Is it a country?
Surprisingly some people tend to think the Maldives is a part of another country.
The Republic of Maldives is an independent sovereign country with its territorial waters and land defined and recognized by international bodies such as United Nations and Commonwealth. The Maldives have foreign relations with all major countries of the world.
Maldives (pronounced ‘Mall-Deevs’) is an archipelago of 26 coral atolls, which are fragmented into hundreds of lying coral islands that lie scattered in the Indian Ocean around 500 km southwest of India and Sri Lanka. Although stretching 870 km from north to south and 130 km east to west, majority of the islands can be reached by 60-minute sea-plane or domestic flight from the capital city of Male’.
The Maldives is the smallest country in Asia. It is also the most low-lying country in the world at a maximum of 3 meters above sea level. It takes about an hour to fly from Sri Lanka, a little bit more than an hour from southern India. Approximately 4 hours from Singapore or Thailand, 16 hours from Europe, and 9 hours from Australia.
For hundreds of years, Maldivian seafarers were relying on pole and line fishing and sailing to foreign ports for trade. The Maldives opened its arms to visitors from across the globe giving birth to the tourism industry in the early 1970s. The majority of the international hotel brands are represented here and more are on the way. Tourism became the driving force of the economy and the highest contributor to the development of the country, of which over 30% of GDP comes directly and 80% contributes indirectly through subsidiary industries.
The Maldives continues to increase annual tourist arrivals and secure multiple wins in the Indian Ocean sector of the World Travel Awards. The achievements of the tourism industry have been growing for the last 50 years.11
What is the Maldives most popular for?
Annually a million tourists visit the Maldives. It is most famous as a honeymoon and scuba diving destination. The islands’ natural beauty combined with Maldivian hospitality has made it one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in the world. Visiting the Maldives is like experiencing your fantasy of whisking you and your loved one off to a remote island in the middle of nowhere. It’s a heaven for honeymoon couples and many flocks to its white sandy beaches to redefine romance under the stars. Unimaginable private dining experiences and beautifully designed lagoon villas with all modern amenities take your holiday to the next level.
The Maldives is also a great holiday option for surfers, families traveling with kids, big game fishing enthusiasts, and budget travelers. There are also the options of spending your holiday cruising around the atolls on a liveaboard yacht or just laze around on the beach practicing the art of doing nothing. If you want to unplug in luxury and experience the sun, sand, and sea all day, Maldives is where you should be.
How many islands are there?
The 1190 coral islands grouped in 26 atolls spread across an area of over 90,000 sq. km. Out of these islands, 200 islands are inhabited, close to 150 islands are developed as luxury tourist resorts, and around 80 islands are leased for agriculture and other industrial purposes.
Each island is surrounded by the ocean and it is common to find many islands sharing the same lagoon. Most of the islands have their own house reef that protects the beach and some atolls have outer reef that protects the entire atoll.
How sunny is it?
How do I get there?
Tourists arrive mostly on scheduled flights by major airlines and a small percentage by chartered flights and cruise ships.
From the UK and EU: Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, and Singapore Airlines offer scheduled connecting and direct flights.
From Asia: Indian Airlines, Sri Lankan, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, SpiceJet, Tiger Airways, Bangkok Airways, Beijing Capital Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines.
From the Middle East: Regular flights by Emirates, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, Etihad.
From Australia, New Zealand: Qantas and Singapore Airlines offer convenient flights via Singapore, with connections from all major Australian airports.
From Eastern Europe: Aeroflot.
From the USA: British Airways flies from New York and Miami. Singapore Airlines has flights from New York and San Francisco; Thai Airways, Emirates, Sri Lankan Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and British Airways offer connecting flights from New York and Los Angeles.