The year 2013 proved to be a very successful year for Maldives. Achieving a new milestone; Maldives reached its targeted one million visitors mark by the end of 2013. With the rising tourism demand, and the versatility and resilience of tourism business together with the continued effort of our industry partners, tourism industry achieved this milestone. In February last year Maldives broke a record by having over 100,000 tourists visit the destination in a single month. India is one of the important emerging markets for the Maldives. It is the third biggest market from Asia with over 33,000 arrivals in 2013.
Maldives is an archipelago of 1190 islands scattered across the equator in the Indian Ocean. Beautiful beaches, colourful underwater world in a unique geographic setting is the ideal setting for the ultimate holiday destination. Tourism which began as an unplanned activity in 1972 is the lifeline of the Maldives economy. As Maldives celebrate 40 years of tourism, 109 exclusive resorts with over 23,000 beds have been developed which constitute a billion dollar industry. Presence of famous international hotel chains have positioned the Maldives as must visit destination.
To match with the world class product, Maldives is developing infrastructure, which is crucial in enhancing the tourist experience. In order to ease the challenges faced to travel between the islands, many airports have also been developed.
Currently there are four International Airports of which two became international in February 2013 Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (the main airport near the capital Male), Gan International Airport (Addu Atoll, in the south), Hanimadhoo International Airport (Haa Dhaalu Atoll, in the north, opened in February 2013), Maamigili International Airport (Alifu Dhaalu Atoll, central Maldives, opened in February 2013). In addition to four international airports there are five domestic airports are in operation, Kooddoo (Gaafu Alifu Atioll), Kadhdhoo (Laamu Atoll), Dharavandhoo (Baa Atoll), Kaadedhdhoo (Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll and Fuvahmulah (Gnaviyani Atoll).
New airports will not only increase accessibility for potential tourists to come, but will also increase the ripple effect of the tourism dollar to the surrounding local island communities by generating job opportunities, infrastructure development and other benefits.