The Maldives

The Republic of the Maldives is a chain of around 1200 islands stretching 750km across the Indian Ocean. According to the season and method of classification, the exact number of islands are changed.

The tiny islands are geographically grouped into ring shaped reefs called "atolls". The English word Ďatollí originated from the Dhivehi (official language of Maldives) word ĎAtholhuí. In Maldives there are 26 of these atoll formations.

Inside the atoll there are more number of smaller ring shaped reefs and tillas. Of the 1200 islands only 199 are inhabited by local Maldivian people, 88 islands have been developed as tourist resorts and the remaining islands are uninhabited.

Since Maldivian Government has taken steps to restrict the impact of tourism on the local community, tourists are most likely to see just 11 of these 26 geographical atolls. In 1997 the Government announced the proposed development of 14 new islands opening the atolls of Meemu, Faafu, Dhaalu and Raa to tourism.


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