Honourable Ministers, President and Chairman of Singapore Airport Terminal Services, Mr. Clement Woon, Mr. Ali Hussain Didi, Chairman of Hulhule Island Hotel and MIC, General Manager of Hulhule Island Hotel, Mr. Utkarsh Faujdar, Ladies and Gentlemen:
May I first thank Mr. Clement Woon and Mr. Utkarsh Faujdar for their kind words of welcome. I would also like to say a special “thank you” to Mr. Woon for the beautiful commemorative gift.
On August 15th 2001, I had the pleasure of inaugurating Hulhule Island Hotel. Over the past seven years, the Hotel has grown to become a key member of the travel and trade business in the Maldives. HIH has also become well-known for excellent service and a delicious cuisine. The rapid rise in prominence of HIH, coupled with the inauguration today of its new deluxe wing, is undoubtedly the result of its good management, and the high standard of service offered by its staff.
The new deluxe wing of HIH will add a new dimension to the Hotel. The guests at the Hotel can now look forward to a better quality of accommodation and service, ensuring that their stay will be even more comfortable and memorable than before.
The Hulhule Island Hotel or HIH for short is one of many examples of successful collaborative efforts between the Governments and business sectors of the Maldives and Singapore. It is an important project carried out by Maldives In-flight Catering, which is a successful joint venture between the Maldives Airports Company and Singapore Airport Terminal Services.
The Hotel is also a vivid example of the growing investment ties between the Maldives and Singapore. We share strong trade and shipping links. Singapore is our largest trading partner accounting for more than 22% of the total volume of foreign trade of the Maldives. Singapore Airlines has been operating scheduled flights between Singapore and Malé for the past twenty four years. There are Singapore investments in our tourism industry as well.
The occupancy rate of our resorts and hotels reached its highest value ever last month. If this trend continues in the coming months, this will be third consecutive record breaking year. The future of tourism in the Maldives is very bright indeed. The growth of tourism offers a vast number of jobs for Maldivians. HIH itself offers over 200 jobs of which 59 percent are Maldivians. Also, the introduction of tourism in the atolls has led to the development of the islands in the vicinity of the new resorts.
This hotel is vital both to the Hulhule International Airport and to the tourism industry. It increases the conveniences offered to travellers, being the only transit style hotel on the airport.
As we open another chapter in the development of the Hotel, I wish to thank the Chairman and Board members of MIC, the Chairman of HIH as well as its General Manager, for their valuable contribution to this enterprise. I would also like to thank the former Chairman of MIC, Lieutenant-General retired Anbaree Abdul Sattar, who is now our high commissioner to India, for his contribution to the development of MIC and for the establishment of this Hotel. It appears that our high commissioners have a special attachment to HIH. I would also like to express my appreciation to the CEO and management of SATS and Singapore Airlines for their strong support. I wish the Hotel and its new wing every success.