Travel Trade Maldives Magazine

Page 1 A Glistening Gem of Soulful Elegance Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa TTM TAKEOVE R :
2 Instagrammable Spots! Top 5 Things to Do! 15 Seconds –Resort Tours Home Away from Home TRAVEL GUIDE • VIRTUAL TOURS • ORIGINAL CONTENT


Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa


Breaking Barriers: The Resilience of Working Mothers in the Hospitality Industry of the Maldives


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Fathimath ShaazleenResort Manager at Naladhu Private Island
Angsana Ihuru Maldives Rebrands as Dhawa Ihuru



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Hanimaadhoo International Airport Expansion Project Inaugurated Anantara Veli Maldives Resort Reopens with Fresh, Wellness-Centric Identity The Island of Serene Wonders, Madifushi Private Island Officially Opens
LUX* South Ari Atoll Donates $20K for Maldives Community Support
6 January 2022 July 2022 March 2022 September 2022 November 2022 May 2022

Zeek Ashraf

Director - Digital Strategy

Ibrahim Areef

Chief Operating Officer

Ahmed Nasir

Chief Design Officer

Zaya Ahmed

Volume – March 2023


Aminath Suha Mohamed

Raaya Abdulla Associate Editor

Fathimath Shaaira Marketing Executive

Rawha Waheed

Iyasha Arif

Hamdhoon W.

Designer Thoo Nazim Designer Mohamed Lihaz


Ma’aan Abdulla

Ali Sageef Ibrahim

Publisher‘s Note

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the March 2023 edition of Travel Trade Maldives, our print publication dedicated to all things travel, trade and tourism in the Maldives.

As part of our TTM Takeover, this time we’re taking a look at Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa, a glistening gem of soulful elegance in Raa Atoll. Our Editor’s Picks explore exciting properties across the Maldives, such as Dhawa Ihuru, Kudadoo Maldives Private Island, Alila Kothaifaru Maldives, Siyam World, and Maagiri Hotel.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day on 8th March, this issue focuses on working mothers in the hospitality industry. Our cover story highlights the various challenges and obstacles, available support systems, as well as best practices for mothers employed in this sector.

For our People section, we had a chat with three women at the top of the game: Maldives’ first local female resort manager, Fathimath Shaazleen; the Director of Sales and Marketing at Sun Siyam Travels, Nina Nizar; as well as the Hotel Manager at Maagiri Hotel, Shirmeen Ibrahim.

As usual, our regular news segments touch on all aspects of the industry, such as aviation, wellness, and sustainability.

Happy reading!

ORCA POD Copyright 2023 Orca Media Group. All rights reserved throughout the world. Facts and Opinions expressed in the articles of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. While the publisher do their utmost to verify information published they do not accept responsibility for its absolute accuracy. Materials in this publication may not be reproduced, whether in part or in whole, without the consent of Orca Media Group. c Published By Website Advertising & Sales Address +960 7984664 Orca Media Group Pvt. Ltd 4th Floor, Ma.Oliveena Chandhanee Magu, Male’ Republic of Maldives Managing Director & CEO Akhmeem Abdul Razzaq Director - Content Creation Mohamed
Managing Editor
Editor Nashama
Marketing Manager
Marketing Executive
– Content Creation
Content Creator
e. t. +960 665 1300 w. | SAiiLagoonMaldives playfulDESTINATION YOUR

MMPRC Roadshows & Fair List 2023


18th - 22nd January


Madrid, Spain


20th - 22nd January


Helsinki, Finland



02nd - 04th February


Mumbai, India


02nd - 05th February


Zurich, Switzerland


09th - 11th February


Greater Noida, India


09th - 12th February


Moscow, Russia



07th - 09th March


Berlin, Germany


17th - 19th March


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


31 March - 1st April





31 March - 1st April




03rd - 05th April


Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa

03rd - 05th April


São Paulo, Brazil


19th- 21st April


Almaty, Kazakhstan


April (TBC)


São Paulo, Brazil



01st - 04th May


Dubai, UAE


04th - 07th May


Seoul, South Korea

South Korea

08th - 10th May (TBC)


Seoul, Busan

24th - 25th May




31st May


Middle East (TBC)


31st May


South East Asia (TBC)


13th - 15th June (TBC)


Munich, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt



22nd - 24th August




31st August


South East Asia (TBC)





Chandigarh, Lucknow, Jaipur Baha



Warsaw (Poland), Prague (Czech Republic), Budapest (Hungary)

Paris, France

Rimini, Italy


Bologna, Italy


OCTOBER Osaka, Japan

B2B B2C Dive Trade
EUROPE 06th - 08th November 20th, 22nd $ 24th November United Kingdom Europe
United Kingdom
TRAVEL EXPERIENCE 16th - 29th October 04th - 07th tSeptember (TBC) 18th - 21st tSeptember (TBC) 03rd - 05th October 11th - 13th October Japan India The Bahamas France Italy
Mar, The
15th October 25th
27th October
ITB ASIA 13th -
Italy Singapore

Market Overview

The Ministry of Tourism in the Maldives has reported that the country has received over 267,507 tourists so far this year, as of 15th February 2023. This represents a 29.7% increase compared to the same period last year which saw 206,181 arrivals, and a significant improvement from the 142,125 arrivals recorded in the same period of 2021.

According to the data, 172,499 tourists arrived in the Maldives in January this year, while an additional 95,008 tourists visited the country 15 days into February. The average daily tourist arrivals stands at 5,815 and the average length of stay in the Maldives is 8.1 days.

Russia has emerged as the leading source market for Maldives tourism, with a market share of 12.8% and 34,128 recorded arrivals. India has risen to the second position with a market share of 11% and 29,513 recorded arrivals, while United Kingdom follows in third place with 9.5% of the market share and 25,396 recorded arrivals.

The highest number of arrivals in a single day was recorded on 11th February, with 8,028 visitors landing in the Maldives. The government aims to reach a target

of 1.8 million tourist arrivals by the end of 2023. Last year, it successfully achieved its then goal of 1.6 million tourists on 20th December 2022.

