Out of the 1,190 tiny islands that make up the iconic archipelago of the Maldives, 16 of them are now being auctioned off by the Maldivian government. An obvious attempt to help the nation rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact on tourism, the Maldives island auction will see the local Government grant 50-year leases to successful bidders, on the proviso that the new owners commit to building island resorts on their respective piece of land (as opposed to private estates).
Throughout the pandemic, the Maldives has already employed a number of initiatives to try and offset the huge impact a lack of tourism has had on the island nation. The ultra-luxurious Anantara Veli Maldives Resort began offering unlimited stays that were cheaper than Sydney rent, while the Raffles Maldives switched things up by offering the entire resort – that’s21 villas, a yacht, and 2 islands – for $1 million per 4 nights. The Maldives island auction is obviously on a much larger, and longer scale, with a selection of uninhabited islands being sold to the highest bidder.
The largest of these islands measures in at 42 acres, although all of them vary greatly in sizes. Each sale will come with a 50-year lease and the aforementioned conditions. Construction on the prospective island resorts will need to begin within 36 months of the purchase, and all plans must respect the area’s surrounding natural environment.
However, how much you bid isn’t going to be the only factor that locks in your very own private island. There are various documents and applications that must be handed to the Ministry of Tourism for The Maldives by June 6th, and all bids must be placed by June 10th. In other more alarming words… you only have a week to lay claim to your very own Maldives island and put plans in place for a resort.
Bids will be assessed on more than just money. The Maldivian government will also consider all details of the proposal, including the gender parity of resort staffing, carbon impact of the development, and building height (no building can exceed the tree tops). You’ll also need to be willing to set-up shop in The Maldives to see those plans through. Fortunately, those planning to invest at least US$250,000 (AU$323,556) will be eligible for a five-year resident visa to the Maldives.
The Maldives island auction includes prime choices like the Thaa atoll, which is the aforementioned 42-acre island, the Laamu, and the Meemu atoll. The latter is obviously going to be one of the most expensive, seeing as it’s much closer to the Maldivian capital city of Male, hence the international airport.
All prospective bidders will need to fork out a non-refundable fee of US$3,250 (AU$4,206) to guarantee their application even gets looked at. But hey, if you’ve got that kind of dosh, and you work better under pressure, you could lock yourself in a slice of paradise by the end of this week. Just make sure you download the relevant application forms for the official Maldivian Government website and you’re good to go.
If you miss out, don’t worry. According to some reports, the Maldivian Government plans to auction off more tiny islands in the near future.