Maldives is an insular country located in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India. It is constituted by 1196 islands, 203 of which are inhabited. They are divided into 26 atolls, each of them named like one or two of the letters of the Thaana script. Its capital and most populated city is Malé. The climate is tropical and wet, influenced by the monsoons. The main religion is Islam, which was introduced in the country in 1153. It is the less populated country in Asia and also the less populated one among the Muslim countries, and it is one of the smallest Asian countries. It is also the lowest country in the world and has the lowest natural highest point on the planet: only 2,3 m.
The economy in Maldives has been historically based on fishing, until about four decades ago, when the importance of tourism grew to become the main economic engine of the country. In addition to a management model which has little intervention on local customs and is ecologically sustainable, the country has touristic success thanks to its colourful waters and its rich subaquatic life, which have turned it into one of the world’s best destinations for divers.