The European Union (EU), the Ministry of Economic Development of the Maldives and the local business community gathered in the island of Thulusdhoo to provide 20 recovery grants to local guesthouses. This grant award ceremony held on March 24 is part of the EU funded project “EU Support for a Resilient Recovery of SME Tourism Industry in the Maldives”.
The EU has provided EUR 2 million (nearly MVR 36 million) to help the local tourism industry to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. The ultimate goal is to help to build a more resilient and a diversified economy in the Maldives. A total of EUR 1,4 million (around MVR 25 million) has been allocated for SME recovery grants. To date, 219 beneficiaries received a direct EU grant, out of which 181 are local guesthouses and 38 are safari vessels.
While addressing the guests, Ms. Jenny Correia Nunes, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives highlighted that “This Project targets the small businesses that were hardest hit during the COVID-19 lockdowns. It is in line with the Government’s priority to diversify the tourism sector and enable local communities to engage in and benefit from the sector. The guesthouses and safari vessels we are supporting will provide visitors with new affordable experiences closer to the communities, where they can learn about Maldivian culture and its people.”
The Deputy Minister of Economic Development Mr. Hussain Zamir appreciated the EU’s generous assistance, stating that “We would like to thank the European Union for their generous contribution, which has played a substantial role in the steady recovery of the SME tourism sector. The direct transfer scheme under the grant aid project specifically helped guesthouses and safari vessels to overcome the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
It is estimated that more than 600 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) will receive the EU grant by the end of the project. All local MSMEs with a valid operating license at the start of the COVID- 19 crisis (Dec 2019, Jan 2019 or Feb 2020) are eligible to apply for the assistance. To find out more on how to apply, visit the website: eusupport.mfmc.mv.
This support is part of the wider assistance provided by the EU to the Maldives in response to the COVID- 19 pandemic, which also includes EUR 1 million to WHO for their early response in the health sector.
The Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Ministry of Economic Development, Maldives Fund Management Corporation, National Boating Association of the Maldives, Guesthouse Association of the Maldives and the K. Thulusdhoo island council attended the grant award ceremony. The Maldives Fund Management Corporation (MFMC) is the lead implementation agency for the project.
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