China, which has recently lifted some of its COVID-19 restrictions, is now the eighth largest tourism market for the Maldives with over 8,000 recorded arrivals. With a diverse range of offerings and a thriving tourism industry, the Maldives continues to lead globally as a popular destination for tropical getaways.

The Maldives is poised for a successful year in tourism, with a significant increase in arrivals compared to the same period last year. With a focus on attracting visitors from around the world, the island nation is well on its way to reaching its target of 1.8 million tourist arrivals by the end of 2023.


Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa

A Glistening Gem of Soulful Elegance


Immersed in lush greenery and surrounded by a 100-hectare private lagoon with natural coral reef, the new Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa is located on an intimate 7-hectare island in the Maldives. This glistening gem is reachable by a 45-minute seaplane journey from Velana International Airport or, alternatively, a 40-minute domestic flight to Ifuru Domestic Airport and a 5-minute speedboat ride.

The island is just 20 minutes by boat from the group’s first property, Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa. Both resorts are members of The Leading Hotels of the World and offer The Emerald Collection’s high-quality, signature Deluxe All-Inclusive service formula, as well as the opportunity for guests to island-hop in the Maldives, experiencing two luxury properties under the same brand.

Emerald Faarufushi encompasses 80 contemporary and independent villas. Championing a minimalistic, sophisticated design which incorporates natural elements of stone and wood, all villas were built with the intention of integrating with the surrounding environment. They are indulgently understated — sleek, modern, and utterly relaxing. Perched either on the white sandy beach or directly on the water, the villas are all carefully curated havens with a breathtaking Indian Ocean view.

From the Aqua Restaurant to the Beach Club Grill, the Carnivorous and Asian restaurants and, a unique overwater Mediterranean gastronomic experience, the property is the ideal place for both couples and families looking for a wide range of international cuisines. Faarufushi is also home to The Emerald Spa with 8 treatment rooms in evocative treehouses, and a Sports Centre equipped with professional Technogym machines and equipment. The resort features tennis and padel courts and ensures a programme of fun yet educational activities for children and teens at the Dolphin Kids Club.


Lose Yourself in Nature at Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa

In a setting of natural elegance, the 80 contemporary and independent villas at Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa are designed to meet the needs of a wide range of guests, from families to couples and groups of friends. Guests can choose from 4 beach villa categories and 2 overwater villa categories.

Beach Villa

These one-bedroom villas overlook the sea and are characterized by their indulgently subtle architecture, which has clean lines, subdued wood tones, and soft pastel accents. They also have open-air bathrooms and their own private furnished terraces.

Beach Villa with Pool

With direct access to the resort’s white sand beach, these villas offer wide-angle panoramic views stretching to the horizon. The interior decor has floorto-ceiling windows, minimalist décor, and soaring ceilings. This one-bedroom villa category also features a big wardrobe, an air-conditioned bathroom, a covered terrace, and an infinity pool that faces the ocean.

Family Beach Villa with Pool

Featuring a private pool, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms, this is the ideal option for families with small children. A private garden with an outdoor shower and a patio that overlooks the water is also available to guests.

Superior Water Villa with Pool

These villas are the pinnacle of luxury and comfort, with a prime location on the jetty’s far end and easy access to the lagoon. In-room dining, a spacious bathroom with a hot tub, a walk-in closet, and a private outdoor terrace with an expansive infinity pool are all features of this category. Additionally, this villa category also features a spacious bedroom with a separate living area that can sleep up to four visitors.

This villa category has two bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, a separate mini-bar room, two outdoor gardens with showers, a private jacuzzi, a large patio with an outdoor dining area, a sundeck, and a private pool directly facing the sea. It is situated in a prime location on the island and is surrounded by Faarufushi’s lush flora.


Due to the elegant infinity pools on the terraces that immediately overlook the sea below, the living experience in these 1-bedroom alternatives extends seamlessly to the outside. The villas are elegant and generously spacious. They are all about the view and have a large closet, an air-conditioned bathroom, a private covered patio, and a lounge-furnished terrace with an infinity pool. These villas are decorated in warm tones and have huge floor-to-ceiling windows.

Presidential Beach Villa Villa with Pool

and experience
Maldives like never
Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa

Indulge in the Finest Flavours at Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa

Inspired by the innovative concept of a Deluxe All-Inclusive formula, Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa allows guests to enjoy à la carte gourmet dining as well as different cuisines, all faithfully reproducing authentic recipes of specific cultures using the finest, purest flavours and ingredients in all its outlets.

High-end international wines from Italy, France, South Africa, Chile, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, and Germany are among a long list of international varietals that are included in the Deluxe-All Inclusive plan, giving guests the option to select the best ones from the selection. Explore exquisite flavours and revel in the unique culinary experiences the resort has to offer.

Aqua Restaurant

The main restaurant Aqua Restaurant is located on the beach overlooking the clear turquoise lagoon. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it provides a generous buffet with cooking stations dedicated to the most renowned international cuisines, including Mediterranean, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Vegetarian, and many other delicacies to suit every taste. Pastries and baked goods are freshly handmade at the resort and the live-cooking stations also feature fresh fish purchased daily from local fishermen and the finest cuts of imported meat.

Beach Club Grill

The Beach Club Grill Restaurant serves lunch right on the beach while offering a breathtaking view of the ocean. A wide variety of fresh fish, seafood, meat, and vegetables are served, all cooked on a stone grill to bring out the flavours of each dish. There is also a pizza and pasta station available.

Carnivourous Restaurant

Carnivorous Restaurant is only open for dinner and has an amazing view of the Indian Ocean. The restaurant offers the same concept as a Churrascaria, a Brazilianstyle steakhouse with premium meats and is inspired by South American cuisine.

Le Asiatique and Teppanyaki Grill, located on the second floor of Beach Club Grill, is a true zen oasis where guests can savour the best oriental cuisine in a classy, laidback setting. The restaurant, which is only open for dinner, features a teppanyaki grill for live cooking demonstrations in addition to an à la carte menu that is faithful to Asian culinary traditions and recipes.

The Mediterraneo Overwater Restaurant, which is situated directly on the Faarufushi lagoon, offers some of the best Mediterranean dishes in the Maldives. This is the perfect setting for romantic sunset dinners offering a multisensorial journey where taste and aesthetics merge to create something to behold.

