The First Tourists in Maldives

Crafting Paradise: The Maldives’ Journey Through Time and Tourism

I. In the Beginning: Tourism in the Early 1970s

First tourist in Maldives with fish catch

During the early 1970s, the Maldives began its transformative journey in the tourism industry. This pivotal period, led by Mr. Corbin, marked the beginning of the country’s transformation into an internationally acclaimed tourist destination.

II. The Pioneering Expedition: A Historic Landing in 1971

George Corbin

Mr. Corbin led a group of Italian travelers to a historic landing on the Maldives’ pristine shores in October 1971. They set sail aboard the ‘Maldives Exporter,’ accompanied by Frenchesco Benini, a skilled photographer, and local guide Mr. Kerefa Ahmed Naseem, marking the birth of the Maldives’ tourism industry.

III. Unveiling Paradise: Mr. Corbin’s Incredible Encounter

Mr. Corbin was left with an indelible impression of the virtually unexplored paradise, which he described as “breathtaking.” This experience inspired a series of articles and the 1973 publication of “Duemila isole felici,” a literary and visual odyssey that highlighted the Maldives’ allure to the rest of the world.

IV. Kurumba’s Birth: Transforming Challenges into Opportunities

kurumba - the maldives fist resort

Mr. Corbin’s promise to bring more visitors led to further developments when he returned home. He returned in February 1972 with the Maldives’ first tourists, mostly journalists and photographers. They found modest lodging in Malé, where they were cared for by M U Maniku and friends. They were captivated by the perfect blend of activities, laying the groundwork for Kurumba, the first Maldivian resort.

george corbin and maldives toursm pioneers
Left to right: Hussain Afeef, Ahmed Naseem, George Corbin and M U Maniku

V. Economic Impact and Evolution: From Resorts to GDP Contribution

As tourism grew, resorts and infrastructure flourished, transforming the Maldives into a world-famous luxury travel destination. Its trademarks were overwater bungalows, vibrant coral reefs, and crystal-clear turquoise waters. The tourism industry has become a cornerstone of the Maldives’ economic development, contributing significantly to its GDP.

VI. Timeless Allure: The Maldives Today

The Maldives is now synonymous with luxury travel, attracting honeymooners, scuba divers, and those looking for an idyllic tropical getaway. Mr. Corbin and his fellow pioneers’ journey not only defined Maldives history, but also sculpted it into an unparalleled global marvel, beckoning travelers with its timeless allure.

Posted in Maldives Tourism
One thought on “The First Tourists in Maldives

Leave a Message

Registration isn't required.