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Maldives: socio-economic transformation via tourism

Tuesday, 23rd April 2019
Inspecting a Police Guard of Honor upon Presentation of Credentials in Maldives, 17th April, 2019
The President of Maldives has expressed a wish to visit Uganda as part of his familiarization tour of the Continent of Africa. HE Mr Ibrahim Mohamed Solih made these remarks while receiving credentials from the Ugandan President, HE General Yoweri  Museveni, accrediting Ms Grace Akello to Maldives as Uganda's Ambassador. The colorful ceremony, preceded by Ambassador Akello's inspection of a Police Guard of Honor, was carried out in the President's Office in Male, the capital city of this Island country. President Solih hailed the warm relationship between his country and Uganda and called for increased collaboration in many areas and fora, including the United Nations.

Maldives is a country made up of more than 1,000 islands, called atolls, strewn across the north-central Indian Ocean; just off the south-western tip of India.  It is a country which has grown from one of the least developed countries to being an upper middle income country in the last 30 years. Today Maldivians enjoy per capita income of US$12,530. The engine of this transformation is the tourist industry which accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the country's GDP.  This Island Country has successfully developed a thriving travel and tourism industry with the concept of one atoll one tourist resort.

One of the key facilitators of this country's tourism is its transport infrastructure. Maldives boasts of world connectivity throughout the year with giant airlines such as Qatar, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, South African Airways, Emirates, Air India, Air France, Singapore Airlines, Ethihad etc; flying in tourists from all corners of the globe. Once in the country, a combination of Maldivian water planes, high speed boats, catamarans, water bodabodas: all ensure that the tourist reaches the destination of her or his choice with minimum fuss.  Equally amenable are the country's hotels: good food from many parts of the world including Maldives' own indigenous choices. Most of these foods are flown into the country; including a special very popular Ugandan pepper flown into Male weekly, straight from Entebbe to Male Airport by Qatar.

In subsequent discussions with the President and his Ministers, the newly accredited Ambassador indicated interest in having Maldivian boat and ship builders share their knowledge with Ugandans so that the latter could build safe boats and ships for Ugandan lakes. She also indicated interest in initiating bench-marking visits to Maldives by Uganda's tourism executives and leaders.