Le Asiatique and Teppanyaki Grill Mediterraneo

Sunset Pool & Bar

Sunset Pool and Bar, located on the main beach, is the ideal place to enjoy a cocktail in the company of the people you love the most. Here, chill-out music and endless ocean views will have you melting into your vacation in no time.

Eclipse Bar

Eclipse Bar welcomes free spirits with sophisticated cocktails and hand-picked wines that taste like summer. Located on the jetty, which is the furthest point of the Mediterraneo Restaurant, the bar provides a unique setting to take in picture-perfect Maldivian sunsets over the crystal-clear lagoon.

Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa

Top Experiences at Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa

Beyond its picturesque scenery, Faarufushi Island is a true hub of activity and wellness, offering a wealth of experiences centred around leisure, recreation, and wellbeing. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or something in between, this island paradise promises an unforgettable experience for all.

Treat Yourself at The Emerald Spa

The Emerald Spa, located in the heart of the island, is considered an oasis of the soul. With its contemporary architecture blending into the natural surroundings, the spa offers world-class treatments from Thai and Balinese cultures. Guests have access to 8 airconditioned tree huts, a steam room, a relaxation area with plunge pools, a yoga pavilion, and manicure and pedicure stations. Products from the British brand Elemis are used in all treatments. While the villas and restaurants have sea views, the spa is hidden away in the middle of the island, making the most of the tropical vegetation.

There are eight wooden treatment huts shaped like overturned boats, some take place up in the trees giving you the feeling you’re nesting with the birds. The relaxation areas here allow you to sink into squishy daybeds, along with a yoga pavilion, a serene plunge pool and a steam room. Therapists mostly come from Bali so naturally, the Balinese massages here are sublime – they’ll hop onto the table and masterfully ease those long-haul achy muscles. Sound healing and chakra balancing treatments are also on offer here, as well as a selection of skin-brightening Elemis facials.

Test Your Skills at the Water Sports Centre

The resort offers a veritable aquatic and athletic playground with its state-of-the-art water sports centre. Perched on a picturesque stretch of white sandy beach, guests are invited to test their skills on a variety of gear, from the nimble Hobie Cat catamaran to kayaks and windsurfing boards. Under the expert guidance of the water sports team, adventurers can explore the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean and challenge themselves in new and exciting ways.

For those seeking even more thrill, the resort also offers a range of motorized water sports such as jet-skiing and parasailing at an additional cost. Emerald Faarufushi is also home to a world-class 5-star diving centre, conveniently located near the arrival jetty, where guests can immerse themselves in the rich marine life of the Indian Ocean. With an array of underwater activities and courses on offer, the diving centre provides a unique window into the vibrant underwater world.


For fitness enthusiasts and sports enthusiasts alike, Emerald Faarufushi’s gym and sports centre is a true haven. Equipped with cutting-edge Technogym equipment and staffed by knowledgeable personal trainers, this centre offers a wealth of opportunities to stay active and challenge oneself. Whether you prefer to sweat it out on the latest cardio machines or hone your skills with free weights, this sports centre promises to deliver.

Beyond the walls of the gym, the resort also boasts tennis and paddle tennis courts, offering yet another chance to showcase your skills and enjoy a friendly game. Paddle tennis, also known as “padel,” is a fastpaced, hybrid sport that combines elements of tennis and squash and is played on a smaller court with lower nets. Whether you’re a seasoned player or just looking to try something new, the resort’s paddle tennis court is the perfect place to do so.

The Dolphin Kids Club is a vibrant hub of activity, offering an array of fun-filled experiences for families with children aged 3-12. The daily program is thoughtfully crafted, with a range of activities that are both entertaining and educational, from coconut painting and bracelet making to high-tech challenges on PlayStation and exciting scavenger hunts.

For aspiring young chefs, the Dolphin Kids Club also offers custom cooking classes, giving kids a chance to learn the secrets of the kitchen and whip up their delicious creations. Kids can also enjoy a special menu created just for them, with delectable dishes served up daily in a private restaurant. With a focus on creativity, adventure and education, the Dolphin Kids Club promises to provide a truly unforgettable experience for kids of all ages.

Sweat it Out at the Gym & Sports Centre Check Out the Dolphin Kids Club Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa
VILU BUSINESS Lounge NOOVILU SEAPLANE TERMINAL Enhance y r vacati experience by staying at the epit e of serene luxury @VelanaAirport C M Y CM MY CY CMY K


Breaking Barriers: The Resilience of Working Mothers in the Hospitality Industry of the Maldives

The Maldives is a popular tourist destination known for its pristine beaches, stunning landscapes, and luxurious resorts. However, behind the scenes, a hardworking team of professionals in the hospitality industry is what keeps the wheels turning. A substantial proportion of the workforce consists of women, many of whom belong to minority groups, particularly local women. Juggling work and family life is a challenge for anyone, but working mothers in the hospitality industry face a unique set of difficulties.

Here, we delve into the daily lives of working mothers with the aim to shed light on the challenges and support systems available in the industry and showcase their resilience and strength.

The Daily Grind: A Look at the Challenges

Women face a multitude of challenges in their daily lives. Long hours and irregular schedules, which are common in the industry, often leave little time for family and personal pursuits. Balancing work and family responsibilities can be especially challenging, as many people struggle to find the time and energy to care for their children and perform household duties. The demanding nature of the work and the lack of flexibility in scheduling can also make it challenging for mothers to be present for their children.

In addition to these challenges, they may face discrimination, physical demands, and a lack of benefits and opportunities for advancement. Jobs in the industry can be physically demanding, making it tough for women who are also caring for young children. Many jobs may not offer benefits such as paid time off, healthcare, or flexible work arrangements, making it challenging for women to take care of their families. Moreover, discrimination and stereotypes based on gender and caregiving responsibilities can impact their opportunities for advancement and recognition at work, making it difficult to achieve their goals. Pay disparities and wage gaps are also major concerns, making it difficult to support families financially. These challenges underscore the need for greater support and resources for parents in the hospitality industry.

