Chinese Tourists, Cold Storage, Service Charge

Thursday, January 19

The State Trading Organisation announced a collaboration with Sap Ariba for a new supplier business cooperation network, which would “ensure the consolidation and control of all our spending, from source to pay.”

Instead of emails, the cloud-based online network will now be used for all communications with suppliers, reducing the time spent on procurement from five days to five hours, according to the state-owned behemoth, which conducted business transactions worth MVR15 billion (US$972 million) in 2022.

Bid announcements, seeking quotations, order confirmations, and delivery notifications can be made through the platform. Suppliers can use the service free of charge.

Thursday, January 19

Wednesday, January 18

A contract was signed for the development of a 4,000 metric tonne cold storage complex in the Felivaru fish cannery with loan financing from the Indian EXIM Bank.

“Complemented with a 200 MT brine freezing facility, an 80 MT RSW system, a 50 MT block ice plant and a 100 MT ice storage to be developed in GA.Gemanafushi – all these projects will provide a total solution for fish storage and enhance value creation from the fishery sector,” according to the economic development ministry.

The bid for the US$23 million worth of projects was won by India’s Rinac company.

The cold storage will be developed in 5.7 hectares of land reclaimed for the purpose from the Felivaru lagoon. Work on a new export jetty and fish weighing jetty is nearing completion, the ministry said.

The government has also invited bids to develop a new 100-tonne fish processing factory in Felivaru.

Wednesday, January 18

After a nearly three-year hiatus. the first direct flight from China to the Maldives since 2020 arrived with the first batch of Chinese tourists after the country ended Covid-19 travel restrictions earlier this month.

At a ceremony featuring a traditional boduberu performance, the tourists were greeted with flowers and a gift pack as they disembarked. The high-level welcome delegation included Tourism Minister Dr Abdulla Mausoom and Chinese Ambassador Wang Lixin.

China was the largest source market before the pandemic with 284,029 holidaymakers in 2019, representing a 17% market share.  

Speaking to reporters at the airport, the tourism minister expressed optimism that China would be among the top five markets for 2023 with at least 100,000 tourists.

After reopening borders, China no longer requires quarantines for returning travellers. 

The number of Chinese tourists visiting the Maldives grew exponentially after 2010. Despite dwindling figures since peaking in 2014 with a 30% market share, China remained the single highest supplier of tourists to the country until the pandemic struck in early 2020. 

The number of Chinese tourists sharply increases during China’s “super Golden Week” early in the year – an eight-day period combining two public holidays, including the Lunar New Year. This year’s Chinese New Year falls on 22 January.

China was the world’s largest outbound travel market in 2019 with US$255 billion annual global spending by Chinese tourists. The lifting of travel restrictions spurred a surge in bookings as Asia’s tourist hotspots prepared for a boom and airlines ramped up capacity, Reuters reported.

The Maldives Inland Revenue Authority launched its new website and mobile application, offering digital services to taxpayers.

Tuesday, January 17

Construction began on 50 three-bedroom row houses in Gaaf Alif Villingili. The MVR48 million (US$3.1 million) project was awarded to local construction company Dhonbez in June to be completed in 270 days.

Tuesday, January 17

Monday, January 16

The health ministry awarded an MVR123 million (US$7.9 million) project to build a 30-bed hospital in Haa Alif Ihavandhoo to Duplex Pvt Ltd. The new hospital is to be completed in 18 months with financing from the Bank of Maldives.

Contracts were signed earlier this month to build 30-bed hospitals in Lhaviyani Hinnavaru and Noonu Kendhikulhudhoo.

Monday, January 16

Sunday, January 15

Kaani Hotels paid a service charge of US$420 per staff, which was reported to be the highest paid by a local island guesthouse operator so far, exceeding the amount paid by smaller resorts. Kaani operates four guesthouses in Maafushi and employs 180 staff across its properties, including one guesthouse in Malé.

Tourist establishments are legally mandated to collect a service charge of at least 10% from tourists, which must be distributed equally among employees after deducting no more than 1% as an administrative cost.

The Velaa Private Island resort paid the highest service charge in December with US$1,645 per staff, according to a list compiled by a resort workers’ group.

Sunday, January 15