As Maldives’ tourism celebrates 50 years, Corbyn sees ‘phenomenal’ progress

George Corbyn, an Italian tour operator who had been instrumental in introducing tourism to the Maldives 50 years ago, said on Tuesday that the development of the industry has been phenomenal.

The first tourists to arrive in the Maldives were a group of 22 Italian journalists who arrived in February 1972 under the supervision of Corbyn. Corbyn had previously said in an interview with a foreign newspaper that the group had arrived in the Maldives on February 16.

On Tuesday, Corbyn returned to the Maldives on the invitation of the Ministry of Tourism to participate in some of the activities being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the Maldivian tourism industry.

Speaking to reporters at the airport, Corbyn said the Maldives has made significant progress in the past 50 years.

“It’s hard to believe what these islands have done in 50 years,” he said.

“Maldivians are very good. It is also part of the beauty of the Maldives.”

This is the third time Corbyn has visited the Maldives since he left the country. He will be in the Maldives for six days during which he will stay at:

  • Maagiri Hotel: The location of the house where some of the first tourists that Corbyn brought to the Maldives stayed at
  • Kurumba Maldives: The first resort developed and opened in Maldives
  • An unidentified resort in Noonu atoll
  • Kuda Villingi Maldives Resort

Corbyn said he would meet with various tourism related organisations to see what more can be done for the industry.

“We want to expand tourism to the US market. It’s a huge market,” said Corbyn, who now lives in the United States.

“Now the US market is frequented by honeymooners. But the Maldives is a place where there are more than that. For example, watersports, diving and fishing.”

In addition, Corbyn will:

  • attend the ceremony held at Manhattan Business Hotel on Wednesday to launch a stamp set to mark the 50th anniversary of Maldivian tourism
  • attend a talk show at the auditorium of the Maldives National University on Thursday regarding the history of the Maldivian tourism industry

Everything in the Maldives is special for Corbyn

Having retired, Corbyn now consults with travellers and travel planning facilities. His consultancy is based on his nearly 60 years of experience traveling.

When asked what was the most unique aspect of Maldivian tourism, Corbyn said each and every aspect of the Maldives was special.

“Atolls, beaches, sand, underwater world; everything is different, it’s beautiful,” he said.

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