New rules offer resort boundary extension

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A resort island’s boundary can be extended up to 1,000 metres from the beach, according to new rules gazetted by the tourism ministry on 14 March.

The new boundary regulations introduced rules for demarcating a resort island’s boundary in cases where it is not specified in the lease agreement. The boundary is now determined from the mean tide line as opposed to the vegetation line under the old regulations enacted in 2012.

If a resort island’s lagoon extends 500 metres beyond the mean tide line at dry land, the leaseholder can pay a fee of US$100,000 for an extension of a further 500 metres. The lease agreement would have to be revised to reflect the new boundary. The boundary cannot extend beyond an island’s outer reef.

But if a dive point or surf break designated as a tourist attraction lies within the lagoon, the boundary must be adjusted to exclude such spots. The tourism ministry must publish a list of applicable tourist attractions.

The regulations also prohibit any development within 50 metres of the outer boundary. A fine of up to MVR100,000 (US$6,485) can be imposed for violations.

As a general principle, the boundary is measured from the mean tide line at the beach to 500 metres. If the lagoon is smaller than 500 metres, the boundary will be the island’s outer reef.

If the resort island lies in the same lagoon as an inhabited island, the former’s boundary will be marked up to the local island’s territory. If the neighbouring island is uninhabited or a tourist resort within 1,000 metres, the boundary will be the midpoint on an equidistant line.

Last week, the tourism ministry requested tourist establishments to “promptly complete and submit demarcations of their respective boundaries.” The submission must include two hard copies of the boundary demarcation report along with a “clear and precise map of the demarcated area endorsed by a certified surveyor” and CAD files of the boundary demarcation.