World Tourism Organisation has designated 2020 as the Year of Tourism and Rural Development. “Tourism helps rural communities hold onto their unique natural and cultural heritage, supporting conservation projects, including those safeguarding endangered species, lost traditions or flavours,” said Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General.
As we mark the importance of tourism in promoting and preserving our rich culture, here are 5 ways you, as a tourist, can have an authentic Maldives experience during your vacation.
Visit a Cultural Attraction in the Capital City
The Maldives might be one of the smallest countries you’ve seen but the attractions here are many. If you’re someone interested in art and culture, the National Museum is a must. The Museum is home to a varied range of artefacts of the country’s rich cultural history, including a coral stone head of Buddha from the Maldivian island Thoddoo dating back to the 11th century. Another popular attraction is the Hukuru Miskiy, the oldest mosque in the Maldives. A peaceful garden and a 17th-century cemetery encircle the mosque, which was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site tentative list in 2013.
Explore coral stone mosques in islands
Whichever atoll you are staying in, one of the top activities on your list should be exploring coral stone mosques in islands. The coral stone mosques of Maldives are a series of culturally and architecturally unique sites. The mosques are assembled from porite coral stone (hirigaa) hewn from the reef, and with their combination of carved coral stone and timber lacquer work represent a cultural fusion found nowhere else in the world. Maldives has more than 26 coral stone mosques throughout the country.
Experience traditional dining
The island nation features some of the best dishes you’ll ever feast on! Almost every island has at least one restaurant and is home to many small tea shops, but most importantly, you will never run out of options because of the warm hospitality. However, to take your dining experience to the next level, go onboard the only restaurant in the world set on a boat in a lagoon featuring gourmet dishes of inspired island cuisine from the Maldivian Spice Route. At the Ba’theli lounge & restaurant in Milaidhoo resort, guests dine on the ‘deck’ of the restaurant where, underneath starry night skies, the team of chefs deliver an island influenced menu of locally inspired and sourced dishes.
Go wreck diving
Maldives is an ideal destination for diving among caves, tunnels and shipwrecks. Some of the most spectacular shipwrecks lie on the ocean floor of this tropical diving paradise. Divers can get to witness how marine ecosystems adapt to take over these sunken relics, and explore the sunken treasures beneath the deep blue sea. The Rannamaari Wreck at Angsana Ihuru is a sand dredger that was brought to create deliberate wreck diving. But it had not waited for the arranged date for its sinking and sank on its own to the final resting-place, like a true wreck on 25 April 1999.
Marine conservation programs
While you’re on your luxurious holiday, take some time and help conserve the beautiful environment in Maldives. There are many ways you can do this, with several resorts offering various marine conservation programs. The Reethi Faru eco-resort features a coral garden to create a sustainable long-term project to help preserve and conserve the coral reefs at Reethi Faru Resort. They also started a Manta ID Project and a Turtle ID Project.