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Sun 27 May 2007 02:43 PM

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Maldives to open five new airports

Emirates Airline eyeing one of the new hubs.

The Maldives' Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation has revealed that five new airports will be built on reclaimed lagoons across the North and South atolls taking the Maldives' total hub count to seven.

Mahamood Shougee said that Emirates Airline, which already flies to the capital, Mahe, was considering flying to the new hub in the south and that charter airlines from Europe were already scheduling flights to the new airports.

Each of the new airports will be built in conjunction with at least one resort as the Maldives gears up to introduce more mid-range properties to its portfolio of products.

"The Maldives is a relatively expensive destination at present because there are not many rooms and the level of interest is unprecedented, but the image we want to portray is that we have products for the mid-market also," said Shougee.

"We want to be able to offer something to the average traveller and we are making an effort to bring mid-range resorts to the Maldives."

The Maldives currently boasts 89 resorts where occupancies are in the 82%-85% range. But 51 resorts are currently under construction with the aim of eventually creating a 50/50 mix of top-end and mid-market properties.

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