The Millionth Tourist This Year Arrives in the Maldives
The Maldives Tourism Ministry announced this week that one million tourists had visited the island country so far this year - a 10 per cent increase on numbers for the same period in the previous year.
The Maldives is dramatically expanding its tourist industry - currently, there are 105 resort island hotels in the vast archipelago in the Indian Ocean but there are plans in place to more than double this number in the next few years. The airport is currently being rebuilt to take more than seven million passengers a year.
Many conservationists fear that such a rapid growth is going to place impossible pressures on the country's coral reefs which are already stressed by two recent coral bleaching events caused by global warming, problems with crown of thorns starfish infestations and the impact of existing large-scale development.