Tourism 50: A single resort to paradise on earth

The concept of tourism in the Maldives at the beginning of the 1970s was drastically different from what it is now. We had a runway. There was no airport here. There were islands. There were no resorts here. We had a thought. We put in the effort. The results of many people’s sacrifices over a period of fifty years are now evident. This is the golden anniversary of a golden chance well-seized, with an unshakeable commitment to excel.

Kurumba Maldives opened its doors in 1972, marking the start of Maldives tourism. Our international airport lacked the infrastructure to handle large numbers of travelers and only had a runway for international flights. The natural splendor and the turquoise waters of the Maldives had to be advertised to tourists in the early days of the industry. Tourism started to grow as a result of several people’s tireless efforts.

With the introduction of liveaboards, dive centers, and the implementation of intensive training programs to acquaint newcomers to the business, the 1980s saw an exponential growth in the sector. The transportation system in the Maldives has always been a challenge, especially for the tourism industry, as the islands are surrounded by the sea. The sector had a significant uptick in the 1990s with the introduction of seaplane services. This was the crucial turning point in the tourism sector’s efforts to reach more atolls and islands throughout the nation.

Despite the development of resort islands in nearby uninhabited islands, local islands did not engage in the tourism industry, with the exception of a few gift shops on some islands. Local tourism was introduced in the Maldives in the 2010s and has since gained popularity, welcoming the concept of homestay. Visitors got to experience the Maldives’ culture, tradition, and unrivaled hospitality firsthand.

The Maldives’ tourist industry has flourished on all fronts since the introduction and extension of tourism concepts, becoming a part of every household and family. Every Maldivian was in some manner blessed by the idyllic idea of profitability. For many Maldivians, especially Millennials and Gen-Z, the business has evolved into their “dream career.” The industry also produces the biggest amount of tax revenue while retaining the majority of country’s private sector employees.

Just one resort, zero liveaboards, zero guesthouses in 1972 to 167 resorts, 148 liveaboards and a staggering 800 guesthouses registered, tourism industry expanded from just one island-that-is-15-minute-boat-ride-from-international-airport to every single atoll in the entire country in 50 years. The accolades Maldives have achieved in the tourism industry are testament to the commitment, the hard work, the conviction, the brilliance, the meticulousness and the unrivaled hospitality of Maldives; becoming a brand synonymous with “Leading Destination”, “Luxury Destination”, “Honeymoon Destination”, and “Dream Destination”. Maldives tourism has indeed branded the country “Paradise On Earth”.


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