MAYA: New regulation on tourist vessels does not resolve concerns

Two cruise liners that ported at Male' City this year. (Photo/Yoosuf Sofwan)

Maldives Association for Yacht Agents (MAYA) has stated that the new regulation on travel and anchorage of tourist vessels published by the government yesterday, does not resolve their concerns.

Speaking to Sun regarding the matter, MAYA’s President Mohamed Nasheed said the new regulations contained points of concern to the association. However, he revealed that the government had affirmed their commitment to work alongside MAYA in the course of the upcoming month or so, to bring major amendments to the regulation.

Nasheed noted amendments had only been made to cruise liners in the new regulation to allow cruise liners to enter Maldives for seven days. However, he said MAYA had proposed a way to further increase revenue to the state from cruise liners within this seven-day timeframe than at present.

The present regulations states USD 850 will be charged from cruise liners for each day spent in the Maldives. Nasheed said MAYA had proposed to charge USD 10 from each passenger aboard instead.

If changed to the latter, USD 16 can be received as the passenger free including the green tax. Considering cruise liners coming to the Maldives with an average of 2,000 passengers, the state can earn a total of USD 32,000 from each respectively.

“We highly urged to amendment that point as we proposed. As we have been informed, this is just a very minor amendment for the time being. The discussions held with us centered on bringing a good and a major amendment in the upcoming month,” Nasheed said.

He expressed high hopes for the government’s next amendment to include the recommendations made by MAYA.

The new regulation stipulates that vessels that stay in the Maldives for less than seven days will need to obtain a permit from the Tourism Ministry. And, passenger liners will be charged USD 850 for each day spent in the Maldives.

However, if the passenger liner obtains prior permit from the Tourism Ministry, it will not be charged the USD 100 fee previously imposed on tourist vessels.

Passenger liners with prior permission will also not be required to take a charter license – which was compulsory under the previous regulation.

The new regulation also revised penalties imposed on agents for violations.

Under the new regulation, agents who violate the law more than twice will be fined USD 6,000 and have their license revoked.

The previous regulation, released in September 2022, did not stipulate the revocation of license.

It had been criticized by MAYA which warned the stringent regulation would bring the whole industry to a standstill.

With the publication of the new regulation, September’s regulation has been nullified.