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Long-awaited resort opens in Haa Dhaal Atoll

Until Sunday Haa Dhaal, which has a population of 18,570, was the only Maldivian atoll without a resort.



The first resort in Haa Dhaal atoll opened on Sunday with 160 beds.

The four-star Hondaafushi Island Resort received its first guests, Mihaaru reported, with just 18 people occupying nine of its 80 beach villas. More visitors will arrive in the coming days, resort shareholder Moosa Shiyam told the daily newspaper.

Hondaafushi measures 500 metres across, two kilometres in length and is around 56 hectares.

President Abdulla Yameen promised to build five resorts in Haa Dhaal atoll during a visit to Kulhudhuffushi in 2014.

Shiyam said Sunday’s debut was a “soft opening.”

“Even if we start operations now with 80 rooms, when everything is complete there will be 400 rooms. We will finish all rooms within the next two to three years.

“We divided into phases. Even if there are few rooms, we will provide all the services guests need.”

The resort is developed by AAA Resorts, which is owned by former parliamentarian Ahmed Hamza. The company operates three additional resorts across the Maldives.

Until Sunday Haa Dhaal, which has a population of 18,570, was the only Maldives atoll without a resort.

A lack of opportunity and tourism income fuelled frustration among people living in the second most populous atoll outside Malé.