Tourism and Hotel Development in the MaldivesIntroductionThe Maldives is a nation comprising of islands which are found scattered in the Indian Ocean. It is made up of 1,190 small coral islands among which only 200 are inhabited by a population of close to 300,000 residents. The capital of this nation is also an island and is located close to the International Airport, which is also an island. This report examines the various aspects that have seen the development of tourism in Maldives. There are also challenges, strengths and possible opportunities for improvement of tourism in (Hall & Page, 2000). Impetus for Tourism or Hotel Development in the MaldivesMaldives has seen important growth in tourism for the past thirty years.
If looked at alongside the other sectors, tourism is the major pillar of the economy of the nation. Development of tourism in Maldives is based on the principle of isolation of tourists from the bulk of the indigenous population and the physical configuration of development of tourism is a unique one. The tourism industry is synonymous with resort islands and every resort occupies a separate island and is absolutely self-contained.
The isolation is practical due to availability of huge number of islands which are uninhabited that can be developed into tourist resort islands. The initial resort was put up in the year 1972. Maldives blossomed as an international tourist hub in the year 1972. The government is greatly involved in the management of non-natural and natural resources for the advancement in tourism sector. There have been reasons that have given impetus to the development of tourism industry over the years at Maldives. In the first place, local establishment condition and convenient transportation are contributing factors that have attracted tourist from all corners of the world.
Air traffic is well advanced, development of maritime and navigation facilities has given the tourist hub an upper hand. Commencing the late 80s and the early 2000s there was an upsurge of international visitors accessing Maldives owing to the sound and fast advancement in infrastructure. The international airport was expanded and it saw increase in bed capacity in main tourist resorts and hotels (Allison, 2005). Tourism has also developed owing to the support of the government of the tourism sector.
Tourism is a large source of earnings in foreign exchange and leads to increase in the import of capital and consumer goods for the betterment of the economy. Tourism has contributed to increase in the employment rate and consequently national income through revenues. The local government has remained in the forefront in attracting investors from foreign countries to invest in the foreign sector. The about seventy islands are being funded by foreign investors to developed them into tourists destinations.
It is also in the interest of the local government to see that to see that the ecological environment is preserved through maintenance of fauna and flora biodiversity (Orams, 1999). Another aspect that has led to development of tourism in the Maldives is the fact that it was a colony of the Western Europe countries. Maldives became a political entity that was independent preceding the year 1558, from 1558 to 1573 the control of Maldives was taken over by the Portuguese, in the year 1887 it became a protectorate of the British government, and it eventually attained sovereignty in 1965.
The history significance of Maldives made Europe to be a main market of Maldives tourism. Currently tourists from Europe account for seventy five percent of the total population of international tourists that arrive at Maldives (Bhatia, 2007).