Supporting Mothers: A Spotlight on the Support Systems

Despite these challenges, women in the hospitality industry are not without support. Employee benefits and programs, such as flexible schedules and paid maternity leave, are becoming increasingly common in the industry. Support from colleagues and supervisors, in the form of encouragement and understanding, is also crucial. Community initiatives and organizations, such as parent support groups and mentorship programs, are important sources of support. Finally, government policies and regulations, such as equal pay laws and parental leave policies, are crucial in creating a supportive environment for women in the workplace.

To mitigate the challenges, a few solutions can be implemented by the employers themselves. Firstly, hotels can offer more flexible scheduling options, such as telecommuting and job-sharing, to allow women to balance their work and family life. Additionally, hotels can offer on-site childcare or partner with local day-care centres to provide affordable and accessible childcare options. To address the limited career advancement opportunities, hotels can implement mentorship programs and provide training and development opportunities to aid advance in their careers.


Overcoming Adversity: Best Practices for Working Mothers

In spite of the obstacles they face, women are resilient and determined to succeed. Time management and prioritization are key to overcoming adversity and balancing work and family life. Seeking support and networking with others in similar circumstances is another important step. Developing a positive worklife balance is crucial, as it allows them to find joy and fulfilment in both their professional and personal lives. Finally, investing in personal and professional development, through continuing education and skillbuilding opportunities, is crucial for anyone looking to advance their careers.

We hope that this will inspire and empower women and mothers in the hospitality industry of the Maldives. By implementing flexible scheduling options, accessible and affordable childcare, and career advancement opportunities, these difficulties can be diminished. By providing the necessary support, the Maldives’ hospitality industry can not only retain talent but also help promote gender equality in the workplace.


Cora Cora Maldives

Scan and experience

Maldives like never before


Fathimath Shaazleen is one of the Maldives’ brightest stars, a pioneer in its luxury-defining hospitality industry with over two decades of experience. She currently leads the operations of the ultra-luxe Naladhu Private Island, named Conde Nast Traveler’s top Indian Ocean resort for several years. As the Maldives’ first local female resort manager, Shaazleen’s incredible story is like no other. Our team had a chat with her to find out more.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started your career.

My interest in joining the hotel industry came while I was studying for my A‘Levels. After reading a magazine article about a Maldives resort experience, I started looking for more information on this industry. It wasn’t an easy task then. Still, it got me thinking about hospitality. My dad worked in a resort for a short time, so I had a bit of an idea, but prior to hotel school, I had never visited a resort. A couple of weeks later, I saw an advert in the local newspaper, that the hotel school was starting their very first diploma course. I rang my dad and told him that

Fathimath Shaazleen Resort Manager at Naladhu Private Island

I wanted to join. He, in his most sensible way, asked me to think over it over the weekend. In a couple of days, we talked about it again and he supported me, and I got enrolled. I completed the course and passed with distinction.

This was 22 years ago. Fresh with a diploma in hospitality management, I ventured into this industry. I was one of the first two girls employed by the resort. Like many entering the industry, I was curious about resort life. Unsure of what to expect, but very sure that this was what I wanted to do. I started as a telephone operator/receptionist at Veligandu Island. During the earlier days of my career, I got the opportunity to work in different departments, including housekeeping and food and beverage service too. From there on my path went more towards the front-ofthe-house operations. These early days helped to shape my foundation.

Joining Soneva Fushi was a dream come true. I worked there as a butler supervisor. From there, I moved to Huvafen Fushi as a Front Office Manager. My next move took me to Thailand as a Rooms Division Manager at Soneva Kiri. Working outside the Maldives in a different culture was a huge learning experience. I returned after 2 years and joined the preopening team at Dusit Thani Maldives. A pre-opening is a great way to understand the overall operations of a resort and I really enjoyed that. A similar opportunity came from Velaa Private Island, and I jumped at it.

I got my first resort manager position at Niyama Private Island. 2 years into the role, we became parents, and I took a year off to be with my son. This career break was as rewarding as, if not more than any job I had. In 2017, my quest to re-enter the industry began. This time, it wasn’t only me. Several interviews later, I landed a dream job. I was the Resort Manager at one of the most iconic resorts in the Maldives, Soneva Jani, with our little one tagging along.

Today, I work as Resort Manager at Naladhu Private Island.

What is your secret to having achieved the prestigious title of the ‘First Local Female Resort Manager’ in the Maldives?

It is often said that on the path to success, there are no shortcuts. If you want it you must work for it. From the very beginning, it was my dream to reach the top. In 2014 I got my first Resort Manager role. It was a moment of jubilation, and a major milestone for me. At the same time, I think it was a moment of celebration for all of us women working in the industry as well.

After a career break, I returned to work in 2017. I am humbled by having the opportunity to continue with my passion, even after starting a family and now raising a toddler. And trust me, I have not done this alone. Hard work, dedication, passion & perseverance, long hours at times — all of these came from me. Whilst the love, affection, trust, respect, belonging & security — the real pillars of my success — came from my family, my loved ones, my peers, my teams, and the many bosses I had the opportunity to work for.

I had the opportunity to work with people who guided, mentored, and taught me the many skills that shaped my success and helped me to be where I am today. I have a husband who loves me unconditionally, who stood by me with every decision I took. I have an extremely supportive extended family from both sides, who will happily play the role of a guardian angel for our son on occasions when required. I had childcare support in the form of live-in nannies, who had been with our son and took care of him as their own.

In short, there are no secrets. Work hard for what you want. Create an atmosphere around you that will support your growth. Learn and obtain the different knowledge and skills that you will need to succeed. Personal development is an integral part of success. Equally important is to have support from your family and loved ones, especially for us women.

I am extremely proud of what I have achieved so far in my career. I am pleased to see more women are entering the industry than before. At the same time, there is also this lingering question in my mind: why are there not many of us? I look forward to a day to see more women moving up their careers in this industry.

What do you do differently at Naladhu Private Island compared to other properties when it comes to its people?

Naladhu is a very special place. With only 20 houses, we are known for our private island feel and personalized service. Having a small team, I get the chance to interact with them throughout the day, and at times at a very basic level. I work very closely with the team. I think having the opportunity to personally influence the guest experience of each guest through our team is something I enjoy.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for women in the industry, especially working mothers, and how can these issues be tackled?

