However, today about 65% of the people work in the services sector and for many
of these people this life is based on tourism. The islands are dotted with resorts
along the beautiful white sand beaches that attract tourists and honeymooners year
round. This industry employs hotel operators, housekeeping staff, cooks, and many
more people. The industry is very attractive to many people due to the higher wages.
Many of these people also have more regularly scheduled working hours, although
that may mean a regular evening or night shift.
As these tourists ignore many of the rules of Islam, particularly in terms of dress
and diet, the culture is slowly changing and the people working in the tourism industry
are becoming more accepting of differences. This industry is truly changing the
culture and way of life, but for most of the country's population there is little
personal interaction with the tourists so little has changed.
Although changes are underway, the greatest impact of the tourist industry for many
people is simply higher wages. Although this money primarily falls into the hands
of a small percentage of the people, the money has helped the entire economy as
wages and prices have increased as the tourist industry has risen.
Despite the economic improvements and the ever changing way of life in the country,
the culture is still rooted in the seas, the lands, and to a lesser degree in Islam.
Islam remains an important part of the people's lives, but in many ways it is
more important in name than it is in practice. However, the seas and lands give
the people food and jobs, both in agriculture as well as in tourism.