The Maldives is a double chain of 1,195 small islands and atolls in the Indian Ocean, located 250 miles southwest of India's most southern tip. As of 2014, the Maldives is the smallest country in Asia based on population and land mass.
The small islands and atolls, which are ring-shaped coral reefs that surround a lagoon, provide 400 miles of coastline and an abundance of sea life. Approximately 500,000 people visit the pristine, white beaches and coral reefs of the Maldives each year and support its major economic industry, tourism. Fishing and shipping follow tourism as the top three industries of the Maldives.