DestinationsThe Maldives presents a plethora of sustainable experiences to appeal to the lifestyle of the growing legion of eco-friendly travellers.

Travellers want green vacations, and agents can rise to the occasion

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“The ability to enjoy travel experiences once again while making a positive difference will be appealing to The 2022 Traveler,” says Paul Hutton, area vice president, head of Southeast Asia, Hilton.
“The ability to enjoy travel experiences once again while making a positive difference will be appealing to The 2022 Traveler,” says Paul Hutton, area vice president, head of Southeast Asia, Hilton. Photo Credit: Conrad Maldives

For the eco-conscious travellers, the Maldives offers an eclectic array of first-hand experiences that will allow them to actively contribute to the environment.

“I personally think coronavirus has helped to push this change in mindset to sustainability,” shares Fairmont Maldives sustainability manager, Sam Dixon. “We’re seeing people from all over the world desperate to travel after being stuck for so long, but with an eco-conscious desire to travel without too much disruption to the planet and the environment, which is where countries like the Maldives can benefit, if more resorts here turn to more sustainable management practices and initiatives.”

Saving the turtles

“Guests will be able to learn from our marine team the life cycle of turtles,” says Sam Dixon, sustainability manager of Fairmont Maldives.
“Guests will be able to learn from our marine team the life cycle of turtles,” says Sam Dixon, sustainability manager of Fairmont Maldives. Photo Credit: Fairmont Maldives/Halafihi Dixon

Fairmont Maldives has launched its Turtle Ranger Program where guests will be able to release baby hatchling turtles, learn how to track and protect turtle nests and collect photo ID data on turtles which will then be submitted to their project partner, the Olive Ridley Project, an organisation that focuses on the rehabilitation of injured turtles, for scientific research.

Meanwhile at Patina Maldives, the resort has also formed an alliance with the Olive Ridley Project and guests will have the opportunity of ‘adopting’ a turtle during their stay.

Corralling action for the coral reefs

At Fairmont Maldives, guests get to personalise a coral frame, and photos of the frame will be sent to them every three months for updates on how their own part of the reef is growing.
At Fairmont Maldives, guests get to personalise a coral frame, and photos of the frame will be sent to them every three months for updates on how their own part of the reef is growing. Photo Credit: Fairmont Maldives

Conrad Maldives, Fairmont Maldives, Patina Maldives and many other island resorts have initiated their own coral propagation programmes where guests can actively get involved with regeneration efforts by planting coral fragments around the coastal areas of the resorts with the guidance of the in-house marine teams.

In addition to actively playing a part in revitalising coral reefs, guests at the Fairmont Maldives can visit the world’s first semi-submerged art gallery in the world. Dubbed ‘The Coralarium’, Fairmont Maldives combines art with coral conservation in the form of an art installation brimming with corals. According to Dixon, “the texture was designed in a way that attract vital biomass to attach, and facilitates the growth and development of coral by creating the perfect substrate for coral larvae to attach and flourish.”

Helping the local community thrive

“By staying in local islands, tourists are directly contributing money straight to local communities, to families in islands that often lack resources,” says Ali Miuraj, managing director of Fulidhoo Dive Maldives.
“By staying in local islands, tourists are directly contributing money straight to local communities, to families in islands that often lack resources,” says Ali Miuraj, managing director of Fulidhoo Dive Maldives. Photo Credit: Fulidhoo Dive

There is no better way to let travellers explore the Maldives by tapping on the native islanders. Ruth Franklin, co-founder and director of Secret Paradise, a local tour operator in the Maldives, shares that “a large element of our tours is the opportunity for cultural immersion.”

Secret Paradise offers travellers a chance to experience the local Maldivian life and culture such as a traditional dining experience in the home of a local family, trying ‘hedhikaa’ (afternoon snacks), learning to cook local recipes, and mending a fishing net. “Travelling with Secret Paradise means as a responsible traveller you support steps to improve the impact of travel on the destination,” Franklin adds.

Additionally, when travel agents seek out local tour operators when curating their clients’ itineraries, they are in turn helping their customers sustain the local communities and give back to the people. Ali Miuraj, managing director of Fulidhoo Dive Maldives shared an anecdote about his local dive captain who prior to joining Fulidhoo Dive, saw his family once a week, more privileged than other locals working in resorts who only see their relatives two times a year. “Now that he works for us, he lives with his family and goes home to them for every meal,” Miuraj says.

Backing up sustainable accommodations

Patina Maldives regularly leads guest and team beach clean-ups both on-resort and on neighbouring local islands; and for every stay, 10kg of marine plastic will be collected, cleaned and upcycled.
Patina Maldives regularly leads guest and team beach clean-ups both on-resort and on neighbouring local islands; and for every stay, 10kg of marine plastic will be collected, cleaned and upcycled. Photo Credit: Patina Maldives

“Resorts in the Maldives have been resilient in catering to the evolving needs of the modern-day traveller, including the rising demand for sustainable travel experiences,” says Paul Hutton, area vice president, head of Southeast Asia, Hilton. “A sound sustainability strategy within the hospitality industry goes further than educating guests on mindful travel.”

Conrad Maldives is furthering the agenda for sustainable tourism by touching on waste management, local community outreach and mindful meals. Besides eliminating all single-use plastics, Conrad Maldives also provides career and learning opportunities for women, local youth and children through programmes that can help them pursue a career in tourism.

Patina Maldives is also equally driven by a commitment to sustainability with its zero-waste kitchens, marine plastic recycling efforts and free dive lessons for children in hopes of nurturing next-generation respect for the environment.

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