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Maldives: Water - elixir of life and threat to the island nation

Water is both the Maldives' lifeblood and their greatest threat.  Beaches and water sports make it very popular; at the same time, climate change and the rising sea level require extensive measures to safeguard the islands, which are generally less than one metre above sea level.  The island nation has a lot to do over the next few years in order to remain one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Indian Ocean, said Tourism Minister Moosa Zameer Hassan at ITB Berlin.  "We strictly adhere to the unique ‘one island, one resort' concept," he promised.  Of the total 1,190 islands, 116 have a hotel.

Sustainability is at the top of the agenda.  The United Nations' TAP Project (Tourism Adaptation Project) development programme has helped in recent years.  Meanwhile, the Maldives is home to the world's first luxury resort to draw its energy completely from solar cells.  Drinking water is usually obtained from desalination plants on the islands, making energy and CO2 intensive transport from island to island unnecessary.  In order to ensure long-term sustainability, a Green Fund to finance infrastructure and environmental protection projects was established in 2014, and an environmental tax was implemented this year.  Additionally, tourism facility employees are being systematically trained in sustainable service.

Thomas Rietig


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