As a woman, naturally we have a beautiful responsibility of creating life. It is not an expectation, but for many of us, it is a personal choice. There will come a time in a working woman’s life when you are at crossroads, and you are required to make a conscious choice. To continue with your passion, or venture into this beautiful phase of your life called motherhood. For those of us who are working in the tourism industry, this is an even harder choice. Whilst others can continue to work after maternity leave and be with their children every day, unfortunately, most of the women working in this industry do not have this opportunity.

What is needed is improved facilities in the resorts. Facilities built with consideration. Spaces that ensure safety and security for our women. Open opportunities for couples to work in the same resort, allowing the woman to continue even after marriage. Grant longer maternity leave, to encourage those who want to return even after starting a family.

Our tourism is based on a unique concept. The privacy and the exclusivity offered in these islands are one of the unique selling points of the Maldives. However, this seclusion from the community does not give much of an opportunity for many of us to see and experience resort life. This lack of exposure strengthens the common belief that resorts are immoral, where alcohol and nudity are the norms. Parents are hesitant to send their daughters due to fear of exposure to these behaviours, often described as ‘western’. There is also still a social stigma, as certain jobs are looked down upon and are often considered low-category jobs. Perhaps this came from the mismanagement during the early days of tourism. Sadly, even today it is common to be stigmatized.

There is a need for greater awareness of opportunities available in the industry, targeting young people and their parents. We must be willing to take the first step, in accepting the simple fact that it is not gender which defines the ability to perform a job. It is the willingness and hunger for learning. It is not a position or a place of work that demands respect. It is the sincerity, honesty, and integrity you have in what you do, that demands respect.

What message would you like to give to young local females who want to join and succeed in this industry?

Be passionate about what you do, and take up this industry as a career, not just a job. Work hard and push yourself to your best ability. Don’t just look for a job with the highest paycheck. Look for opportunities where you can learn and grow. Be open to new ideas and innovation. Be ready to accept critical feedback, as such moments will guide you to success. When you feel stuck, reach out and seek advice. Be curious to know and learn more, ask questions and be involved. Invest in yourself and do not stop learning.


Nina Nizar

Director of Sales & Marketing at Sun Siyam Travels

Nina Nizar is the Director of Sales & Marketing at Sun Siyam Travels, one of the first travel companies in the Maldives. Our team had a chat with Nina to find out more about her illustrious career, how she maintains a worklife balance, and the ways in which we can encourage greater participation of women in this industry.

Could you tell us a bit about your career thus far?

My career thus far has been quite a long ride for me. I started my career in tourism at a very young age, way back in 1998 at Bandos island Resort as a Receptionist. I have done various jobs at the front of the house, which I must say has added greatly not only to my experience, but also in gaining a holistic understanding of the entire operation of a resort. This paved the way for me to step to greater heights within the field and thus commenced my career in the sales sphere in 2007, here at Sun Siyam Travels, which was branded Sun Travels & Tours at the time.

What drew you to hospitality? Did you face any challenges initially?

My greatest inspiration was my father, who was an engineer and had worked in many resorts as engineer as well as chief engineer, later in his career. My aunt Shardha and my elder sister Nazneen were also great influencers in my heading on my chosen path in this field. I must admit it was extremely challenging to work at a resort those days, being a woman. It was out of the norm and considered taboo for women to work in resorts or hotels. Hence, there weren’t many women who were open to the idea of working in tourism. While things have changed now and there is more acceptance for women in this industry, there is still a bit of a negative perception, which I believe we have to work hard towards wiping away, if not for the better of women, then for the betterment of the industry. Women certainly do have much to offer.

As a working mother, how do you maintain a work-life balance?

It’s is certainly not easy keep a balance in both, though we do strive to do so, to be fair to both my company and my family. I used to work long hours before becoming a mother, but I have been forced to place certain restrictions on myself for the benefit of my little daughter. While I give my all during my working hours, my eve belongs to my family. It’s a different kind of joy for me to spend that precious time with my daughter, helping with her homework, feeding her dinner and putting her to bed. The relationship we build through these little actions with our children do play a large part in their grown lives, of which too I look forward fervently to being a part of.

What do you consider to be your greatest personal achievement?

Off the cuff, I would say my greatest achievement is my daughter. But since it’s my career that is the topic, I would say the many people, especially girls, who I have inspired to achieve more and pursue careers in tourism are my greatest pride. As I mentioned, while the path has been difficult, my life now in a senior role might seem quite glamorous to many youngsters, what with the incessant meetings and constant travel involved. There are many of them who do approach me with questions on how they might also follow a path in my industry and guiding them has been one of my personal little joys in life. Is not seeing them prosper, an achievement worth cherishing?

In your opinion, what can we do to encourage higher participation of women in this field?

I believe it’s all about educating people and conducting more informative sessions for the younger kids at schools. At the same time the parents should be educated and their mindsets changed to accept that this great industry of our nation is not just for men, but equally the realm of strong women. I would also like to suggest that we allow the younger ones to get a feel for the industry in their early years. Maybe each resort could offer around 10 internships of 10 days duration for teenagers during their summer holidays, to stay on and experience firsthand, each department of a resort. This I am sure will leave a lasting impression on their young minds and plant a seed of tourism to germinate for their older years.

Do you have any words of advice for those who want to succeed in hospitality?

I will suggest three things. Hard work, hard work and hard work, with a touch of dedication and discipline. Hard work and dedication are the keys to succeed in any industry. You have to also be passionate about your work. Though my road has been long and rutty, I have enjoyed every bit of my journey. I have strived to prove my worth at every turn and I must say, it makes the achievement even sweeter.


Shirmeen Ibrahim

Hotel Manager at Maagiri Hotel

Shirmeen Ibrahim is the Hotel Manager at Maagiri Hotel, a leading city hotel located conveniently in the heart of Male’. Our team had a chat with Shirmeen to find out more about her initial foray into hospitality, the challenges she’s faced along the way, and her outlook on life as a successful working mother.

