President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has founded a new state company to promote tourism in the Maldives.
According to a resolution released by the president on February 1 and gazetted on Thursday, the new company is named “Maldives Tourism Promotion Board Limited” with 100 percent government stakes. The mandate of the company is to promote the Maldives overseas and to identify, research and advance the changes and progress of the industry.
Currently, the main tourism promotion body is Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) which was founded by Former President Mohamed Nasheed during his administration, after the abolishment of the then Tourism Promotion Board which was operated under the Ministry of Tourism.
However, the largest corruption scandal in the history of the Maldives is also centred in MMPRC, where MVR 1.2 billion (USD 79 million) worth of funds received as acquisition costs via island leases for resort development had been embezzled through the corporation. MMPRC’s former Managing Director Abdulla Ziyath and former Vice President Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor have been convicted of the crime and are serving jail sentences, while other charges against the duo are still undergoing trials.
The fate of MMPRC remains unclear following the new tourism promotion company founded by the president.