Tuesday 23 October 2018

MALDIVES: Tourism Is Maldives' Largest Revenue Generator, Personal Belongings Can Be Stolen In Hotels Or At Beaches

Statistics show most number of tourists arrived to Maldives from European countries this year.

107,620 tourists arrived to Maldives in September, raising the total tourist arrivals to 1,080,459 so far this year, according to statistics compiled from tourist facilities registered at Ministry of Tourism and Maldives Immigration.

Moreover, most number of tourist arrivals were from European countries with 47.8% of the total arrivals, according to statistics compiled until end of September.

In this regard, 516,487 tourists arrived from Europe this year, which is an increase of 47.8% compared to the first 9 months of last year.

Second most number of tourist arrivals to Maldives during this period was from the Asia Pacific, recording 462,828 tourists, which is 41.5% of the total arrivals. This is recorded as an increase of 2.1% compared to the first 9 months of last year.

Meanwhile, America with 49,000 tourists, attaining 4.5% of the total arrivals, is recorded as the third most tourist arriving region.

Moreover, 41,186 tourists arrived from Middle East and 10,820 tourists arrived from Africa, recording 3.8% and 1% of the total arrivals respectively.

When highlighting separate markets, top 10 highest markets which recorded the most number of arrivals were China with 20.6%, England with 7.7%, Germany with 7.4%, Italy with 6.8%, India with 5.2%, Russia with 4.7%, France with 3.4%, USA with 2.8%, Japan with 2.8% and Australia with 2.6%, according to the statistics.

From these markets, even though the tourist arrivals from China were slightly decreased, other markets experienced an increase in the arrivals.

Furthermore, until September 2018, while 43,356 beds were registered at the tourism ministry, 42,091 beds were operated with the total bed nights spent in Maldives by tourists increasing to 11.8%.

Tourist arrivals to the Maldives rose 19 percent in February compared to the same period of last year, despite a string of travel advisories issued during the ongoing state of emergency, local media reported Monday.

According to statistics released by the Maldivian Tourism Ministry, 144,286 tourists visited the holiday islands in February, up 19.2 percent from the same month last year.

China remains the leading market with the most number of tourist arrivals with 33,506 visitors in February. This is a 38 percent rise compared to February last year, the ministry said.

Italy was the second largest market with 13,962 visitors, while the UK had 11,362 visitors to the Maldives in February.

Europe made the biggest contribution to Maldives' tourism industry during the past two months with 54.4 percent of the total visitors.

The Maldives welcomed a record 1.3 million tourists last year.

Tourism is the largest economic industry in the Maldives, as it plays an important role in earning foreign exchange revenues and generating employment in the tertiary sector of the country.

The archipelago of the Maldives is the main source of attraction to many tourists visiting the country worldwide.

Tourism in the Maldives has started in 1972 with only three hotels, now – there are more than 100 operational resorts. The unique condition of Maldives is that one island is one resort, meaning that one hotel occupies the whole island.

By doing so, resorts provide more privacy and more luxury for their visitors. The Maldives are also trying to stay eco-friendly and use more of solar energy rather than diesel.

The Maldives provide facilities and services, entertainment and telecommunication services, they also provide numerous resorts, hotels, guest houses, and liveboards.

A tourist resort in the Maldives typically consists of an exclusive hotel on its own island, with its population entirely made up of tourists and work force, with no local people or houses.

Those islands developed for tourism are typically 800 by 200 metres in size, and are composed of sand and coral to a maximum height of about 2 metres above the sea.

In addition to its beach encircling the island, each island has its own "house reef" which serves as a coral garden and natural aquarium for scuba divers and snorkelers.

The shallow water enclosed by the house reef also serves as a large natural swimming pool and protects swimmers from the ocean waves and strong tidal currents outside the house reef.

The buildings on a typical resort include rooms and suites reserved for use by its guests, restaurants, coffee shops, shops, lounges, bars, discos and diving schools.

