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The Beginning of Maldives Tourism Industry – History of the First Resort, Kurumba Maldives

Aerial view of kurumba maldives
The Maldives tourism industry started with the first resort, Kurumba Maldives' opening in 1972. Here's a brief history of the resort.

There was a time a tourism industry did not exist in the Maldives. Back then, the Maldives was inhabited only by fisherfolk and remained unknown to the outside world. It all started with the first resort in the Maldives, Kurumba Maldives’ opening in 1972.

Beginning of the Maldives’ Tourism Industry

Tourism started with the passion and determination of Kurumba’s young Maldivian founders. The very beginning was a meeting in Colombo between George Corbin, an Italian travel agent, and Ahmed Naseem. Ahmed Naseem was then a junior with the Maldives Embassy who later became the Foreign Minister of Maldives. Corbin was looking for pristine islands where he could bring Italians to swim and hunt fish. On his first visit to the Maldives, it was love at first sight.

In February 1972, Corbin brought the first tourists to the Maldives. The first arrivals were mainly journalists and photographers. Likewise, the tourists were accommodated in three houses in Malé. Furthermore, they were looked after by Mohamed Umar Maniku (Now Universal Enterprises’ Chairman) and his friends, including Hussain Afeef, who is currently the successful owner/operator of several resorts in the Maldives.

Kurumba – The first resort in the Maldives

Corbin vowed to bring more tourists if Maniku, Naseem, and Afeef could find tourists somewhere to stay. Thus, Kurumba was born. Driven and inspired with enthusiasm Maniku and Afeef linked up with the leaseholder of Vihamanaafushi. Vihamanaafushi was within close proximity to the airstrip and the capital. Access to the island back then was only by sailing dhoni or open boat with an outboard motor.

Image: Kurumba Maldives

M U Maniku worked as an agriculture officer. After finishing his work each day at 1.30 pm, he spent his time developing Vihamanaafushi. And with financial help from Corbin and his own resources, Maniku and his young Maldivian friends built 30 rooms in blocks of three, using coral stone for walls, coconut timber, and palm thatch for roofs at the island. The rooms had a brackish water shower and toilet, basic furniture, and access to the beach. Meanwhile, meals were taken in a canteen or as barbecues on the beach.

The island was the first resort in the Maldives and came to be known as Kurumba Village. Meanwhile, Afeef became the manager of the resort. Kurumba Village opened on Tuesday 3 October 1972 and remained fully booked for the rest of the year. In its humble origins, Kurumba welcomed 60 guests a month.

Since then, Kurumba became a resort that welcomes 14,000 guests. The resort went from a handful of the founding friends to a staff of 450. In 2003, Kurumba underwent a complete transformation yet again. However, now meeting the demands of the 21st century. The result was a world-class resort with 180 rooms, including the Royal Residence, Presidential Suites, Pool Villas, Family Villas, and beach and garden superior rooms. Today the resort has matured into the Grand Hotel of the Maldives, setting the benchmark for hospitality in the region, and in the tropics at large.

This article is sourced from www.kurumba.com/maldives-history
Feature image by kurumba Maldives
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Easter at SAii Lagoon and Hard Rock: Festivities and Events

Easter is the perfect time to jet off for a memorable family holiday before the summer rush floods in.

This Easter is especially lined up of festivities and events at Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton at CROSSROADS Maldives!

Kid-friendly, Teen Approved, Roxity Kids Club & Teen Spirit Club

Who says grown-ups get to have all the fun? This Easter, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives is bringing adult-free zone for kids to enjoy. Kids get to stat the day with the Bunny Dance Fitness session at the pool Deck. Groove to the rhythm and get energised for the day ahead!

Join the Sundown Ritual again the perfect tropical sunset and backdrop! Indulge in a Mexican dinner at The Elephant and The Butterfly, accompanies by live band performances, that will set the stage on fire. For the family-favourite, the resort is bringing back Easter Pool Party. It is a must try on the list, where you can make a splash and enjoy the beats of the Bunny DJ I-MAN. Little ones can enjoy with Roxity Mini Fun Fair, Easter Bunny Cookie Making, and the Roxity Easter Egg Hunting.

Thrill-seekers can join the Easter Limbo Challenger at the Pool Deck. You can also try out hand at the Bunny Silk Climbing Aerial Class at The Stage.

Koimala & Maalimi’s Junior Beach Club and Camp’s SAiissational Easter Line-Up

Celebrate this Easter with a touch of heartfelt Cham at SAii Lagoon Maldives. You can start you day with a snorkelling house reef tour. With this tour you can explore the vibrant underwater world of The Maldives. You can also join for Aqua Zumba and Water Polo at the Beach Club Pool. Unwind with a cocktail-making competition and pool volleyball. This activities are perfect for guests of all ages to enjoy some fun in the sun.

For the aspiring culinary artists, SAii Master Chef competition sets the perfect stage. Here aspiring chefs get to showcase their culinary skills and win fantastic awards. As the day winds dow, indulge in the Easter Dinner Buffet at Terra and Mar, offering a delightful dining experience with live music. With its relaxed atmosphere and genuine hospitality, Easter at SAii Lagoon Maldives promises a truly SAiiSational experience. Here, every moment is a chance to reach out to the blue and embrace the beauty of the island.

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