Could you tell us a bit about your career thus far?

I started my career at Food Safety Asia back in 2005 as a Health and Safety Consultant and Trainer, during the start of the company. I liked my work, especially the many journeys back and forth to various resort islands with beautiful environments and concepts, helmed by different teams. The local staff members were from varying atolls, so it was an experience in itself to interact with the staff as well as the guests from all over the world with distinct spoken languages, from all walks of life.

I got inspired with a creative impulse of optimism to develop a viable business and be independent rather than interdependent, which paved the way to open and manage a guest house as well as a restaurant. At the beginning of 2017, I joined the Maagiri project unhesitatingly when I got the opportunity, during the preopening stage as well as after the opening as Operations Manager. Due to the assumed results, at present, my title is Hotel Manager.

What drew you to hospitality? Did you face any challenges initially?

I enjoy meeting people from various cultures and mannerisms, who are willing to impart different stories of life and work related to their particular designation. With its endless opportunities, where better can one meet and greet other than in the hospitality industry?

As a working mother, how do you maintain a work-life balance?

There is never an easy way to maintain a balance for a working mother. One has to be very focused and pay particular attention, as all chores of work and life are priorities. Thus, we have to shuffle and commute, and just do what one has got to do at the relevant time and situation. However, if one knows how to preplan the day ahead meticulously, barring an unexpected incidence, one can achieve a fulfilling day. I am able to maintain open communication with my employer, and am therefore blessed to have the flexibility to attend to my family’s needs too.

What do you consider to be your greatest personal achievement?

Considering personal achievements, during my time at Food Safety Asia I trained many staff members from various resorts with remarkable and outstanding results, which is a noteworthy achievement. Moreover, the input and effort from my team members at Maagiri Hotel have been recognized and awarded in the industry within a few years of operation. Now, Maagiri is among the best hotels, if not the best, and that is a big source of pride.

In your opinion, what can we do to encourage higher participation of women in this field?

In this prevailing time and age, when women are in the line to become prime ministers, presidents and chancellors, let alone women who are travelling to the moon as astronauts, remember there is no field that women cannot compete Whether it’s hospitality, education, caring and humanity, business, or any hive of industry and profession, there’s simply nothing women cannot do. And remarkably, we are better at multitasking too.

Do you have any words of advice for those who want to succeed in hospitality?

Living as your authentic self will help you find more meaning and live a fuller life. If you refuse to follow your dreams in fear of what others may think, you are far more likely to regret what they did not do than what they did. Visualize your future, acknowledge your past, use your inner support system and manage your time. It is essential to remember that it is all about you and push yourself to the end even if you encounter failures to reach your goal without an ultimatum. Never give up on your dreams — put your best foot forward, be courageous and be worthy of yourself.


New Appointments

VIJAY KUMAR General Manager at The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort BAHAUDDEEN Resort Manager at Hurawalhi Island Resort ALEXANDER LOPEZ Resort Manager at W Maldives JORGE AMARO General Manager at Innahura Maldives Resort DEEPAK BOONEADY Chief Executive Officer at Sun Siyam Resorts ALI NAVAZ General Manager at Komandoo Resort JOHN ROGERS General Manager at LUX* South Ari Atoll CORINNA LUEBBE General Manager at Taj Maldives ALI FAROOQ Resort Manager at Kurumba Maldives
MOHAMED FAREEN Director of Rooms at COMO Maalifushi GILBERT STEINER Executive Assistant Manager at Diamonds Athuruga ISHAM ISMAIL Director of Human Resources at Kurumba Maldives FALAAZ ISMAIL Assistant Vice President, Sales at THE OZEN COLLECTION MICHAEL PARKER General Manager at Anantara Veli, Anantara Dhigu and Naladhu Private Island AHMED RASHEED IBRAHIM Assistant Director at Rooms of COMO Maalifushi ELENA BORITSKAIA Sales Manager for Russia and CIS Market at Villa Resorts ABDULLA WISAM Director of Rooms at COMO Cocoa Island NEUS SEGURA Marine Biologist at Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi

Angsana Ihuru Maldives Rebrands as Dhawa Ihuru

An idyllic island retreat set on North Malé Atoll with a wealth of world-class dives on offer, Dhawa Ihuru is welcoming sun-seekers and marine life enthusiasts to explore its new dining and leisure offerings as the property unveils new facilities following a rebrand from Angsana Ihuru.

Dhawa, a hospitality brand from the Banyan Tree Group, is a contemporary, casual, and comfortable limited-service hotel where technology and nature come together to offer a sense of discovery to a new generation of independent, design-savvy travellers. The first resort for the Dhawa brand in the Maldives, Dhawa Ihuru is set amid azure waters with signature vibrant interiors and a collection of relaxed dining venues designed to promote natural immersion and connectivity through local flavours in stunning settings.

The perfect island playground in the North Malé Atoll, Dhawa Ihuru can be experienced through a variety of all-inclusive packages that cater to different types of holidaymakers, from gourmet travellers and wellness aficionados to marine adventurers and young families. Located only a 20-minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport, the dive-centric retreat offers environmentally-conscious diving in the crystalline waters of the house reef and world-class snorkelling amid the plunging walls and sweeping channels of the North Malé Atoll.

Lying at 26-metres deep, Dhawa Ihuru’s signature dive spot – the Rannamaari Wreck – offers a wide variety of species to discover in an iconic setting just a few metres off the house reef.

Relaxed Comforts

With 45 nature-integrated villas to hide away in and plenty of communal areas, guests at Dhawa Ihuru can be as private or as social as they wish, with days spent soaking up Ihuru’s natural wonders, above the water and under the sea.

The 57-square-metre Beachfront Villas are modern and bright, with ample outdoor living spaces, a king-size bed with an option to add up to two additional sofa beds, a separate dining room, direct access to the beach and close proximity to the house reef. Intimate and secluded,

each villa comes with its own swing chair or an islandstyle breezy sitting on the veranda with sweeping views of the island’s shoreline.

