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Tourism in Maldives


Since very ancient times foreign travelers have visited the Maldives. In earlier times the islands were encouraged for travelers from the East as well as the West. As a result trading contacts with Arab, Persian, Malayan, Indonesian and Chinese seafarers have left their imprint on the people and culture of the country. Well-known travelers who have visited the Maldives in earlier times include the Moroccan traveler Ibn Batuta, who was here in 1343, Francois Pyrard de Laval from France, and H.C.P. Bell from Britain. Nowadays the natural beauty, the never-ending view of Blue Ocean, the undisturbed seascapes and the serene natural environment make the Maldives a special place for the many visitors who come here. The sun, sea, and white coral sand are abundant in the Maldives; and the little tiny islets give a glorious sense of happiness and of being far away from the world and its troubles. Hence, the Maldives has become known to many as the place to learn "the art of doing nothing".

The first resort islands

The first resort was developed only in 1972, in an uninhabited island near the capital, Male'. The resort, known as Kurumba Village, only had accommodation for about 60 guests. The second resort was Bandos, with about 280 beds. The services in the two resorts were quite basic compared to that of others in the region. The food was mainly local and the transportation quite slow. It was also a time when air travel to the Maldives was only available on Air Ceylon which operated a small Avero aircraft. This plane carried only 48 passengers and took two hours to reach Male' from Colombo. Despite all these constraints, more than a thousand pioneer tourists came to the Maldives in 1972 to experience the natural beauty of the islands and the resorts with their local touch. These pioneers introduced the Maldives to the future world of holidaymakers.

In 2003 the Maldives consists of more than 80 resorts, and over 500,000 visitors from all over the world.

Overview of a tropical resort

A tourist resort, by the Maldivian definition, is an island all by itself It is dedicated specifically to the enjoyment of its own client. Most of the well-reputed hotels in the country fall under the definition of the tourist resort.

In addition to its own private beach, which goes all the way round the island, each island has its own encircling house reef which serves as a coral garden and natural aquarium. The shallow waters enclosed by the house reef serves as a large natural swimming pool.

Each resort is carefully landscaped with the natural vegetation judiciously preserved. The only manmade edifices on the typical resort would be the rooms and suites reserved for use by its guests, the buildings housing restaurants, cafe's, shops, lounges, bars, discos, diving schools and the like, in addition to staff lodgings and housing for support services in the nature of power generation, laundry, catering, etc.

Given this micro environment, it is amazing what most resorts have on offer. Air conditioning, hot and cold fresh water round the clock in the toilets, mini bar and private telephone in the guests' rooms is more the norm than the exception. Restaurants and coffee shops cater to the most demanding palate. Bars are well stocked and provide a convivial atmosphere. On-island shops offer a wide range of products, especially souvenirs and artifacts.

A wide variety of activities ranging from aerobics to volleyball and table tennis are on offer for the conventional sports enthusiast. Aquatic activities starting from the more conventional wind surfing and water skiing to parasailng are also on offer.

In short, a tourist resort offers everything one needs when on a tropical island holiday!

See also: Atoll - History of the Maldives

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