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Maldives attracts Australian market.

Male, Aug. 31 -- Although the Maldives is still a relatively new holiday destination for the Australian market, a steady flow of interest in the island archipelago is now on the rise, the Maldives Traveller magazine reported.

"In June, the major Australian news and lifestyle website, NineMSN ran a prominent article extolling the virtues of the Maldives and casting the spotlight on the Hilton Iru Fushi resort in Noonu Atoll," it said.

The resort's water villas, spa and cuisine were singled out for praise. The article also touched on how Iru Fushi is beloved of celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears, who lodged in the 600 square metre "Celebrity Suite" which boasts three bedrooms, a wine cellar, entertainment room and several pools, it said.

Another major Australian website, News.com.au, has showcased the Maldives in a new article, recently.

The article pinpoints the diving and "spectacular snorkeling" as particular highlights, as well as its reputation as a romantic holiday destination.

The writer set off on a snorkeling adventure to Blue Lagoon Reef, and also had a cultural experience, meeting Maldivians in their home village and describing meeting "Cherub-faced kindergarten children in neat, white pinafores" with" bright smiles for tourists' cameras" who "shyly tell us their names".

The article goes on to say: "Middle-aged women in headscarf sweep the education centre with straw brooms, bent low to the ground. Men crowd around the tourists, their eyes hungrily watching the entourage in the hope we will visit their shop. One man, one of 10 children, proudly leads me into his shop and then leaves me to browse. The buildings are simple, concrete brick.

"We leave for the Blue Lagoon and spend more than an hour snorkeling in 28c water above a large and colorful coral reef."

The article shows an increase in interest in the Maldives from Australia, and also represents an increase in interest amongst travelers in cultural experiences.

Earlier, an Australian feature film called "Caught Inside", shot in the Maldives, saw its world premiere, the magazine reported.

"It is a drama set upon a safari boat in the Maldives. And as we reported earlier this month, award-winning Australian company, Tropic Surf, has partnered with Anantara resorts in the Maldives to provide surfing holidays for both beginners and professional surfers alike," it said.

MBC and MNBC at loggerheads

The Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), established under a law enacted by parliament, is set to take the government-created state media body, the Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) to court, to decide who should control the state media.

"The MBC will request in the Civil Court that the MNBC transfer all the assets, money and staff of MNBC to MBC," Minivan News reported.

"Political Adviser for the President, Hassan Afeef, recently stated that the MNBC would not be dissolved even though parliament had established the MBC," it said.

Afeef claimed that the two channels of the state media, Voice of Maldives and Television Maldives, were assets of MNBC and no asset of a company shall be transferred to another company without the consent of the owners, and that therefore the two channels could not be given to MBC.

Municipality chief blames opposition coalition

Male' Municipality President Adam Manik has blamed the opposition coalition for obstructing and undermining the government, after the latter went to court against selling land plots in the capital.

The opposition coalition has lodged a case in Civil Court against the Male' Municipality for selling land plots in south-west Harbour Area, Miadhu reported.

The Municipality opened 11 plots of 50,000 square feet of land near south-west harbour for bidding.

Prices of the land plots, initially fixed at Rf4,000 per square feet rose to over Rf5,000 per square feet, later.

"But the opposition coalition alleged the government is not authorized to sell the lands according to the Land Act," it said.

However, Manik "accused the opposition coalition of blocking every motion of the Government in helping the citizenry."

The opposition coalition comprising the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), Jumhooree Party, and People's Alliance (PA) said the move contradicts the country's constitution.

It said the "Land Authority did not assign the responsibility to the Municipality."

"The Land Plan referred to in 1.1 of Regulations for Developing the Built Environment has not been passed," the opposition coalition argued. "The committee stated in article 10 of Regulation on Ownership of State Land, did not decide a price for the lands."

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Publication:Asian Tribune (India)
Date:Aug 31, 2010
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