Maldives: Island Friendship Bridge
The Maldives is a South Asian country located in the Indian Ocean. It is made up of over 1,200 small coral islands, stretching 820 km from north-to-south and 130 km from east-to-west. It is the world's lowest country, with even its highest natural point being the lowest in the world. It is also the smallest country in Asia, and was an ideal transit point for the great early maritime explorers because of its location approximately 600 km south of India and 750 km southwest of Sri Lanka.
Its proximity to the equator gives the Maldives a distinct tropical monsoon climate, meaning the country is hot all year round and often humid. However, the country is teeming with marine life, including a wide variety of tropical fish, sea turtles and hawksbill turtles, as well as abundant coral and shells.
Malé, the capital of the Maldives, is located on the North Malé Atoll. It is the political and economic centre of the country, and features a port, with fishing and aquatic processing industries as its most important industries. However, the country's main industry is undoubtedly tourism. The Maldives is one of the world's top island resorts, with truly unforgettable scenery—white sandy beaches and turquoise lagoons.
After arriving at Malé Airport, visitors switch to either a speedboat, seaplane or domestic land-based plane before heading to the island and resort of their choice. Most tourists who visit the Maldives are attracted to the “water villas.'' As their name implies, these are usually detached buildings built on lagoons surrounding the islands, complete with sun decks and staircases that descend directly into the water and the coral beneath.
A staff member from the Maldives Embassy in China enthusiastically introduced the country to visitors at the “Colourful World” event: “Tourists generally want to know things such as whether the surrounding coral reefs are abundant, or whether the beaches are big enough.” Of course, tourists can also take sightseeing seaplanes to appreciate the islands from above. The embassy worker continued: “Taking trips in dhoni boats is another good way to see other islands. And, Chinese tourists can get a 30-day visa on arrival. After arriving in the Maldives, you simply need to fill in an arrival card.”
“As an island nation on the ‘Belt and Road' route, we're extremely honoured to be able to take part in the ‘Colourful World' event.” The Maldives booth not only featured seafood products and delicious local snacks such as sea potato and breadfruit chips, but also showcased special handicrafts from the country.
The China-maldives Friendship Bridge (also known as the Sinamalé Bridge) recently opened on August 30, 2018, connecting the airport on Hulhulé and Malé Atoll. Located in the North Malé Atoll, the bridge is two km long and the most important piece of infrastructure connecting the islands in the Maldives. It was jointly agreed on by the leaders of the two countries during President Xi Jinping's visit to the Maldives in 2014 and is a key project in the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. Completion of the bridge has helped ease the living pressure for people on Malé Island and allows tourists to travel quickly and easily between the main island and airport.