Maldives Local Travel Agents Welcome Government’s Decision to Terminate GMR Contract of Male’ International Airport

Male, Maldives, November 29, 2012 --( Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) remains committed to their members and building a sub-segment within the tourism industry that caters to the local travel agents’ needs. Today local travel agents play a vital role in the development of Maldivian Tourism as a whole.

In the recent past, MATATO has been in dialogue with GMR Malé International Airport to discuss its concerns on GMR’s engaging in various commercial activities that might bring adverse effects on local travel agents.

The association also remains concerned with the increased prices of Tourist Counters, airline office spaces and other related services and facilities at the Airport. The current rents of the counters have been pushed up approximately by double from the previous ones.

Moreover, GMR’s getting into the business of ground handling of commercial aircrafts as well as private jets, thus narrowing down the chances for local agents to go ahead with this business, remains of great concern to MATATO. Recently they saw GMR take over majority of the retail businesses at the airport duty free thus adding to this concern.

MATATO believes an airport shouldn’t operate basing solely on commercial interests simply because the major share of Maldivian economy depends on tourism. Therefore the Airport Authorities should subsidise the charges on its services and facilities and encourage more airlines to fly to the Maldives thus attracting more tourists to Maldives.

Given the highly business oriented stance that GMR has tried to impose on local businesses, Government affiliated companies and the general public, MATATO welcomes the decision of the Government of Maldives to terminate the contract it has had with GMR. MATATO does not believe that the decision of Government of Maldives will adversely affect bilateral relation between India and Maldives and other international relations it has been enjoying over the years.

MATATO believes this decision will have no impact on current tourist arrivals or lead to any delays or disruptions at the Male’ International Airport.

MATATO also takes this opportunity to call upon the Government to offer special rates at the airport for local agents, incentive schemes for airlines and agents.

Contact Information:
Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators
Lama Latheef
Contact via Email

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