Benefits for local people
With the exclusivity of the traditional resort islands comes the expense, and there are plenty of people making money and spending money in the Maldives with tourist taxes, environmental taxes and service facility taxes generating part of the tourist income that equates to 30 percent of the country’s GDP. So the 300,000 Maldivians that inhabit fewer than 200 of the 1,200 islands must be wandering around in golden flip-flops, right? Urm, no. It’s estimated that 80 percent of the money made through tourism leaves the Maldives and although several resorts do employ local people, not enough do enough to support local communities.
However, with tourists now able to spend time away from the resorts, tourism has begun to assist local islanders in terms of finance and increased employment prospects, and in many cases it has also improved some social aspects too. The extra cafés and restaurants have added to the number of meeting places for local people which provides more channels of communication as well as improving wellbeing through getting together with old and new friends.