tourism in the Maldives began in 1972. A United Nations mission on development that visited the Maldives Islands in the 1960s did not recommend tourism, claiming that the islands were not suitable. Ever since the launch of the first the resort in Maldives in 1972, however, tourism in Maldives has flourished. The arrival of the first tourist's group is estimated to have occurred in February 1972. Tourism in Maldives started with just two resorts with a capacity of about 280 beds. Kurumba Island Resort is the first resort opened in Maldives, followed by Bandos Island Resort. At present, there are over 132 resorts located in the different atolls constituting the Republic of Maldives. Over the decades, the number of tourists in Maldives is rising continuously. In 2009, local island guesthouses started popping up in the Maldives. This was thanks to a change in regulations that began to officially allow tourists to stay among the local population, rather than just on privately owned resort islands. In 2015, a total of 1.2 million tourists visited the Maldives, and another 1.5 million visited in 2016.
In 2018, the Maldives operated 130 island-resorts. Current work is being undertaken to boost tourism room capacity by constructing another 23 properties, which will include foreign developers such as the Waldorf Astoria, Movenpick, Pullman and the Hard Rock Café Hotel. Extensive upgrades at the Velana International Airport will allow for 7.5 million visitors by early 2019 or 2020.
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