Vaavu Atoll Residents Protest Sale of Bodufinolhu Sandbank

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Residents of Vaavu Atoll have gathered at Kolhudhiffushi lagoon to protest the recent sale of Bodufinolhu, crucial for tourism. The peaceful demonstration, joined by people from all islands of Vaavu and local tourism businesses, aims to halt the sale that threatens their economy.

Thinadhoo council President Shifaq Hussain highlighted Bodufinolhu’s importance, serving as a key attraction for tourists from Vaavu, Kaafu, and Ari Atolls due to its accessibility at all tides. The sale, amounting to USD 729,000 (MVR 11.2 million), has sparked widespread concern, with 71 local businesses signing a petition against it.

The Vaavu Atoll council also expressed dismay over the sale’s procedural flaws, emphasizing its impact on the growing tourism sector. They argue that Bodufinolhu’s preservation is vital for sustaining local guesthouses, resorts, and safaris.

Shifaq emphasized that keeping Bodufinolhu open to all tourists—potentially thousands—is crucial for the region’s economy. Protesters urge the government to reconsider, highlighting the sandbank’s role in attracting tourists who seek the Maldives’ natural beauty.

The protest underscores a community’s plea to protect Bodufinolhu, balancing economic interests with sustainable tourism practices in Vaavu Atoll.