The Maldives, officially Republic of Maldives, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls.
It stands in the Laccadive Sea. The Republic of Maldives's capital and largest city is Malé. The reef is composed of coral debris and living coral. This acts as a natural barrier against the sea, forming lagoons. Other islands, set at a distance and parallel to the reef, have their own protective fringe of reef. An opening in the surrounding coral barrier allows access to the calmer lagoon waters.
The Indian Ocean has a great effect on the climate of the country by acting as a heat buffer, absorbing, storing, and slowly releasing the tropical heat. The temperature of Maldives ranges between 24 °C and 33 °C throughout the year.
Maldives is a presidential republic, with the President as head of government and head of state. The President heads the executive branch and appoints the cabinet which is approved by the People's Majlis (Parliament).
The development of tourism has fostered the overall growth of the country's economy. It has created direct and indirect employment and income generation opportunities in other related industries. The first tourist resorts were opened in 1972 with Bandos island resort and Kurumba Village.
Tourism is also the country's biggest foreign currency earner and the single largest contributor to the GDP. Today, there are 89 resorts in the Maldives with a bed capacity of over 17,000, providing facilities for tourists. Practically all visitors arrive at Malé International Airport, located on Hulhulé Island, which is next to the capital Malé. The airport is served by a wide array of flights to India, Sri Lanka, Doha, Dubai and major airports in South-East Asia, as well as an increasing number of charters from Europe.
Maldivian culture is heavily influenced by geographical proximity to Sri Lanka and southern India.The official and common language is Dhivehi, an Indo-European language.