Maldives Business - Economy
Economic Sectors

In recent years, Maldives has successfully marketed its natural assets for tourism--beautiful, unpolluted beaches on small coral islands, diving in blue waters abundant with tropical fish, and glorious sunsets. Tourism now brings in about $325 million a year. Tourism and related services contributed 33% of GDP in 2000.
Since the first resort was established in 1972, more than 84 islands have been developed, with a total capacity of some 16,000 beds. The number of tourists (mainly from Europe) visiting the Maldives increased from 1,100 in 1972 to 280,000 in 1994. In 2000, tourist arrivals exceeded 466,000. The average occupancy rate is 68%, with the average tourist staying 8 days and spending about $755.

This sector employs about 20% of the labor force and contributes 10% of GDP. The use of nets is illegal, so all fishing is done by line. Production was about 119,000 metric tons in 2000, most of which was skipjack tuna. About 50% is exported, largely to Sri Lanka, Germany, the U.K., Thailand, Japan, and Singapore. About 42% of exports consist of dried or canned fish, and another 31% is frozen; 10% is exported as fresh fish. Total export proceeds from fish were about $40 million in 2000. The fishing fleet consists of some 1,140 small, flat-bottomed boats (dhonis). Since the dhonis have shifted from sails to outboard motors, the annual tuna catch per fisherman has risen from 1.4 metric tons in 1983 to 5.6 in 1999.

Poor soil and scarce arable land have historically limited agriculture to a few subsistence crops, such as coconut, banana, breadfruit, papayas, mangoes, taro, betel, chilies, sweet potatoes, and onions. Agriculture provides about 6% of GDP.

The industrial sector provides only about 7% of GDP. Traditional industry consists of boat building and handicrafts, while modern industry is limited to a few tuna canneries, five garment factories, a bottling plant, and a few enterprises in the capital producing PVC pipe, soap, furniture, and food products.

Environmental Concerns
There is growing concern about coral reef and marine life damage because of coral mining (used for building and jewelry making), sand dredging, and solid waste pollution. Mining of sand and coral have removed the natural coral reef that protected several important islands, making them highly susceptible to the erosive effects of the sea. In April 1987, high tides swept over the Maldives, inundating much of Male and nearby islands. That event prompted high-level Maldivian interest in global climatic changes.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $540 million (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 7% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,800 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 20%
industry: 18%
services: 62% (1999 est.)

Currency: 1 rufiyaa (Rf) = 100 laari

Exchange rates: rufiyaa (Rf) per US$1 - 11.770 (fixed rate since 1995)

Maldives News
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Indian High Commissioner calls on Gayoom

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Gayoom commends Putin on decision to forward Kyoto Protocol to Duma for ratification

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