The government has implemented a series of development programs to improve and expand fishing and related industries, textile manufacturing, food processing, tourism, communications, and health and education services. In 1986, Malé's new commercial harbor was opened, considerably speeding up cargo handling from 200–300 tons to 1,500 tons a day. Also in the late 1980s, Malé's international airport was upgraded in the late 1980s, comprising a critical factor in the growth of the country's tourism sector. Effective 1 July 1997, the Companies Act governed the formation, registration, and management of companies doing business in Maldives. Part of the economic thrust has been to lessen the reliance on fishing and to diversify the economy.
Continued expansion of tourism has been particularly targeted in government development plans for the immediate future, along with facilitating a spread of economic activity to outlying island groups. Water taxis and scheduled sea vessel and light aircraft transportation services were developing in the late 1990s for this purpose. The Foreign Investment Services Bureau (FISB), established in August 1986 as a "one-stop service" for investors, in 2002 was encouraging investment projects that were 1) capital intensive; 2) enhance technology transfer; 3) introduce new skills and offer training to local employees; and 4) are environmentally friendly.