“One island, one resort”. Il turismo enclave alle Maldive come eterotopia pianificata

  • Elena dell’Agnese Dipartimento di Sociologia e ricerca sociale, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Milano, Italia
Keywords: Maldives, resort island, tourist planning, enclavic tourism


Tourism development in the Maldives, since the 1980s, has been characterized by a specific form of spatial segregation, imposed by planning at the government level. Foreign tourists were allowed to stay exclusively on islands otherwise uninhabited, in special accommodation facilities (resorts). According to the “One Island, One Resort” principle, there was only one resort on each island, covering its entire area. Like other tourist enclaves (Minca 2009), the Maldivian resort islands may fall within the definition of heterotopia offered by Foucault (1984). However, unlike traditional tourism enclaves, which are mostly controlled by foreign interests and capital, the Maldivian resort islands are the result of a specific orientation of local planning and strict spatial control of tourism practices, and so may be defined as “planned heterotopias.” Despite the subsequent reduction in spatial control of tourism practices, and some isolated attempt of networking the resorts with the atolls and the inhabited island, cultural and spatial segregation is still a specific feature of Maldivian tourism.