Maldives invites bids to build luxury hotel in capital

Aug 30, 2007 (AFP) – The Maldives has invited international investors to bid for the right to construct the tropical nation’s first luxury hotel on the island capital Male, officials said Thursday. Holidaymakers have made Maldives the richest nation in South Asia, with a per capita income of 2,674 dollars. Tourism and fishing account for a large share of the nation’s economy of just under one billion dollars.

The proposed development is part of the Maldives’ plan to attract a million tourists by 2010 and increase its hotel bed capacity some 80 percent to 36,700 by 2012.

The government has offered an area of 40,000 square feet (3,716 square meters) on a 25-year lease for the 200-bed hotel, Tourism Minister Mahamood Shougee told AFP.

Male, which measures one square mile (2.5 square kilometres), has over a dozen guest houses and small hotels but no five-star property.

“We don’t really have a proper five-star hotel in the city, and we expect to fill the void with this proposed hotel development,” Shougee said.

Bids are expected to close on September 16. No estimate has been given for the value of the project.

The successful bidder must also sell a 30 perc