A portion of the island also contains staff lodgings and support services such as catering, power generators, laundry, and a sewage plant.

On island shops offer a wide range of products, such as souvenirs and artifacts. Most resorts offer a wide variety of activities such as aerobics, volleyball and table tennis.

The Maldives' economy is greatly influenced by any climate changes. Tourism sector can be damaged by the increased likelihood of violent storms, damage to coral reefs, and beach erosion, which are now more likely to happen because of the rising seas.

As a consequence of climate change, Maldives is now facing the problem of rising seas and coral reefs bleaching. According to the World Bank, with future sea levels projected to increase in the range of 10 to 100 centimeters by the year 2100, the entire country could be submerged.

New government has made a decision to fight the rising seas problem with geoengineering projects instead of trying to move the population. The idea is to rent out other islands and even build new islands, so the population of those islands who are more in trouble could be relocated.

One of those built islands is Hulhumale.

It has been also pointed out that some islands can grow naturally.

World Bank states that, Rising sea temperatures also threaten the coral reefs and cause bleaching and death, with the most severe damage in areas that are stressed by pollutants, or damaged by physical disturbance.

Vulnerability to climate change hazards has been magnified by damage to coral reefs which has in turn impaired their protective function, thus a negative cycle of impact.

There is some promotion of ecotourism in the Maldives, with resorts emphasizing recycling of heat that is wasted in producing electricity and stricter policies of waste disposal.

Furthermore, the government aims to conserve the natural environment of the islands before they made into resorts by enforcing laws such as prohibition of catching turtles and reduction in the damage caused to the coral reefs.

Nevertheless, the Maldives have frequently come under criticism for their lack of protection of the local shark populations, which have sharply decreased after being hunted extensively for decades.

In some areas, sharks have entirely disappeared. Sharks are hunted primarily for their fins. Shark fins are exported from the Maldives to other countries in Asia, where they are regarded as a delicacy. The fins are amputated from the live animals, which are then thrown back alive into the sea.

Although this practice is prohibited by law in the Maldives, these laws are not respected or enforced by the local authorities.

In 2001, a local environmental organization called Seamarc/Marine savers also known onsite as Reefscapers, set up an ambitious program of reimplantation of coral in damaged areas, on the basis of resort sponsorship.

Many thousands of tourist-sponsored coral frames have been successfully transplanted in many resort reefs like Kuda Huraa and Landaa Giraavaru, and are under close survey by marine scientists; they are a refuge for thousands of tropical species, and help to preserve and recover these fragile ecosystems.

There are big challenges that come with the advantages of the islands' tourist assets, however, said Richard Damania, World Bank Lead Environmental Economist.

The country's coral reefs, which protect it from storm surges and serve as the main attraction for the tourism-driven economy, are in danger of being damaged or destroyed by poorly handled waste disposal methods.

The Maldives are known for their natural environment including the blue ocean, white beaches, and clean air.

The climate of the Maldives is ideal for visitors to get engaged in water sports such as swimming, fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, water-skiing. windsurfing and kite boarding.

The natural environment of the Maldives attracts tourists all over the world and every year. Its tourism industry is today the Maldives' largest revenue generator.

Due to their extraordinary underwater scenery and clean water, the Maldives is ranked among the best recreational diving destinations of the world, with over 60 local dive sites across the islands.

It was also reported to be the world's most desired honeymoon destination, according to a global survey by Agoda.com.

The level of crime in the Maldives is low, but some personal belongings left on the beaches or in the hotels can be stolen.

Knife crime in populated areas, like the capital Male, has increased. Tourists should also follow local advice on if there is any danger with swimming.

Some piracy and armed robbery attacks have also occurred in the area of Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa. A threat of terrorism is possible, the targets can include: government buildings, schools, places of worship, airports, public places, etc.

On February 5, 2018, the government has declared a state of emergency due to the increased protests and aggressive clashes with the police in Male.

Tourism Observer

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