Tourism and Maldivian values

Tiny dots in the heart of Indian Ocean, Maldives is becoming a big attraction for travellers across Asia and Europe.

To find a perfect escape from daily work, fast city life and other daily noises, people choose Maldives because it gives them what Bangkok or Bali doesn’t provide. That is nature, quietness, slow life, fresh air and so on.

We opened our doors to tourism not long ago. Until recently,  visiting tourists go to special islands that are assigned for relaxing and enjoyment. Those resorts are away from local islands separated by vast ocean. So these visitors come and go without seeing or having any interaction with local people. This makes the money rotate within these resorts. Everything they spend goes straight into the resort owners pocket.

Even though Maldives has top hotel brands, from one star to countless stars and visited millions of tourists, received top awards, and forecasted millions to come, did any ordinary people; Hussain, Ahmed, and Aisha got any benefit from it? Did they get as much as they deserve?

Tourism was brought to this country because it will bring wealth and fortune making Mohammad and Ahmed wealthy, so that they can buy fancy clothes and french perfume for their wives. But more than twenty years later their pocket remain same: empty. While those few resort owners walk with puffy pockets.

Somewhere from 2008, tourism was opened to local islands after widening guest house business. This brought tourists closer to local people. The result was bringing tourist dollars closer to local people. People of Maafushi and Gulhi never been as wealthy as they are now. Their lifestyle became similar to Male’ people who enjoy rent money.

As they say on TV ‘Fishing is our economic blood vessels’. We can say hospitality is our ‘Economic backbone’. Without a backbone one cannot stand up. Surely more children are fed with tourism money than fishing money.

As tourism spread over the local lands we are faced with certain challenges. Challenges that Ahmed, Aisha and others can sort out.

Traditionally Maldivians are famous for loving, caring and hospitality, these beautiful tradition has faded into the shades. We need to learn and bring it again from our fathers and smile to those tourists. No matter who you are, if you see a tourist confused, which road to take to STO super mart, go to them show direction to that couple. They might even give you one dollar tip.

If I have to count the number of times I saw confused tourists and helped them, I need more than two hands to count it. Sometimes when so many people walking near them who could have helped. It wouldn’t take an hour. It wouldn’t make one look like a fool, if fear is what holding them. Instead, they will appreciate it. Once you have helped, you will feel good for helping someone.

Sometimes we see tourists talking loud mostly who are in groups. Breaking a queue line and other little annoying things. And this makes us upset sometimes.

One thing we forget is they are also humans, they come here for relaxing and mind refreshing or exploring. If you see a group of Maldivian who are doing camping, they act the same way. So let the tourists be. They are here just for a moment. You have power to give them that moment of enjoyment. Let them have it. The money they spend will come to you too.

Our fathers taught us to be kind to others and bring forgiveness forward and keep anger behind and controlled and tighten wit rope. Help people who need it. Its time to take this advice and practice. Not only with people who look like us but everyone. Even if someone does not look like us, know that they are also humans. They also feel the same thing as you do. If you tickle they will also laugh just like you.


Tourism Ministry