Record breaking numbers have visited Utheemu Palace last year.
One of the most iconic landmarks in the Maldives is the Utheemu Palace (Utheemu Ganduvaru), which boasts 500 years of proud heritage. The father of the three brothers who fought to save Maldivians from the Portuguese invaders who occupied the Maldives, Hussain Habeeb Thakurufaanu, lived in this very house, which is the most prominent structure related to the independence of Maldives. While renovation work is being carried out to safeguard the palace, more work is required to keep the palace safe and protected for the generations to come.
Locals, in the hundreds, visit the palace each year. Foreigners too, have shown a keen interest in paying this esteemed palace a visit.
The last year, 2016, was a record year for the palace in terms of the number of visitors it had. The numbers had reached an astounding 7561, with 838 visitors in January, 172 in February, 696 in March, 250 in April and 116 visitors in May.
Additionally the palace had 69 visitors in June, 149 in July, 183 in August, 663 in September and 305 visitors in October. As the norm each year, the palace was packed in the school holidays with 682 visitors in November and a record breaking 3338 visitors in December.
According to the statistics, 70% of the visitors were locals while the rest were foreigners.
Sightseeing arrangements have been made for visitors arriving from all corners of the Maldives, all days of the week except Friday. Tickets are sold at MVR 20 for Maldivians and MVR 100 for foreigners.
Residents of the island have expressed their joy at seeing the huge masses arriving for sightseeing in the island.
With the increase of visitors, the importance of establishing a better security system is incumbent. While the management currently sees to the security of the palace they have also sought help from the authorities to optimize security.
Regarding this, they have asked for installation of security cameras, fire alarms and fire extinguishers. Additionally shortage of guides, only 2 currently working, is also a problem. With so many visitors, they have expressed the need for more guides so that they can efficiently attend to sightseers.
The authorities have not yet responded to the request.
For safety measures, some areas of the palace maintain a strict no photography and no touching rule, though it is hard to oversee these issues with so few guides present. And the problem of poor ventilation prompts the need for immediate help from the authorities to rectify the issues.
It is important to maintain the palace as it originally was for decades to come. With the record numbers of visitors each year, it is vital to remedy all matters that could be of harm to the iconic landmark known as Utheemu Palace.