Maldives to deploy lifeguards in 19 islands for tourist safety

Maldives government has opened applications for tourist scouts to be stationed in 19 islands across the archipelago, in a bid to strengthen the safety of holidaymakers visiting the popular tourist destination.

The Water Safety Programme, conducted by the tourism ministry in association with the police and armed forces, seeks to ensure that the Maldives remains a safe place for tourists, with no risk involved in beach and water activities such as swimming.

Nineteen islands, each housing more than 100 tourist beds, have been identified for the first phase of the nationwide programme. The islands include:

  • Dharavandhoo in Baa atoll
  • Rasdhoo, Ukulha and Thoddoo in Alif Alif atoll
  • Dhigurah and Haggnaameedhoo in Alif Dhaal atoll
  • Dhiffushi, Gulhi, Guraidhoo, Himmafushi, Huraa, Maafushi and Thulusdhoo in Kaafu atoll
  • Thinadhoo in Vaavu atoll
  • Gan in Laamu atoll
  • Addu
  • Male and its sattelite town of Hulhumale, as well as the suburban town of Villimale

Candidates should be able to serve provide first aid and serve as a first responder in any rescue or help needed. They should also be familiar the locations safe for swimming.

These lifeguards, known as ‘Beach Scouts’ will be tasked with providing safety briefing, and details of the island and weather to tourists, as well as ensuring their safety in water.

Tourism is the economic mainstay of the Maldives, and the industry caters to a predominantly high-end clientele. The setup of this industry is unique in several ways; the concept of ‘one island, one resort,’ and the geographical distance between the resorts all present security and safety opportunities and challenges.

Tourism security and tourist safety, especially in a setting like in the Maldives, requires a deep understanding of the natural environment, the requirements of the industry, a thorough appreciation of the potential threats, and consideration for the privacy of the guests and the ambience within the resorts.

Security and safety measures related to complementary industries such as aviation and transport also play an important role in addressing the issue holistically.

Drowning is a rare occurrence amongst tourists in the Maldives. However, an increase in the number of drownings over the past year has alarmed authorities as well as tourist establishments across the archipelago.

Maldives, known world over for its upmarket tourism industry, has resorts in the hundreds spread across the archipelago. The industry has in recent years expanded to introduce more affordable segments, including guesthouses and liveaboards. Some 500 guesthouses have come into operation over the past decade, as the number of travellers that choose to stay in guesthouses record exponential growth.

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