Exposing the Hidden Culture of Maldives
By generating employment and securing a revenue stream of foreign currency, tourism has remained the largest economic industry in Maldives. With its numerous resorts of unmatchable bliss and natural beauty of its beaches and climate, Maldives has succeeded in attracting tourists from all over the world.
The flourishing industry which began during the 1970s, offers tourists its crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and extraordinary underwater scenery. Diving, surfing, and snorkeling are some of the many water sports offered by Maldivian resorts.
Despite the large amount of resorts and their uncontested success, most of the Maldivian resorts have remained expensive and aimed at the extremely rich and wealthy. While some may argue that the bottom end resorts should be affordable to even the middle class tourists, others refuse to accept that it may indeed increase the popularity of the small island resorts.
The true colors of the rich and unique Maldivian history and culture have also been filtered out of the industry. In fact it can be said that the Maldivian tourism industry has failed to present to the tourists, our heritage. While the industry has grown, even without the cultural tourism, the small nation has its very own cluster of remnants and relics.
The historic sites, covered beneath dunes of sand, slowly giving away to the destruction of time should be preserved and presented to tourists. In the same manner that one wishes to see the magnificence of the Roman cathedrals, Maldives can provide artifacts that can mesmerize even those who have witnessed the pyramids and sphinxes of Egypt. There is no reason why we shouldn’t promote our history using our unique wet lands, old trees that have lived for decades, and palaces such as the one in Utheemu.
Cultural tourism will open up new opportunities to expand the industry to the islands and it will also assist in preserving the historic sites. With the increase of popularity and demand for such sites the industry itself will invest in the protection and preservation of such locations.
Innovative ideas and realistic designs are necessary to sustain the industry. An underwater restaurant has been successfully implemented in the Maldives. Why can’t the idea be expanded? Perhaps the future holds better possibilities of constructing underwater resorts. To sustain our natural gift we need to test out new ideas and refine existing ones.
Tourists should be granted the opportunity to experience the local life. They should be given a chance to see the country for what it really is. They should be allowed to see who we really are. While we proudly claim our own language, belief system and culture, we must show it to the outside world. We must let the world see this beautiful nation as we see it through our own eyes.
When the light shimmers through the clouds, shining over the sunny side of life, the veil must be lifted. Secrets of our unity must be spilled. Relics must be dug out. After all it is paradise, and paradise has nothing to hide.