President to commence official visit to Italy

Monday, 16 February 2009 10:34

President Mohamed Nasheed and first lady Laila Ali is expected to depart to Italy on an official visit sometime today. President Nasheed briefing the media earlier has said the main objectives of his visit to Italy are to seek Italian government’s aid towards the reconstruction of the country and continue the special initiatives of the government to minimize the anticipated decline in Maldives tourism this year by encouraging more Italian holiday makers to visit Maldives.

The President has said that in order to offset the anticipated decline he will be seeking to increase the number of Italian holiday makers by a minimum of 5000.He has said every effort will be made to make this year’s Milan Fair a Maldives fair. Milan Fair to be held from 19 to 20 of this month will include many Maldivian tourism industry sources. The president and accompanying delegation is expected to visit the fair.

Further President Nasheed has highlighted that the number of Italian tourists visiting the country began to decline in 1994 and that by year 2004, Italian holiday makers dropped as much as 20 percent. He said the main reason for such a drastic reduction is due to high lease fees imposed on the tourist islands.

Many are anticipating a reduction in government levies on resort islands opening opportunities for budget holiday makers to visit Maldives.

President Nasheed will be accompanied by Tourism Minister Dr. Ali Sawaad, Foreign Minister Dr. Ahmed Shaheed and Trade Minister Mohamed Rasheed.



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