Economy of the Maldives
Gross Domestic Product
US Dollar Exchange
In ancient times the Maldives were renowned
for cowries, coir rope, dried tuna fish (Mal-
dive Fish), ambergris (Maavaharu) and Coco
de mer (Tavakkaashi). Local and foreign trad-
ing ships used to load these products in the
Maldives and bring them abroad.
Nowadays, the mixed economy of the Mal-
dives is based on the principal activities of
tourism, fishing and shipping.
Tourism is the largest industry in the
Maldives, accounting for 28% of GDP and
more than 60% of the Maldives’ foreign ex-
change receipts. It powered the current GDP
per capita to expand 265% in the 1980s and
a further 115% in the 1990s. Over 90% of
government tax revenue flows in from import
duties and tourism-related taxes.
Fishing is the second leading sector in
the Maldives. The economic reform program
by the government in 1989 lifted import
quotas and opened some exports to the
private sector. Subsequently, it has liberal-
to allow more
Agriculture and manufacturing play a
minor role in the economy, constrained by
the limited availability of cultivable land and
shortage of domestic labour. Most staple
foods are imported.
Industry in the Maldives consists mainly
of garment production, boat building, and
handicrafts. It accounts for about 18% of
GDP. Maldivian authorities are concerned
about the impact of erosion and possible
global warming in the low-lying country.
Among the 1,900 islands in the Maldives,
only 198 are inhabited. The population is
scattered throughout the country, and the
greatest concentration is on the capital
island, Malé. Limitations on potable water
and arable land, plus the added difficulty of
congestion are some of the problems faced
by households in Malé.
mainly dependent on the tourism industry