The bill proposes different rates based on location with lower amounts for resort islands in northern and southern atolls.
- Haa Alif to Shaviyani Atolls: reduction from US$5 to US$4 per square meter
- Noonu to Dhaalu Atolls: reduction from US$8 to US$6 per square meter
- Thaa to Gaaf Dhaalu Atolls: reduction from US$6 to US$5 per square meter
According to the bill, the move is intended to alleviate the additional financial burden placed on resorts with the introduction of a minimum wage this year. A monthly salary of US$519 for resort workers came into force in January.
The government also proposed new rules governing the sale of shares of joint venture companies with resort islands leases. In lieu of setting a fixed price in the law, the share price would be based on the market value. Other changes proposed to the tourism law include new provisions to empower local councils to rent out land based on market value and to authorise the lease of public land on inhabited islands under council jurisdiction. Registration fees for guesthouses, hotels and dive centres will be abolished and the process for leasing private islands to investors will be amended to remove inconsistencies.
After a preliminary debate on the house floor, the bill was accepted for consideration on Wednesday. It will be put to a vote after review and consultation of stakeholders by a parliament committee.