Resorts isolated on their own islands typify tourism on this sprinkle of atolls in the western Indian Ocean. Although many of these all-inclusive holiday makers' havens are eco-friendly, they rarely afford visitors opportunities to interact with local Maldivians. Climate change brings worries about sea level rise to those low-lying islands, and warmer ocean temperatures are causing coral bleaching to the archipelago.
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"While it enjoys some of the world’s best sustainable tourism planning, excellent review processes, and good enforcement of best practice standards, the entire nation is at risk due to global climate change."
“Protection of the reefs, etc., takes place only in some of the resorts. Others have pumped sand and destroyed their house reefs. The dive sites outside are great."
"Hard to get much of a look at Maldivian culture. The resort islands are just for guests. Aside from spending a night in Male, the best you can do is taking an island tour lasting a couple of hours."
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
See all the winning images from the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest.