Maldives

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.

UNCED

The special case of SIDS.The unique challenges facing Small Island Developing States (SIDS) within the context of sustainable development were first formally recognised by the international community at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. The special case of small islands and coastal areas was highlighted in Agenda 21 – the programme of action for sustainable development adopted as an essential outcome of the conference.

The structure of Agenda 21.

Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action. The agenda encompasses 40 chapters, divided into four main sections:

· Social and Economic Dimensions

· Conservation and Management of Resources for Development

· Strengthening the Role of Major Groups

· Means of Implementation

Agenda 21 and SIDS.

Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 on the protection of oceans, all kinds of seas, and coastal areas includes a programme area on the sustainable development of small islands.

Agenda 21: 17.124. Small island developing States, and islands supporting small communities are a special case both for environment and development. They are ecologically fragile and vulnerable. Their small size, limited resources, geographic dispersion and isolation from markets, place them at a disadvantage economically and prevent economies of scale.

Agenda 21 also called for a global conference on the sustainable development of SIDS.

The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established by the UN General Assembly in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up to UNCED.

 

Agency and non-SIDS Inputs

Caribbean Pacific Africa, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea (AIMS)
Anguilla[a][b][c] American Samoa[d][e][c] Bahrain[a][e]
Antigua and Barbuda Cook Islands[c] Cape Verde[e]
Aruba[a][f] Federated States of Micronesia Comoros[g]
Bahamas Fiji Guinea-Bissau[g][e]
Barbados French Polynesia[a][b][c] Maldives[f]
Belize Guam[d][e][c] Mauritius
British Virgin Islands[a][b][c] Kiribati[g] São Tomé and Príncipe[g][e]
Cuba[e] Marshall Islands Seychelles
Dominica Nauru Singapore[e]
Dominican Republic[f] New Caledonia[a][b][c]
Grenada Niue[c]
Guyana Northern Mariana Islands[a][e][c]
Haiti[g] Palau
Jamaica Papua New Guinea
Montserrat[a][c] Samoa
Netherlands Antilles[d][f][c] Solomon Islands[g]
Puerto Rico[a][f][c] Timor-Leste[g][a][f]
Saint Kitts and Nevis Tonga
Saint Lucia Tuvalu[g]
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Vanuatu[g]
Suriname
Trinidad and Tobago
United States Virgin Islands[d][e][c]

Mauritius

DISCOVER MAURITIUS

Geography
65 km long by 45 km wide, with a surface area of 720 square miles, Mauritius is situated 855km east of Madagascar and over 1800 km from the African coast. The island’s relief is composed essentially sea shores and a central plateau with maximum altitudes of 600 meters, a number of ranges and craters of dead volcanos. The highest point on the island is the summit of the Piton de la Riviere Noire (827 m). All around the island are white sandy beaches, surrounded by lagoons, protected by an important coral reef. The main towns are Port-Louis ( the capital), Beau-Bassin/Rose-Hill, Quatres Bornes, Vacoas/Phoenix, Curepipe.

History
Arab traders had known about the island since the 10th century, but it was the Dutch who named it, after Maurice Prince of Orange and count of Nassau. They arrived in 1598 and introduced sugar cane – fields upon fields of which still blanket the island. They also brought tobacco.

The descendants of the first inhabitant from Africa are the Creole people whose music, dancing ( the Sega is a fiery dance that must be experienced ), cuisine and smiling faces are integral to modern Mauritius – along with those of Indian, French, British and Chinese heritage, creating a unique and fascinating ethnic mix.

Mauritius has “belonged” to the Dutch, then French, then British before being granted independence in 1968 and officially becoming a republic in 1992. This breathtaking, isolated island is a dream destination – volcanic peaks in the interior looming over miles of ancient palm forest and sugar cane plantations, with hundreds of kilometres of the unspoilt reef as your aquatic playground. Resorts here mercifully adhere to a rule preventing them building higher than the palm trees, melding into the beauty of the natural environment. This is a remote destination – and yet so accessible.

The Economy

Agriculture has always been the backbone of Mauritian economy. Up until recent times, sugar cane was the mainstay , and even today it covers 40% of the island’s surface area, yielding an annual harvest of 600 to 850,000 tonnes, from June to November. Another economic growth sector is Tourism. Its regular expansion means hotel construction and new air links, and tourism now employs 15000 people. Today however the leading economic field is industrial development. High-tech industries are developing alongside the already well-established textile industries. The whole area is served by an offshore banking centre and a duty-free port for warehousing and transit of merchandise.
Population.

There is an extraordinary diversity, Indians, Creoles, Mohammedans, Europeans, Chinese, English, a mixture of races. The Mauritians are courteous and very hospitable. There are around 1,200,000 inhabitants on the island.

Religions: Christianism, Hinduism, Islam and many others.

Folklore
The inhabitants of Mauritius represent many different cultures, all of whom have their ceremonies and religious feast days. The Hindu ceremonies are the most spectacular ( walking on burning coals) and take place from October to March. The traditional music is the Sega inspired by the African dances. Local food , like the island itself, is diversified and spicy which you will discover through Hotels Constance culinary spirit

Language
English is the official language although everyone also speaks French. Creole is fluently spoken.

The Climate
The average temperature is 27º centigrade during the day and rarely under 20º at night. They are two seasons. Hot from November to April. Warm from may to October. One finds micro-climate everywhere and rainy weather on the central plateau.

MAURITIUS ATTRACTIONS

  • Port Louis
  • Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens
  • Moka Town & Around
  • Curepipe & Environs