sector still has ways to go in terms of development.
For a long time, the Maldives has been known to visitors as a luxury destination that requires saving up months and years in advance, to celebrate special occasions such as anniversaries or weddings. In 2010 Maldives tourism industry took a new turn with the introduction of guest house tourism in local inhabited islands. This allowed visitors to book more budget-friendly options, and seek out stays on local islands completely changing the narrative of the Maldives in the mind of the tourist markets.
This sector has allowed for several beautiful local islands of the Maldives that have never been discovered before to finally get a taste of the benefits of the industry, creating more job opportunities and giving the islanders a chance to showcase the beauty of the local island life to foreigners.
The Urban Isle
While islands are slowly getting used to visitors coming to islands seeking the unique natural beauty each island has to offer, with the development of Hulhumale phase II, it appears that the Maldivian tourism industry might be introducing yet another side of the Maldives for visitors.
On November 30, 2022, the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) introduced the Urban isle, the birth of urban tourism in the Maldives. Urban tourism is going to be another new concept to be introduced in the Maldives as visitors have been used to seeing Maldives as just resorts and small islands, however, with this new form of tourism, visitors can finally get a glance of the capital city and urban lifestyle that is enjoyed in the Maldives as well.
The Urban isle is to be located in Hulhumale’ only 6.5km from Velana International Airport (VIA) which is connected to Hulhumale’, making it the perfect destination for those who are seeking a short stay during layovers as well.
This project plans to stay in touch with the Maldives’ one island one resort concept by developing buildings perfect for long-term stays, attractive for digital nomads as well as short-term visitors by having the location in the very hub of the Maldives as it is connected to the airport as well as the capital city Male’.
Urban isle is planned to have a variety of choices for guests to experience with a variety of stays to choose from such as:
- 21 guest houses with a total area of 9224 SQM
- 11 luxury villas with a total area of 5083 SQM
- 10 serviced apartments with a total area of 7006 SQM
- 9 commercial spines with a total area of 9474 SQM
- 3 midscale hotels with a total area of 19,103 SQM
- 3 upscale hotels with a total area of 50,681 SQM
- 4 city hotels with a total area of 2850 SQM
This area has already been planned to be developed for local residents by HDC with housing, banking, education, grocery stores and even hospitals to be developed in this area with more development plans to be completed in the coming years.
While there are several upcoming projects for residential developments, the urban isle tourism development is to be developed as a completely separate project from the Hulhumale’ development project.