The Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean, about 500 km from the southern tip of both Sri Lanka & India. It is the ideal exotic tropical island paradise.
Independent since 1965, and a republic since 1968, the Maldives is a member of the United Nations, Common Wealth and Non-Aligned Movement. It maintains a very cordial relationship with the international community. Under the leadership of President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom (1978-2008), the tiny island nation is a champion of global peace, preservation of the environment and the fight against global warming.
The population of the country at present stands 300,000 according to the latest census. The common language mostly used is known as Dhivehi and Islam unites the people into a cohesive, peaceful society. The country has been inhabited for at least 25 centuries.
The Maldives compromises of 1190 islands grouped into 19 atolls is largely protected by surrounding coral reefs. Coconut palms and various tropical plants grow in abundance on most islands.
The Maldives straddles the equator and has a tropical climate. Normally skies are clear and hot weather prevails throughout the year except on southwest monsoon where it rains a bit frequently around June -July.
As of early 1970s’ tourism has burgeoned in the Maldives. Surfers, divers, beach lovers and game fisherman find the Maldives ideal.
The Maldives has increasingly become more accessible, especially by air. Scheduled and charter flights operate on a regular basis from Europe, Middle East & Asia. Visitors are issued a 30-day tourist visa on arrival with valid travel documents. Apart from normal customs and port health formalities, nothing stands in the way of the inbound guest wanting to enjoy a tropical holiday.
The predominant industries in the Maldives are fishing and tourism. Maldives exports canned tuna, dried and frozen fish, tropical aquarium fish and also fresh frozen Shashimi – all caught from the uncontaminated and chemical free waters of the Maldives. The Tourist arrivals have maintained growth of about 10% over the last many years. The Maldives now receives over 300,000 tourists per year.
Several scheduled air services, as well as charter flights, serve the capital Male’. It is about 10 hours flying from London via Dubai, or 4 hours from Karachi, 1 hour from Colombo and 4 hours from Singapore.