Many Opportunities in Tourism - Maldives Envoy

Monday, 17 March 2008 07:43

Maldives, the island country in the Indian Ocean, has opened its first embassy in the Middle East in Saudi Arabia reports Arab News.

“We chose Saudi Arabia as the first destination to have our foreign mission in the region since the Kingdom, which hosts millions of pilgrims in the holy city of Makkah and Madinah, is accepted not only as a leader in the Muslim world but also as a strategic hub in the region,” said the Maldives Ambassador Hussain Shihab, who presented a copy of his credentials to Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal in late February says Arab News.

According to Arab News Ambassador Shihab said that Maldives is spreading its diplomatic wings gradually by opening new missions in Singapore, Tokyo, Beijing, Geneva and Saudi Arabia. Maldives already has diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia and the UK.

According to Arab News Ambassador Shihab said that his priority is to develop strong economic ties between the Kingdom and Maldives. He said that Maldives, which has some 200 inhabited islands, is a popular tourist destination for both European as well as Middle East travelers. The island, whose population is only 300,000, attracts more than 800,000 tourists a year, he said, adding that the tourist infrastructure could be improved with viable investments from the Kingdom.

According to Arab News Shihab said that the mission has plans to have an open day event at the mission for Saudi businessmen to enable them to familiarize with the business opportunities and incentives given by the state for foreign investors. The country has 100 resort islands and many more could be improved with foreign investments, he noted. Arab News reports that one of Ambassador Shihab’s main tasks would be to meet and assist the Haj and Umra pilgrims who come to the holy cities during the respective seasons.


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