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Curiously, the Maldives were never supposed to become one of the world’s top luxury destinations. A United Nations report in the late 1960s concluded that the country wasn’t suited for tourism, due to a lack of fresh water on many of its 1,190 islands and the difficulty of creating the infrastructure needed to cater to upscale travelers. Nevertheless, tourism began in the Maldives in 1972 when George Corbin, an Italy-based travel agent specializing in diving holidays, and Ahmed Naseem, a young Maldivian diplomat, opened the country’s first hotel designed for foreign guests. Supported by desalination plants and seaplanes, the island nation now has more than 160 resorts that compete to deliver the most original and pampering guest experiences in the world. Almost all of the most prestigious luxury hotel brands have properties here, with more resorts arriving every year.