The Maldives is a chain of over 1000 islands in the Indian Ocean just to the south west of India’s southern tip. The Islands have become a tourist magnet due to their pristine beaches, wide array of sealife and sultry year-long climate. As such many islands have been completely given over to luxury hotel chains, which utilise them to cater to the every whim of wealthy foreigners. There is little interaction between these tourists and the inhabitants of the towns and cities of the Maldives, who are largely adherents to a strict form of Islam, which prohibits drinking alcohol.
The Maldives is currently undergoing a prolonged period of political unrest following a coup which ousted President Mohamed Nasheed. The coup was organised by supporters of former leader President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who have claimed to be the legitimate rulers of the island nation. The confusion and strife which has followed this coup has started to adversely affect the country’s tourism industry. The islands also face a far more severe threat which may eventually wipe them out altogether. Since none of the islands reaches more than six feet above sea level they are under serious threat of being submerged as sea levels rise due to global warming.
Whilst this precarious future puts the livelihood of all Maldivians in doubt, the islands remain a tourist trap and much of the literature associated with the Maldives is based around this element of life. Andrew Forbes’ The Maldives evokes the various attractions the islands have to offer, including the tropical beaches, coral reefs and marine life, whilst Kurt Amsler’s Diving: The Maldives focuses on scuba diving, a very popular activity amongst tourists on the islands.