Maldives - Industry

The manufacturing sector is small and limited by the shortage of domestic labor. Important traditional industries in the Maldives include, boat building, the manufacture of coir, a rope made from dried coconut fibers, and lacemaking (handmade pillow lace), introduced by the Dutch in the 17th century. Maldivian lacquerwork and finely woven mats are famous for their quality and design. Coconuts, copra, shells, tortoiseshell, bone dust, red stone, ambergris, and handicrafts are also produced locally as well as exported. All fishing is done by the traditional line and pole method as the use of nets is illegal. The country's fishing fleet of small, flat bottomed boats have, however, shifted from using sails and oars to outboard motors. In May 2001, the government ended its monopoly of the export tuna sector, and in 2002 four Maldivian operations were licensed to buy and export fresh tuna. Modern industry is limited to tuna canneries and other fish-processing, several apparel factories, built during the past decade, a soft drink bottling plant, and small scale manufacturing enterprises that produce PVC pipe, soap, furniture, and food products. Tourism has been developing since the first resort was built in 1977. As of November 2000, there were 84 resorts in operation, and in 2001, cruise tourism was introduced by the Ministry of Tourism.

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