The Maldives is one of the most popular celebrity holiday destinations. And its tourism roots go back to the 1970s when a curious Italian travel agent plunged into exploring it. Later, he told more and more tourists about the dream destinations he had discovered, and the Maldives put itself on the tourist map forever.
Fifty years after a travel agent and an embassy staffer teamed up to promote tourism in the Maldives, interest in the island nation from travelers remains undiminished. But as demand changes, the country and investors are adjusting to meet expectations. The focus is no longer on increasing the number of hotels, but on the quality of services and the preservation of the unique wildlife and ecosystems found here.
But if that wasn’t special enough, a fantastic new project is underway in the Maldives: a floating city for 20,000 people. The construction is a response to rising sea levels.
The new city, which is expected to be completed within five years, will consist of five thousand floating units. It will house houses, restaurants, shops, and schools, with waterways running between them. The first units will be unveiled in June, and residents will be able to move in early 2024. The whole town will be completed by 2027.
The floating settlement, which resembles a brain coral pattern, is located in a turquoise lagoon just a ten-minute boat trip from Maldives’ capital, Mali. The construction is a joint agreement between Dutch property developer Dutch Doklands and the Maldives government.
The floating city is designed by the architectural firm Waterstudio. According to its founder, the floating city could bring new hope to the more than half a million inhabitants of the Maldives. Once up and running, it could prove that a safe and affordable solution exists for relocating large communities across the ocean.
The architectural firm was founded in the early 2000s and has since designed more than 300 floating homes, offices, schools, and health centers worldwide. The Maldives project plans to build the city, home to 20,000 residents, in five years. And at this rate, even the Oceanix City in Pusan, South Korea, and the floating islands in the Baltic Sea cannot compete.
The city, designed by Olthuis, will also feature colorful houses, wide balconies, courtyards, and coastal views, and will offer residents the chance to travel on boats on the lagoons or on foot, bicycle, or electric scooter through the streets. Prices will start at $150,000 for apartments and $250,000 for detached houses.
Technically, the island is a large underwater concrete body clinging to the seabed with telescopic steel piles. The modules will be attached to this and will be made in a local shipyard. The city will be protected by the surrounding coral reefs as a natural breakwater so that the whole structure will gently sway on the water