Set mere metres away from the beach and the house reef, Beachfront Jet Pool Villas offer 68 square metres of indoor/outdoor space including a roomy veranda with a dining area designed for leisurely family meals, and the ultimate island amenity – an outdoor shower with a jet pool cocooned in greenery and promising moments of absolute bliss. The Beachfront Jet Pool Villa’s spacious sleeping area comes with a kingsize bed and can accommodate up to two additional sofa beds.

The 68-square-metre Beachfront Rainmist Villas, meanwhile, boast a private rainmist lounge – a revitalising water-centric experience where guests can rediscover the elusive state of peace amid swaying palm trees and ocean breeze while relaxing in a hammock in full privacy to the soothing sounds of cascading water.


A Kaleidoscope of Flavours

With all-inclusive packages taking care of the daily meal planning, guests at Dhawa Ihuru can focus on each other and on island discovery. Airy and bright, the restaurants are oriented to capitalise on breathtaking sunset panoramas, while the new Twin Island dinearound concept offers travellers a chance to explore premium dining at sister resort Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru.

A new social hub, the Nest, Dhawa’s signature 24/7 concept, guests can grab a refreshing drink or stay and connect with other holidaymakers over delicious refreshments any time of day or night. Over at The Velaavani Bar, stunning views, tropical atmosphere and cheerful service come together to create a chic yet relaxed dining experience centred on local bites and cocktails. An ideal venue to while away an afternoon or enjoy a digestive, Velaavani Bar also serves as a checkin area to ease guests into a tropical way of life where time stretches out and connection with nature is the default setting.

The Riveli Restaurant, the resort’s all-day-dining venue, serves elevated fare with breathtaking beachfront views. From breakfast to dinner, there are delicious buffet and a la carte options to explore, with plenty of local flavours included. Nectar, a unique concept offering bento box-style dining, allows guests to dine on authentic Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Maldivian and Western flavours in any location on the island, from villa to the beach.

Island Discovery

In line with the brand’s “active wellbeing” ethos, Dhawa Ihuru has put together a programme of fun educational activities to help families engage with the island while keeping everyone energised. At the Kids’ Club, activities range from sandcastle building, T-shirt painting and treasure hunts to beach games and marine life exploration.

Sea lovers will be in heaven at the water sports centre. Windsurfing, wakeboarding, water skiing and canoeing are complemented by private sailing excursions with Kahan’bu Catamaran that takes guests over the house reef to snorkel among some of the most beautiful reefs in the Maldives as well as dining on uninhabited islands. With 30 diving spots at the house reef and a PADI 5-star Gold Dive Centre on site, guests will never run out of new dives to discover and new diving skills to learn.

For travellers who want to enjoy a bit of downtime at the end of the long day in the sun, 8lements spa offers authentic and impactful therapies and practices, including indulgent massages and cooling and restoring body wraps. Over at Activa, the resort’s fully equipped 24-hour fitness centre and a yoga room with stunning views of the Indian Ocean, wellness-minded guests will find everything one may need to stay in shape during a holiday in paradise.

The resort also offers a multi-purpose room for meetings and team building activities – a vibrant 36-sqm venue that immerses delegates in a local experience and connects them with the outside during the indoor sessions.


A Day in Life at Kudadoo

Maldives Private Island – Sustainability Meets Luxury

Located in the pristine waters of the Maldives, Kudadoo Maldives Private Island offers an unparalleled luxury experience that caters to the needs of even the most discerning travellers.

The private island has been designed to provide guests with an escape from the stresses of everyday life and features a range of delightful culinary creations, unlimited leisure activities, and wellness offerings to help guests seize their days on this petite tropical paradise. At Kudadoo, each guest is assigned a personal butler who is dedicated to helping them curate the perfect holiday itinerary. Whether you want to indulge in a massage at the on-site spa, participate in a variety of water sports and activities, or simply relax on the pristine beaches, your butler will be there to assist you in making the most of your time on the island.

At Kudadoo Maldives Private Island, guests can begin their day with a luxurious floating breakfast in their private pool, complete with breathtaking views of the crystal-clear ocean. For an adventure like no other, guests can grab their snorkelling or diving gear and explore the underwater world, coming face to face with turtles, graceful rays, and even sharks while admiring the colourful array of reef fish. After an exciting morning, guests can stop off at a secluded sandbank for a gourmet picnic and some Instagram-worthy photos. In the afternoon, guests can take jet skis out to explore the lagoons and potentially even encounter a pod of dolphins. To cap off a magnificent day, guests can enjoy champagne at sunset and dinner in their own jungle hideaway before returning to their residences under the starry night sky.

In addition to these experiences, Kudadoo also offers a private, two-hour “Dream Island” sandbank picnic, diving excursions, personal training sessions with award-winning bodybuilders and fitness experts, snorkelling with manta rays, and dolphin sunset safaris. While many of these experiences are included in the resort’s all-inclusive package, there are a few chargeable experiences available as well, such as access to the owner’s private wine selection featuring Pétrus and Dom Perignon. For an extra special treat,

guests can also visit the five-star Hurawalhi resort, a short speedboat ride away, to dine at the world’s largest underwater restaurant, 5.8 Undersea.

After the action-packed days, guests can look forward to relaxing with a spa treatment session immersed in the Lonu Cave of Himalayan Salts before settling down with a good book and sipping delicious cocktails. The Lonu Cave is lined with mineral-rich Himalayan salt that’s more than 1,000 years old and renowned for its healing qualities. Spending time in the salt chamber, breathing in the world’s most healing salt air is the natural way to clear your sinuses, and your lungs, and ease muscles, before surrendering to the Himalayan salt stone therapy, ensuring you feel completely cleansed and rested.

At the Sulha Spa guests will a curated treatments from around the world, and the finest therapists, each chosen for their outstanding skills as well as their genuine, caring natures and uncanny intuition.


Maagiri Hotel’s PEAK Rooftop Restaurant Unveils Tantalizing New Menu

As the new year unfolds, Maagiri Hotel has unveiled its latest addition to PEAK Rooftop Restaurant, which is a new menu that promises to delight diners with a diverse range of authentic Indian, Maldivian and international cuisines.

