Maldives, officially the Republic of Maldives, is an arid, south Indo-Pacific island, located at the southern tip of the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. It lies around 700 miles from the mainland of Asia, southwest of Sri Lanka. Like many other countries that are often included in the classification of’small island nations’, Maldives boasts of a demographically diverse population with more than half the male population belonging to the minority Muslims.
The Maldives is also a top tourist destination for people interested in surfing and other water sports. The country’s perfect climate for sailing and other water activities makes for some of the best oceanic sports that are available around the world. These include but are not limited to, windsurfing, yachting, paragliding, jet skiing, kite surfing, canoeing, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, and more. Tourism is the Maldives’ number one industry, making up almost a quarter of the Maldives’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Tourists fly to the Maldives from all over the world, in order to enjoy the various tourist attractions, beautiful beaches, and friendly local Maldivesis.
Tourism has been a staple for the Maldives since the country’s discovery. The islands have a temperate climate and pleasant weather throughout the year but are primarily known for their ‘maldiving season’. This is between November and March, when the weather is warm, but never hot enough to make for a great swim! There is little offshore humidity during this period, which makes swimming conditions much better. The summer, which is the best time to visit Maldives resorts, is mostly dry and humid, with only a few showers.
A large portion of the Maldives is covered with water, making it extremely vulnerable to climate change. Maldives island chains are growing increasingly arid, which affects the environment and precipitation. Increased sea temperatures in particular have led to decreases in precipitation. A rise in global average temperatures will cause increased moisture loss from the ocean, increasing the risk of excessive evaporation, which will worsen the Maldives’ environmental problems. Coral reefs will increasingly die due to increased temperatures, which will further upset the delicate ecosystem.
Tourism is critical to the Maldives’ future, so citizens are working to build infrastructure to support it. Most of the islands were underdeveloped before tourism arrived, so most beaches are still relatively unpolluted. However, as tourism grows, so does the need to build more infrastructure, and the capital city, Male, has recently announced a plan to build the largest floating hotel on the ocean. The Maldives is hoping that the influx of tourists will boost its dwindling fishing industry and create jobs for thousands of men who have lost their jobs due to the rising seas. However, with tourism still playing a major role in the Maldives’ economy, climate change is not expected to have too much of an impact on tourism, which remains the Maldives’ main economic engine.
There are a number of areas in the Maldives in which the environment is being drastically changed. One of the first is Male, the capital of the Maldives. Like other Maldives islands, Male sees a substantial increase in tourism industry. A notable landmark in Male is the installation of the Green Park, an oasis within the Male National Park. Much of this development has been funded by the tourism industry, but despite the influx of visitors, the natural environment in Male is being destroyed.
Not only are the tourist resorts hurting the Maldives’ natural resources, the tourism industry itself is responsible for much of the damage. Most resorts have already ruined the environment, because of the excessive use of water and excessive human waste. There are many resorts that are located near the pristine rainforests, but with little or no planning the resorts are eroding the natural resources, because of the constant overcrowding. These actions contribute to the reduction of the Maldives’ biological resources, leaving the residents to rely on tourism to survive.
Tourism can solve many of the environmental issues in the Maldives. However, the current model of development is still destroying the environment. It is up to the Maldives citizens to take control of the tourism industry in the Maldives and ensure that it does not destroy the natural resources that are home to the Maldives’ marine life. Only by taking control of resorts, sea life and the natural environment will the Maldives be able to sustain its tourism industry and retain its beautiful tourist attractions.