The Maldives is officially the Republic of Maldives, is an island nation consisting of a group of atolls belonging to the Maldive and Suvadive archipelagoes in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is located south of India's Lakshadweep islands, and about 435 miles south-west of Sri Lanka. The twenty-six atolls of Maldives' encompass a territory featuring 1,192 islets, two hundred and fifty islands of which are inhabited. The Maldives is the smallest Asian country in terms of population. It is also the smallest predominantly Muslim nation in the world.
The development of tourism has fostered the overall growth of the country's economy. It has created direct and indirect employment and income generation opportunities in other related industries. Today, tourism is the country's biggest foreign exchange earner, contributing to twenty percent of the GDP. There are eighty-seven tourist resorts in operation. The year 2006 recorded 467,154 tourist arrivals. The first tourist resorts were opened in 1972 with Bandos island resort and Kurumba Village.