Every year the Ministry of Tourism announces a few uninhabited islands for bid for resort development. Following the bidding process, these islands are acquired by private parties or companies in order to develop the luxury resorts that the Maldives is famously known for.
On January 2023, the Ministry of Tourism announced the 14 islands across nine atolls that are up for the bidding process this year. With the lowest rate for the bids starting at USD 200,000 and the higher-end bids going up to USD 875, 000, the bid was set to be closed on March 21, 2023.
Following the publication of the islands that are up for the bidding process this year, the Tourism Ministry came under major scrutiny as, Boahura, an island located in Meemu Atoll was one of the islands that were listed among the islands up for bid to be developed into a tourist facility this year. With the announcement, citizens from the nearby island started expressing their distress as Boahura is one of the islands that are rich in natural resources in the Atoll and is well known among the surfing community.
Many started expressing their concerns over the fact that along with the development of tourism and ‘concrete development,’ Boahura will be deprived of its natural resources as the development of tourist islands will destroy a lot of the natural beauty that comes with the island.
Additionally, as one of the locations that are frequently visited by the surfing community of Meemu Atoll, the development of Boahura as a tourist facility would take this naturally resourceful location from the Maldivian community just to cater to foreign visitors.
In addition to the citizens of Meemu Atoll as well as the surfing community of the Maldives, many Environment protection organisations also raised their concerns about giving up such a naturally resourceful island for tourism development.
Following the voicing of these concerns, on 25th of January 2022, the Tourism Ministry released a statement saying that the Ministry does not plan to include the surf point in the tourism development plan and the surfing community would still have access to the surf point regardless of a resort being built on the island.
However, as the only concern was not the surf point but also the destruction of natural resources of the island, the Ministry of Tourism has decided to exclude Boahura from the list of islands up for bid along with some minor adjustments before re-publishing the list of islands up for bid.
This was not the first time Boahura was put up for development, the same was done in 2019 as well. While tourism is a major part of the Maldivian economy, it is extremely evident that the citizens of the Atoll do not want to give up this beautiful island to develop yet another tourism facility in the Maldives.