Location, Climate and Geography
The Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean, south-west of Sri Lanka.
The archipelago stretches about 820 kilometres from north to south and about 120 kilometres from west to east. The Maldives consists of 26 atolls consisting a total of 1190 coral islands. Only 202 islands are inhabited and about 88 islands are resort islands. The local time is +5 hours GMT.
The average temperature is between 29 to 32 degrees celsius. The sun shines throughout the year.
The Economy and Education
Tourism is the hub of the Maldivian economy, with fisheries being the next big supporter. The mixed economy welcomes foreign and local private investment with the government being the guide. The economy has been growing at a fast pace of about an annual rate of 10% for the last 2 decades.
The currency is Rufiyaa and Laari. One Rufiyaa being a 100 Paris. The exchange rate at the moment for the US the Dollar is MRF11.72. The US Dollar is the most common foreign currency used, and resort islands accept all major credit cards and major currency in cash.
The very high priority to education given by the government has resulted from the students being some of the best in the region and the country enjoying a proud literacy rate of up to 98%. The Maldives follow the British system of education
Population, Culture and History
The country’s population is about 270,000 according to the estimates in 1998. The Maldives has an interesting history. Maldives’ first settlers were travellers. The culture formed as a mix because of the settlers coming from different parts of the world, majorly South Asia and Africa. Now civilised to a more western culture instead of the South Asian lifestyle as one would expect, the Maldives is a Muslim country with the entire populations being Muslim. The Maldives is very proud to have its own language, known as Dhivehi. However English is very widely spoken and the tourism staff also speaks major languages such as German, French, Japanese and Italian. One would find it very easy to make themselves around.