Maldives is a Nation of Coral Islands
The Maldives is a nation of coral islands scattered across the Indian Ocean.
The Maldivies archipelago consists of about 1190 small low lying coral islands of which few of them are, just a meter above sea level. These islands stretch more than 800 km from north to south covering a total area of about 90,000 square km of which about 99 percent is water. 200 islands are inhabited while 87 islands are developed as resort islands. The fragile house reefs of these islands act as a barrier of protection from tides and waves. These reefs also contribute to the formation of sand and continuation of the life cycle of the marine species. It also acts as a habitat to thousands of tiny and large organisms.
Tourism industry is the largest sector in which foreign investment is common. The Maldives in the early days of tourism had a relaxed policy to attract investments. This has facilitated private sector involvement and rapid growth in the sector based on market forces. All the islands used as resorts are leased by the government for private individuals or companies. Multinational companies and hoteliers like Hilton Hotels, Club Med, Four Seasons and One and only run and manage resorts in the Maldives today.
Many Maldives resort owners assign management contracts with foreign companies and some of these resorts are solely managed and owned by such companies.
The Maldives is renowned for its coral gardens and multiple coloured tropical fish that swim lazily in the crystal clear waters. For a visitor, the ideal holiday cannot be fulfilled without a glimpse of these underwater marvels. The turtles, rays, sharks and seaweed growth provide a breathtaking view. It is no wonder, the Maldives is included among the best diving spots of the world. The average visibility is around thirty meters sometimes even extending to sixty meters.
Fishing provides the livelihood for many people in the Maldives. Fisheries sector is the second largest industry in the Maldives. It has an indirect link to tourism sector as resorts demand a constant supply of fish for their guest and employees.
Fishing in Maldives is still practiced using traditional techniques. Pole and lines are used for catching fish. This is believed to be a more sustainable and dolphin friendly method. Fisheries sector provides most of the employment for dispersed island communities. Most of the fishing boats are owned by local boat owners. Fishing is still largely practiced as a family business.