The Maldives is to welcome several new tourism developments during 2018, including expansion plans at the recently rebranded Velana International Airport and the opening of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge in July 2018.

The China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, set to be completed and inaugurated in July 2018, will span from Malé’s eastern edge to the western corner of the island of Hulhulé, where Velana International Airport is located. The bridge project is the first of its kind in the Maldives and will help provide a reliable land connection for holidaymakers between the capital and the airport.

In tandem with this news and following a rebranding earlier this year, Velana International Airport will be welcoming a new terminal and runway to help handle an increasing number of visitors to the Maldives. The new passenger terminal is expected to be completed in 2020. In mid-2018, the airport will also open a new 3,400m long, 60m wide Code-F runway which will allow the airport to accommodate the world’s largest passenger airliner, the Airbus A380, with the aim to cater for seven million passengers per year.

These new developments have been made to help support the increasing demand for tourism to the island nation. The UK continues to be an important inbound market with 68,007 UK tourists visiting the country from January – August 2017. This figure accounts for 7.6% of all tourists visiting and is the second highest share across all inbound markets for this period.

Moosa Zameer, minister of tourism for the Maldives, said: “This is a very exciting time for the Maldives with a number of key infrastructure developments taking place during 2018 and beyond, which will benefit both tourists and the local community. Our tourism industry is continuing to expand and with ten new hotel resorts opening during the next few years, we look forward to being able to accommodate even more visitors from overseas.”

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