The economy of Maldives slows down as Chinese tourists are banned from visiting the paradise nation. It is not just the tourism industry that is causing the slow down of. Still, the construction of luxury resorts are also experiencing delays as China’s labor force, and the export process is affected by the Wuhan Virus.
There is now a shortage in the materials used for construction in the Maldives, which includes steel, cement, plywood, PVC pipes, and many other general construction materials.
China is among the top importers of construction materials to the Maldives, along with countries India, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Malaysia. Due to the affordable price of goods from the Covid-19 country of origin, most construction companies purchase materials directly from manufacturers there.
Maldives Resort Bookings Canceled
Luxury resorts such as the Baglioni, Radisson Blu, Waldorf Astoria, and Ritz Carlton Maldives are set to open within the next few months in the Maldives.
It is not yet clear how the Maldives is going to cope up with the pre-opening of this multi-million dollar construction contracts when its government has banned the arrival of flights from China.
Not only do resorts experience a major decline in sales as bookings were canceled, but the Maldives Airport, Velana International Airport’s expansion is also experiencing a slow. With some contractors from China who procure materials in bulk quantity from their home country, the project is nowhere near completion.
The government of Maldives told its local media reporters early this year that it expects to accommodate about 7.5 million passengers annually by 2022. Last year alone, the Chinese tourism market in the Maldives was comprised of more than 280,000. This year, the number is expected not to reach even half of last year’s figures.
Currently, its small airport can only accommodate about 2 to 3 million visitors annually.
Shipment Delays Equals to Project Delays
Steel materials, plywood, pipes, and other construction commodities that usually take about 30 to 40 days to ship from China are taking more than two months to transport now. Most suppliers and construction companies who have their own logistics and shipping companies are still waiting for shipments from China that were ordered late last year.
Some shipments were canceled, and some items are now being procured from other countries such as Turkey.
Compared to other countries, materials from Turkey are almost as affordable as China’s. Still, the downside is, shipment will take about 60 to 90 days, depending on the route of the ship before it arrives in the Maldives.
Data from Trading Economics, a reputable site that analyzes export and import data of goods and services, stated that for last year alone, the export of goods to the Maldives from China reached 5-year all-time high.
Last year’s export value amounted to 46207 in USD THO unit, which is significantly higher than the 30113 in USD THO of 2018.
It is not only construction products that are imported in the Maldives from China but products such as mechanical and electrical supplies, phone accessories and phone-related spare parts, clothing, and some agricultural products.
The government of Maldives has not lifted that ban it imposed on flights and travelers arriving from China. The ban was announced on February 3.
Maldivian citizens are exempted from the ban, according to Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.
This month, 7 Maldivians were evacuated from Wuhan with the help of Maldives’ ally India. The evacuees were quarantined along with the Indian Nationals.
So far, there are no confirmed cases of the Wuhan virus in the country.
Last year, Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan met with Shahid in Beijing, where the latter has expressed his goal to have more than a million Chinese visitors this year.
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