Young and adventurous travellers are the core demographic poised to lead travel’s recovery in the post-Covid era. They are more receptive to braving new frontiers in search of unique travel experiences, especially when the pandemic took away precious time that could be spent exploring the world. The combination of crowd avoidance and a renewed zest for connecting with nature may give rise to ‘off the beaten path’ vacations.
With travellers progressively favouring unique journeys that deviate from traditional trips, tour operators have a unique opportunity to promote lesser-known locales, which would remediate current concerns associated with crowds.
While the newer generation of travellers tends to seek out online self-service options when planning their travel itinerary, they are still pivoting to tour operators who can provide the exclusivity of unique activities that are digitally disconnected or largely inaccessible to the masses.
However, in turn, these travellers will expect greater authenticity, adventure and cultural immersion. The following are some of the many hidden gems in the Maldives that tour operators and travel agents can integrate into their arsenal of offerings for travellers in search of extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Curating one-of-a-kind activities in an underwater playground
Kandolhu Maldives offer a wide range of immersive underwater activities from manta ray and whale shark spotting to reef hopping and wreck diving. Photo Credit: Visit Maldives
The Maldives is renowned for some of the world’s best snorkelling/diving spots with its vast abundance of marine life that range from whale sharks to manta rays. Diving enthusiasts can explore the beautiful Maaya Thila, an underwater island with an array of fascinating sea creatures, including turtles, frogfish, stingrays, and whitetip reef sharks.
Beyond getting up close and personal with some of the ocean’s most beautiful creatures, another phenomenal diving adventure in the Maldives involves visiting submerged shipwrecks.
The Maldives is home to an abundance of shipwrecks that allow divers to safely explore waterlogged chambers and come face-to-face with blooming ecosystems that have taken over the vessel. Photo Credit: Visit Maldives
Some of the most stunning displays reside on the ocean floor of Lhaviyani Atoll. There are two 40-year-old wrecks in this location, home to a multitude of marine life, including corals, schools of fish and moray eels. Nurse sharks and grey reef sharks can also be spotted in close proximity to these shipwrecks. Travel agents can reach out to resorts or local tour operators equipped with boats, Maldivian divers and their in-depth knowledge of the waters to take visitors on an unforgettable diving experience.
Connecting travellers to the Maldivian heritage
Hideaway Beach Resort gives guests the chance to join local fishermen in catching seafood for the resort and nearby islands. Photo Credit: Visit Maldives
More hotels and resorts are driven by a commitment to sustainability in protecting and maintaining the natural environment they operate in. In the Maldives, that extends to both ocean conservation and preservation of the local culture, which travellers can actively participate in.
As one of the longest-running local owner-operated resorts in the Maldives, Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa takes extreme pride in its Maldivian roots and goes the distance to show it. Guests will be able to experience Maldivian island life in its purest form through the resort’s local-driven excursions that take them out to sea with local fishermen or to the island of Utheemu, the birthplace of a legendary Maldivian hero.
Aside from the standard overwater villas, Amilla Maldives Resort’s variety of residences include the Maldives’ only treehouse villas. Photo Credit: Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences
Travellers in search of unique accommodations have the option of staying in treehouse villas nestled high among the treetops with suspended infinity pools at Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences. Guests staying at this locally owned resort can also immerse in local culture while enjoying the diverse range of activities that include Maldivian craft workshops conducted by skilled craftsmen, traditional spa treatments and cultural festivals showcasing local artists and musicians.
Telling the story of a country’s vibrant history with food
When it comes to traditional food intertwined with a myriad of other cultures, the Maldives’ local delights can bring travellers on a journey in understanding the social landscape as well as the relationships, way of life, and transactions of people within it.
The arrival of traders centuries ago revolutionised the food scene and led to the manifestation of varied, distinctive flavours. Travel agents can up the ante for their clients by offering a Maldivian culinary adventure at accommodations that serve the Keyn — a tray of dishes comprising rice, curries, salads, grilled meat, coconut cream, breadfruit puddings and other traditional side dishes.
The Residence Maldives takes Maldivian cuisine up a notch with private in-villa BBQ experiences. Photo Credit: The Residence Maldives
Every dish all around the world has a story to tell. In this case, the Keyn’s origins can be traced back to a ceremony which was typically held in celebration of religious festivals, the blessing of houses and its people, and the naming of a newborn. Perceptive travellers would be able to infer from the Keyn’s style of plating — a large circular tray with a lid filled with dishes to feed up to a group of 12 people — that the traditional Maldivian way of life hinge on communal dining.
Many hospitality players like Constance Halaveli, Paradise Island Resort, Six Senses Laamu, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, The Residence Maldives and The Westin Maldives Morendo Resort offer an eclectic array of traditional local dishes that can serve as a sensory experience for travellers to gain a deeper insight of the destination’s colourful and intricate history.
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This article is brought to you by Visit Maldives