Maldivian spatialities: the double border of the resort island

Authors: Elena Dell'Agnese*, Università Di Milano-Bicocca
Topics: Tourism Geography, Cultural Geography, Human Rights
Keywords: Maldives, resort islands, modern slavery, borderization
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Maryland C, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In addressing the issue of enclave tourism, one of the themes of attention is the process of "territorialization" of the enclave, with regard to its isolation from external society and the nature of the border, more or less permeable, that surrounds it. In general, the border of the enclave regulates access to the tourist space, limiting access to paying visitors and to the workforce, who serve inside the enclave but sleep outside it.
In the case of island-based resorts, however, due to the island's isolation and distance from land, workers are generally forced to stay on the island, where all services necessary for the resort's metabolism are also located. These enclave islands thus have a double boundary, the external one limiting access, and the internal one delimiting the area in which the services and work areas are located. This double border is typical, for example, of the Maldivian resort islands, where the isolation and limited spatial dimensions mean that the outer edge of the island is reserved for guests and staff in charge of relations with guests, while the workers and services are concentrated in an internal space inaccessible to tourists. Within this space, whose size is estimated at a few hundred meters of length, the mobility of the workforce employed in the services is limited for all months, and sometimes years, of the duration of their employment contracts. It is perhaps legitimate to ask whether this type of working condition can be configured as a modern form of quasi-slavery.

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