The islands of the Maldives have been thriving in the tourism industry since their introduction in 1972 with the opening of Kurumba island resort (known as Vihamanaafushi at that time). It was a major step taken towards the development of the country as well as its official introduction to the outside world as the Maldives was not well-known then, as it is today, making the introduction of the tourism industry to the country as impressive as how much it has thrived today.
While the tourism industry has come a long way since its beginning, making the industry a crucial part of the Maldivian economy due to its large contribution to both the large numbers of employment created as well as earning the foreign exchange revenues of the country, it might be hard to believe that tourism was not seen as a possibility for the country just a few years before its introduction.
The industry was built from scratch by a few individuals, with no prior knowledge of how to run a resort, let alone build up a tourist market for a country that had no development. However, with the help of George Corbin, an Italian travel agent Ahmed Kerafa Naseem, Mohamed Umaru Maniku and Hussain Afeef (Champa) started slowly learning and developing the tourism industry in the Maldives.
From this statement, it is quite evident that from the very start tourists visited the Maldives to enjoy its natural beauty, the breathtaking beaches, the beautiful sunsets and the hospitable and welcoming nature of the Maldivians. And now, 50 years later, tourism has become the biggest industry in the Maldives as the country has become one of the ‘must travel’ destinations internationally.
An industry that started with two small resorts merely trying to learn how to cater to foreigners has now developed into an industry with billions with over 170 resorts registered by 2022, and new resorts being developed with each passing year.
The development of the Maldivian tourism industry within the last 50 years is extremely spectacular. In order to mark the decades of hard work and accomplishment of the biggest industry in the Maldives, the 3rd of October 2022 was officially announced as a public holiday celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Maldivian tourism industry.