Guesthouses are the latest accommodation option to arrive in The Maldives and provide travellers with a more insightful and affordable way to explore the country. Modelled usually on a local home, a typical guesthouse will consist of rooms, nearly always airconditioned with good basic amenities. Maldivians do not live in themselves note, so it's not a homestay experience although it is quite similar. Guesthouses are run and set up by locals so this is a fantastic way that normal residents can benefit from tourism - resorts are only obliged to employ 50% Maldivian Nationals so a good number of locals can miss out on the rewards.
There's a certain irony to the return of the guesthouse to The Maldives because they were the first type of accommodation for travellers when tourism first came to the country in the 1970s. Afraid of what happened with the hippy revolution in Goa, India with the rise of drugs the government shut down all guesthouses in May 1984 and the only way to visit The Maldives as a traveller was to a resort, keeping locals and foreigners separately contained.
With the rise of a more democratic and open form of government, as fragile it is, a change in policy was put through in 2009 to make guesthouses legal again. This meant foreigners could stay on local islands and entrepreneurial Maldivians had a new avenue to make a living. Now there are more than 300 guesthouses in the Maldives across 80 inhabited islands. It has been one of the most successful industries in the country and is set to continue from success to success.