The Maldives government has gazetted a new regulation that permit resort developers to extend the designated boundary of their resorts from 500 to 1000 meters. The boundary extension fee for an additional 500 meters is set at $100,000.
On March 14, 2023, the Ministry of Tourism launched the new Resort Boundary Regulations, officially known as 2023/R-90. The regulations, which are nine pages long, replace and repeal the previous Boundary Regulations 2012 and all related amendments. All boundary matters are now guided by the new regulations.
The regulations cover similar subject matters as the previous regulations but include updated, revised, and new provisions. According to the new regulations, an island’s boundary leased for resort development will be determined from the dry land in mid-tide surrounding the island. If the island’s boundary area is already specified in the lease agreement, it will be considered the boundary area of the island.
For lagoons without dry land, if there is more than 500 meters of lagoon area from the point of dry land to the outer boundary of the reef in mid-tide, the boundary will be designated as up to 500 meters from the point of dry land in mid-tide. However, developers can extend the area beyond 500 meters, up to an additional 500 meters, by paying a fee of $100,000.
The regulation specifies that even with an extended designated boundary, the boundary area cannot exceed the outer part of the natural lagoon. The lease agreement must be amended to include the extended area.
The regulations also permit the designated boundary of an island to include up to 50 meters from rooms and other facilities developed outside the lagoon with the permission of the Ministry of Tourism.
The regulations specify no-development zones in the resort’s lagoon. Land reclamation and construction are prohibited in these areas, and an island formed in such areas cannot be allotted for tourism purposes. The no-development zone is 50 meters inwards from the lagoon boundary.
The regulation also includes exemptions. If there is a gap between the area of the resort’s lagoon and the inhabited island, the area of the resort’s boundary will be considered up to the end of the area in the jurisdiction of the inhabited island. If there is another island or resort within the lagoon, the boundary area between the two locations will be equally distributed if the boundary area between dry land in mid-tide of the island and the neighboring island is less than 1000 meters.
If the area of the resort’s lagoon includes tourist attractions such as diving and surfing points, the ministry must declare such areas and formulate rules for their use.
If an island’s designated boundary is determined based on the outer reef boundary, the area 300 meters around the boundary will be considered the resort’s exclusive zone. Any development in the exclusive zone can only be carried out after obtaining permission from the Ministry for important projects or renewable energy generation. Violations of the regulation will result in a fine of MVR 100,000.