President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Friday declared that protecting the environment is imperative for sustainable tourism.
Addressing the people of Maldives on the occasion of World Tourism Day, President Ibrahim Solih stressed that environmental conservation was crucial for the sustainability of tourism, as the natural beauty and biodiversity of the archipelago is the "lifeblood" of the sector.
Stating that sustainable tourism encompasses peace and harmony, he declared environment protection a national duty, and hailed the efforts of industry professionals, investors and non-governmental organisations working for the progress of tourism.
The president went on to note that the purpose of celebrating World Tourism Day is to create awareness on the progress of tourism, to identify the challenges faced by the industry, and to work towards solutions in collaboration with the international community.
“Tourism in the Maldives was initiated 47 years ago, with only 60 beds. A handful of courageous Maldivian businessmen set many challenges upon themselves, setting a clear example for generations to come. Today, the Maldives holds 567 guesthouses, 154 safari vessels, 149 resorts and 10 tourist hotels. With a total of 47,114 beds accommodated within these facilities, Maldives is a world-renowned brand", he said.
The president further urged to make use of Maldives' popularity to invest in opportunities that benefit individuals, and to undertake different tourism concepts to help achieve the targets.
“Maldives must also explore popular tourism products that are quickly gaining traction among the international community. Products such as commercial tourism, cultural and traditional tourism, sports tourism and medical tourism are products gaining popularity among travellers. I’m confident that there are many such products that we can offer to our tourist market".