Tourism is the largest economic industry in the Maldives, as it plays an important role in earning foreign exchange revenues and generating employment in the tertiary sector of the country. The archipelago of the Maldives is the main source of attraction to many tourists visiting the country worldwide.
Tourism began in the Maldives in 1972. A United Nations mission on development which visited the Maldives Islands in the 1960s did not recommend tourism, claiming that the islands were not suitable. Ever since the launch of the first resort in Maldives in 1972, however, tourism in Maldives has flourished. The arrival of the first tourist group is estimated to have occurred in February 1972. Tourism in Maldives started with just two resorts with a capacity of about 280 beds in and Island Resort. Kurumba island resort is the first resort which was opened in Maldives then Bandos island resort was opened. At present, there are over 105 resorts located in the different atolls constituting the Republic of Maldives. Over the past few decades, the number of tourists in Maldives has risen continuously. In 2009, local island guesthouses started popping up in the Maldives. This was thanks to a change in regulations that began to officially allow tourists to stay among the local population, rather than just on privately owned resort islands. Today, more than 800,000 tourists visit the Maldives each year.