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Vacations and Sightseeing

Basic information
Official languageDhivehi
Area298 km²
Population556,840  (2021)
Currencyrufiyaa  (MVR)

Vacations and Sightseeing

The Maldives is an ideal vacation destination with its sunshine, snow-white beaches, healthy air and nice warm sea water. Furthermore, diving enthusiasts, windsurfers, water-skiers, sea fishermen and catamaran sailors can indulge themselves. Over the last 30 years, tourism has become the most important economic sector, accounting for about 20% of the gross national product and providing 70% of all foreign currency inflows. In addition, tourism is of course good for employment.

Remarkably, tourism in the Maldives is separated as much as possible from ordinary life on the islands. To this end, so-called resorts were built, vacation complexes that can only be found on the uninhabited islands. On inhabited islands resorts may not be established and it is even so that there are certain tourist zones on the inhabited islands! Outside of these, one needs a pass (permit).

Only in 1972 the first tourists came to the Maldives. One year later, 4000 tourists already came to the islands. The number of resorts also grew rapidly and in the early 1980s the opening of Male International Airport brought a new and even larger flow of tourists. Today there are about 75 resorts with a total of about 12,000 beds. New resorts are added every year.

There are already more tourists coming annually than the total population is large. Most tourists come from Germany, followed by British, Japanese, Swiss, French and Austrians.

The government of the Maldives has opted for sustainable tourism, i.e. they have many rules to protect the fragile ecology of the islands. For example, it is not allowed to build higher than the tallest palm tree! Furthermore, only 20% of an island may be built on.

There is a regular boat connection with Sri Lanka; local traffic is maintained by sailing and motor boats (dhonis). Bicycles are the main means of transportation. Air Maldives, the national airline and also one of the smallest in the world, flies from the international airport near Male. Due to the virtual absence of roads (only about 10 km) and high import taxes, there are not many cars driving around the Maldives. In 1997 there were say and write 967 passenger cars.


Derksen, G. / Maldiven

Ellis, R. / Maldives

Lyon, J. / Maldives
Lonely Planet

Vliet, E. van / Reishandboek Malediven

Voigtmann, H. / Malediven

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated March 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info