The Maldives transportation infrastructure is very limited. The capital city island, Malé, has 9.6 kilometers (6 miles) of coral highways. Due to their small size and the tiny amount of cars throughout the rest of the islands, the total quantity of roads is not known. There are no railways in the Maldives. Since the tourism boom of the 1970s, the availability and frequency of inter-island transportation has considerably improved. While the cheapest and most common mode of transport used by Maldivians are dhonis (wooden all-purpose water taxis/fishing boats), tourists and the wealthy have the option of using private seaplanes, helicopters, and speedboats. When travelling on an island, the majority of people use bicycles or motorbikes, although there are a limited number of cars and taxis in use on the more populated and larger islands.
When Malé International Airport on Hulhule Island (2.5 miles from Malé) was opened in 1981, it caused a considerable rise in tourist arrivals. While improved air transportation has benefited the tourism sector, international sea cargo remains very important. Malé's port can intake around 200,000 tons of cargo per year and offers shipping services to and from Europe and a large portion of Asia. With its fleet of 7 cargo boats and 1 container vessel, Maldives National Shipping Ltd. handles about 60 percent of the country's imports.
|Country||Telephones a||Telephones, Mobile/Cellular a||Radio Stations a||Radios a||TV Stations a||Televisions a||Internet Service Providers c||Internet Users c|
|Maldives||21,000 (1999)||1,290||AM 1; FM 1; shortwave 1||35,000 (1999)||1||10,000 (1999)||1||2,000|
|United States||194 M||69.209 M (1998)||AM 4,762; FM 5,542; shortwave 18||575 M||1,500||219 M||7,800||148 M|
|India||27.7 M (October 2000)||2.93 M (2000)||AM 153; FM 91; shortwave 68||116 M||562||63 M||43||4.5 M|
|Sri Lanka||494,509 (1998)||228,604 (1999)||AM 26; FM 45; shortwave 1||3.85 M||21||1.53 M||5||65,000|
|a Data is for 1997 unless otherwise noted.|
|b Data is for 1998 unless otherwise noted.|
|c Data is for 2000 unless otherwise noted.|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online].|
The parastatals the Maldives Electricity Bureau and the State Electricity Company (STELCO) provide power throughout over 95 percent of the Maldives inhabited islands. Tourist resort islands are required by the government to supply independent energy supplies, this is generally via oil-fuelled generators. However, wood accounts for 55 percent of total domestic energy consumption and is mainly used in households for cooking purposes.
Telecommunications facilities are of an excellent quality in Malé and throughout most of the tourist islands. By 2001, the government had successfully extended the availability of telephones throughout the vast majority of inhabited islands. Telecommunications are provided through a joint venture between the government