TEST YOURSELF: A slice of paradise

A trip to the Maldives is no longer just for the rich

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Read the following story by Vanniya Sriangura from Bangkok Post’s Life section. Then, answer the questions that follow.

Back in the old days, a getaway in the Maldives was a luxury reserved for the rich.
Now, thanks to the boom of Maldivian tourism and easier access to the archipelago country, a holiday in the heart of the Indian Ocean has become imaginable for everyone.

Millions of tourists
Last year it received more than 1.6 million international tourists, nearly 16,000 of which were Thais. The number of Thai visitors has risen from just under 900 in 2021.
Today, there are more than 170 resorts, from budget guesthouses to luxurious 5-star hotels, scattered across the Republic of Maldives' chain of 26 coral islands.
Freshly opened last month is the 187-room resort Amari Raaya. The family-friendly resort aims to cater to a wide range of guests as Russians are currently the top nationality visiting the Maldives; Indians are at No.2, the Chinese at No.3 and the rest European.

Quick to recover
Amari Raaya's general manager Rainer Steinhilber, who has lived in the Maldives for the past 15 years, added: "The Maldives used to be seen as a high-end destination dominated by visitors from Europe, especially the UK. This has changed during the past decade thanks to the government's new strategy in widening and targeting other travellers.
"Many resorts have started to open up to kids and divers, as well as older generations of travellers by offering bigger rooms where guests can have more space and put extra beds.
According to Steinhilber, in 2018, some 20 resorts opened in the Maldives, compared to a total of less than 100 in the country in 2016. The peak for tourism in the Maldives came in 2019, but then Covid arrived. However, the country was quick to reopen.
"Tourism is the number one income of the Maldives, other than fishing. So if tourists don't come, there's no business at all," he explained.  
The island also boasts a great dive site with an abundance of underwater life including an extensive coral reef.

Safety and smiles
The Maldives is one of the safest places on Earth, according to Steinhilber.
"It is the nature of the Maldives. The sea is very calm, and there are no high waves. You don't have typhoons. There are no harmful creatures in the water," he said.
"The gentleness is also reflected in the people. The people here are very hospitable and welcome everyone. Their friendliness is like the Thai smile."

Section 1: Write the correct answer in the space provided.
1. How many Thais visited the Maldives in 2022? …………….
2. The Maldives comprises of how many islands? …………….
3. Which country has the most visitors to the Maldives? …………….
4. How long has Steinhilber lived in the Maldives? …………….
5. More resorts opened in 2018 than 2016. True or false? …………..
6. What does Steinhilber compare to a Thai smile? …………….

Section 2: Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words from the choices given.
“People look at the Maldives as a quiet place and a …7… stay. But these days most people …8… to forget how to relax and ask, 'OK, what …9… I do in one week on a small island where I can walk around in 20 minutes and by the second day I've seen …10…?”

7. __A. relax             __B. relaxing              __C. relaxation
8. __A. tend                 __B. trend                  __C. then
9. __A. had                __B. shall              __C. were
10. __A. anything        __B. everything                __C. nothing
Section 3: Find words that match the following definitions.
11. something expensive that is not done or bought often ……………
12. not expensive ……………
13. the highest amount ……………
14. a tropical storm …………

Answers: 1. Nearly 16,000. 2. 26. 3. Russia. 4. 15 years. 5. False. 6. friendliness. 7. B. 8. A. 9. B. 10. B. 11. luxury. 12. budget. 13. peak. 14. typhoon.

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