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Surfing at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa


Romantic Dinner at Sea at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru


tion every year. Beckham, with his wife Victoria and their


Water Villa Exterior at One&Only Reethi Rah


four kids, was seen off at Ibrahim Nasir Inter- national Airport by the Maldives Tourism Min- ister Ahmed Adeeb. The Beckham family had spent 11 nights at the luxury One & Only Reethi Rah resort and Beckham had described his time in Maldives as “the happiest new year holiday”. Part of the great appeal of the Maldives is the


But until that happens, and it is almost cer-


tainly decades away, the Maldives is a most beau- tiful place – the name can be translated as Neck- lace of Islands – and is immensely attractive to travelers. Everywhere is a small piece of paradise. Tourism is relatively new to the Maldives and


we can date its beginning with the first resort in the Maldives which was Kurumba Maldives, which opened in 1972. Since then, tourism has flourished although it is still a somewhat diffi- cult place to get to and the prices, understand- ably, on the resorts scattered throughout the islands are relatively high. As this is written, the world famous foot-


baller David Beckham is just ending a holiday there. Beckham and his family left the Maldives vowing to make Maldives their holiday destina-


consistent weather. The Indian Ocean acts as a heat buffer, absorbing, storing, and slowly re- leasing the tropical heat. As a result, the temper- ature of Maldives ranges between 24°C (75°F) and 33°C (91°F) all year round with constant cool sea breezes keeping the air moving. The nation's largest attractions are its under-


water coral gardens, with an amazing range of sea life. For skin divers it is a paradise. And all you need is a pair of goggles, a snorkel and flip- pers and you can see more sea life and forms of coral on a holiday than you can see elsewhere in a life-time. This has not gone unnoticed by tourists.


From 1972 when the Maldive Islands opened its doors to international visitors, over 10 million tourists have visited, out of which 20% of tour- ists are regular repeat visitors. There are just over 70 resorts spread about


Coral Frame Propagation Project at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru


among the islands and, understandably, given the problems of distance and isolation, they are not inexpensive. But how do you put a price on paradise? There is a wide range of water-sports offered by the resorts with fishing and skin div- ing – or just lying back and enjoying paradise – among the most popular tourist pleasures. Lonely Planet http://www.lonelyplanet. com/maldives has this to say: “So superior are its beaches, so cobalt blue its waters and so warm its welcome that the country has become a byword for paradise whether it be for honey- mooners, sun worshippers or divers.” Which is an amazing yet accurate summary of the Maldives. There are few entrance formalities. Basically


it involves a free 30 days visa upon arrival for all visitors, but it helps to have a resort booking. At the moment you cannot get to the Mal-


dives from Sri Lanka by boat, which might seem to people who enjoy cruising a logical way to go. Instead you fly into the capital Male, normally from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. By far the best way to experience the place


is through a package holiday which can either include cruising between a number of resorts or just staying put in one place and forgetting the cares of the world.


SpaChina • 2013 | 67


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