Cruising to the Maldives
The Maldives was long a sultanate, first under Dutch and then under British protection. It became a republic in 1968, three years after independence. Since 1978, President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM - currently in his sixth term in office - has dominated the islands' political scene.
Following riots in the capital Male in August 2004, the president and his government have pledged to embark upon democratic reforms, including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms. Tourism and fishing are being developed on the archipelago.
Location: Southern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean,
south-southwest of India
Measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
Tropical; hot, humid; dry, northeast monsoon (November to March); rainy, southwest monsoon (June to August)
Flat, with white sandy beaches
Lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
Tourism, Maldives' largest industry, accounts for 20% of GDP and more than 60% of the Maldives' foreign exchange receipts. Over 90% of government tax revenue comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes. Fishing is a second leading sector. The Maldivian Government began an economic reform program in 1989 initially by lifting import quotas and opening some exports to the private sector. Subsequently, it has liberalized regulations to allow more foreign investment.
Agriculture and manufacturing continue to play a lesser role in the economy, constrained by the limited availability of cultivable land and the shortage of domestic labor. Most staple foods must be imported. Industry, which consists mainly of garment production, boat building, and handicrafts, accounts for about 18% of GDP. Maldivian authorities worry about the impact of erosion and possible global warming on their low-lying country; 80% of the area is one meter or less above sea level.
In late December 2004, a major tsunami left more than 100 dead, 12,000 displaced, and property damage exceeding $300 million. Over the past decade, real GDP growth averaged over 7.5% per year. As a result of the tsunami, the GDP contracted by about 5.5% in 2005.
Airports: 5 (2005)
Total: 16 ships (1000 GRT or over) 66,804 GRT/84,615 DWT
Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals
Other Sailing Destinations in the Region
Bahrain - Christmas Islands - Cocos Keeling - Comoros - Djibouti - Eritrea - India - Jordan - Kenya - Kuwait - Madagascar - Maldives - Mauritius - Mayotte - Mozambique - Oman - Pakistan - Qatar - Reunion Island - Saudi Arabia - Seychelles - Somalia - Sri Lanka - Sudan - Tanzania - United Arab Emirates - Yemen