'Protecting the environment is imperative for sustainable tourism' - Pres Solih

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that protecting the environment is imperative for sustainable tourism.

He made the statement on Friday in his address to the Maldivian people on the occasion of World Tourism Day.

President Ibrahim Solih said that the lifeblood of our tourism is the natural beauty of our isles and its diversity. His excellency emphasized the importance of environmental conservation for the sustainability of the tourism industry in the Maldives.

He further added that it is every individuals’ national duty to protect the environment. He commended the work done by all industry professionals, investors and non-governmental organizations working for the progression of the industry.

President Solih noted that the purpose of celebrating World Tourism Day is to create awareness among the public on the tourism industry, to identify the challenges faced by the industry and to work towards finding comprehensive solutions in collaboration with the international community.

Furthermore, the President noted that sustainable tourism encompasses peace and harmony, emphasizing that the sole reason for Maldives' popularity among tourists rests upon its attributes of seclusion and solitude from being on an isolated geographic isle within the waters of the Indian Ocean territory.

“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.

President Solih added that the Maldives should make use of its popularity to invest in opportunities that benefit individuals and that undertaking different tourism concepts would help to achieve the target.

“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 travelers. I’m confident that there are many such products that we can offer to our tourist market,” he said.