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>  Indian Ocean/ Middle East  >  Maldives

Maldives

Origin of the Maldivians are lost in antiquity, but history reveals that the islands have been populated for over 3,000 years ago. Early settlers were travellers on the Silk Route and from the Indus Valley Civilisation. Inherently warm, friendly and hospitable by nature, it is easy to feel comfortable and relaxed with a Maldivian.
Resorts in the Maldives woo tourists with promises of 'the last paradise on earth', and if your idea of paradise is a pristine tropical island with swaying palm trees, pure white beaches and brilliant turquoise lagoons, then the Maldives will not disappoint.

 

It's also a major destination for scuba divers, who come for the fabulous coral reefs and the wealth of marine life. But it's not a place for low budget backpackers or amateur anthropologists who want to travel independently and live as the locals do.

Tourism in the Maldives is carefully managed. The lack of local resources makes it necessary to import virtually everything a visitor needs, so it can't really compete on price. The strategy has been to develop a limited number of quality resorts, each on its own uninhabited island, free from traffic, crime and crass commercialism.

The tourism strategy also aims to minimise the adverse effects of tourism on traditional Muslim communities. Tourists can make short guided visits to local fishing villages, but must then return to their resort. To stay longer or to travel to atolls outside the tourist zone requires a good reason, a special permit, and a local person to sponsor the visitor.

The vast majority of visitors come to the Maldives on package tours, staying at one of the 70-plus resort islands. Most resorts are in the three atolls closest to the capital - North Malé Atoll, South Malé Atoll and Ari Atoll. Despite their apparent similarity, however, they differ considerably.

Judging by the brochures, all the resorts are beautiful and are blessed with white sand, blue sea and swaying palm trees, and they all promise great diving. But they can vary distinctly in their comfort, cuisine, clientele, character and their suitability for various excursions and activities.

 

 
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