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The Maldives was a country that relied purely on fisheries as its main source of income. Maldives was largely terra incognita for tourists until the early 1970s. The first tourist resorts were opened in 1972 with Bandos island resort and Kurumba Village, which transformed the Maldives economy.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, the emergence of tourism in 1972 transformed the economy, moving rapidly from dependence on fisheries to tourism. In just three and a half decades, the industry became the main source of income. Tourism was also the country’s biggest foreign currency earner and the single largest contributor to the GDP. As of 2008, 92 resorts in the Maldives offered over 17,000 beds and hosted over 600,000 tourists annually.

You might be asking yourself a few questions as you read through this. How come a country so small like this can grow so fast and attract more than double its population in annual tourism? Why are some many people attracted to visit this place?

When you fly over the Maldives, it only takes a single glance out the window to realize why this nation was practically made for scuba diving. Composed of 26 sandy atolls straddling the equator in the unforgettably blue Indian Ocean, it has long been frequented by the jet-setting crowd and those looking for a superior dive experience.

More and more divers are clamouring for a glimpse at some of the planet’s most pristine reefs and the amazing cast of supporting aquatic characters, big and small. Throw in an intriguing, welcoming culture and some of the finest live-aboard dive boats and luxurious resorts on the globe, and you’ve got the recipe for an unforgettable dive vacation on a truly grand scale.

To give you an idea of what we mean. Here is an example of one of the Maldives top dive sites. The Ari Atoll has been a household name among savvy divers for a long time and its big marine life just keeps on coming. Ari Atoll’s headliners – schooling hammerheads, mantas and reef sharks – frequently manage to steal the show, but keep an eye out for the giant frogfish. Also, look out for humphead wrasse, schooling sweetlips and groupers.

The Maldives is a destination that you should put on the top of your travel list.