Water crisis not a threat to Maldives tourism

Updated: 2014-12-09 13:09


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Water crisis not a threat to Maldives tourism

Maldives is known for its luxury tourism industry. [Photo/China.com.cn]

The current fresh water shortage in Male following damage of the capital's desalination facility will not affect tourists in the Indian Ocean archipelago, according to the country's Ministry of Tourism.

The Maldives, famous for its pristine beaches, scuba diving and tropical marine life, declared a fresh water shortage last week, after a fire damaged the capital's sole desalination facility on Thursday, leaving around 150,000 residents short of fresh water.

However, the crisis should not pose a concern for travelers, who usually only use the airport of Male as a transit point to their resorts on other islands.

According to Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor, Minister of Tourism, Maldives, each island owns their own desalination system, and will not be affected by the water shortage of the capital.

So far, the country, which is heavily dependent on tourism, has received help from several countries, including China. The Chinese government has already sent tons of bottled drinking water on flights, and desalination equipment in a boat to Male.

The Embassy of China in Maldives also explained that tourists should not be discouraged by the situation, as the major affected groups are limited to local residents of Male, who receive enough drinking water, but are short of water for cooking and shower.

In case tourists have to stay overnight in Male, the hotel will provide enough drinking water to their guests, according to a local airport staff via Sina.

It's unknown when the desalination plant will resume operation.

Tourism accounted for 28 percent of GDP on average over the past five years, and generated 38 percent of government revenue in 2012, according to Xinhua.

A total of 331,719 Chinese tourists visited the Maldives in 2013, a 44.5 percent increase from 2012, accounting for around 30 percent of all tourist arrivals.

Home to a group of over 1,000 islands, the Maldives is visited by more than 750,000 tourists each year, according to Reuters.