The new menu at PEAK Rooftop Restaurant offers a wide variety of dishes, including healthy options and vegetarian options, as well as seafood delicacies and exciting desserts that are sure to tantalize the taste buds and create an unforgettable gastronomical experience. The restaurant is open daily from 4 pm to 12 am and is located on the rooftop of the hotel, offering panoramic views of the north-eastern waterfront of Malé.

The lounge atmosphere at Peak lends an air of exclusivity, complemented by unpretentious service. The menu, crafted with passion and served in a stylish atmosphere, offers a tantalizing selection of dishes. Whether you’re

looking for a social lunch or an enamouring escape in the evening twilight, Peak is the perfect destination. The restaurant is a great spot for winding down with a masterfully crafted mocktail, enjoying the hues of the sunset with a sharing platter or a gourmet burger.

Maagiri Hotel, located in one of the premier locations in Male’, offers four categories of rooms, each designed with elegant interiors, luxurious comforts, and panoramic views of the Maldivian seas. To enhance the guests’ experience, the hotel provides a wide range of amenities including a coffee shop, restaurant and lounge, semi-fine dining, meeting rooms, and a fully equipped rooftop gym. Maagiri Hotel is not only suitable for business and leisure travellers, but also for couples and families. The hotel provides various activities such as diving, fishing, snorkelling, and more for ocean enthusiasts.


Stay at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives and Experience the Richness of Raa Atoll

The beautiful Raa Atoll is a hidden gem in the Maldives, an unspoiled and quiet atoll that offers a large variety of marine life with something awe-inspiring for everyone. Here, beginner divers can explore incredible reef dives, discovering healthy coral, stingrays, reef sharks and hawksbill turtles. More experienced divers can enjoy some of the most incredible thila dives the Maldives has to offer. The thilas (underwater pinnacles) are extremely healthy, not affected by any bleaching events, and are surrounded by large schools of reef and pelagic fish as well as lots of grey reef sharks that can be seen swimming in the surrounding current.

All these wonders and more can be experienced on holiday at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives, shares General Manager Thomas Weber. “Guided by our in-house certified experts, Eurodivers, we invite you to discover the richness of the Raa Atoll,” he says. “With a few inhabited islands, it offers a peaceful and natural underwater experience with epic bucket list adventures to tick off in 2023.”

Diving Havens

Labyrinth: Labyrinth is one of the most incredible dive sites in the Maldives, a small thila from 12 m to 30 m deep. From incredible topography with swim throughs and overhangs to the most abundant life surrounding the entire thila, Labyrinth leaves every diver in awe. An extremely healthy reef lies on the top of the thila, while down below you will find rays, peacock mantis shrimp, octopus and some big lobsters. But that’s not all, with a little bit of current you can relax on shark corner and watch the grey reefs swimming past.

Sola Corner: This site is a busy manta cleaning station during the months of November to April. At other times of the year, it offers sightings of huge eagle rays, turtles and reef sharks as well as the spectacular experience of being surrounded by huge schools of reef and pelagic fish everywhere you look.


Snorkelling Experiences

The Raa Atoll is home to large populations of the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, the endangered green turtle, and manta rays.

Hawksbill Turtles: A group trip is offered twice a week to a beautiful reef where the hawksbill turtles congregate to feed, a truly special occurrence to witness due to the rapid decline of the species’ population.

Green Turtles: Green turtles can grow to 120 cm in length and weigh around 150 kg, much larger than any other species of hard-shelled sea turtle. Join us on a journey by speedboat to an incredibly healthy reef one hour away from the resort where these turtles gather to feed. Along the way, you may also get the chance to see some of the friendly Raa dolphins.

Manta Rays: Although manta rays can be found closer to Alila Kothaifaru Maldives from November to March, travelling by speedboat from the resort offers the unforgettable experience of snorkelling with these large, intelligent and gentle creatures at any time of the year.

Dolphin Cruise: The incredible Raa Atoll is inhabited by huge pods of spinner dolphins and smaller pods of bottlenose dolphins. Head out on a traditional dhoni boat at sunset for a two-hour cruise in search of these ocean beauties. The spinner dolphins are playful and often jump and spin out of the water in front of the boat, whereas bottlenose dolphins are much larger and hang around the side of the boat out of curiosity.

Journey to Vaadhoo Island – “Sea of Stars” Phenomenon

A new addition to Alila Experiences, embark on a journey to Vaadhoo Island, one of the best spots to witness the spectacular “Sea of Stars” phenomenon. When the sun goes down at Vaadhoo Island, the waves lapping the shore light up like a shimmering field of blue dots, giving the sea the appearance of a starlit night sky. This mesmerising phenomenon occurs throughout November to January due to the growth of phytoplankton, aquatic creatures that glow in the dark, creating an extraordinary sight to behold.


Siyam World Launches World’s First Ever Underwater Jetpack with Cudajet

On its path to become the most revolutionary island resort and gamechanger to hit the Maldives tourism industry, Indian Ocean iconoclast Siyam World is at it again with the launch of the world’s first underwater jet pack in collaboration with Cudajet.

Siyam World made waves already when it opened with the Maldives’ biggest floating water park, had rivals trailing in its wake after launching the Maldives’ first ever Seabreacher, along first ever water bikes, even a fleet of Mini Mokes, and is now enhancing its collection of unique experiences and pioneering concepts with the revolutionary underwater jet pack, the Maldives’ and the world’s first ever.

The jetpack is a luxury water sports toy that gives you the feeling of ultimate freedom with predator-like manoeuvrability as you fly weightlessly around a new underwater world. The CudaJet can be mounted and dismounted in seconds to perform hot swaps between divers. The harness provides buoyancy which allows the diver to rest at the surface in-between dives with ease. The Cudajet not only offers unparalleled freedom to explore the underwater world, it also gives the feeling of weightless flight which enables moves like smooth barrel rolls underwater. With its unique mounts, the diver controls the direction of travel, it’s as simple as looking where you want to go and your body will follow. With its compact and size that packs a speed of up to 3.0 m/s and thrust of 40kg, Cudajet will redefine the concept of free diving.

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Hanimaadhoo International Airport Expansion Project Inaugurated

Earlier this year, in January, a function was held in Hdh. Hanimaadhoo to mark the inauguration of the Hanimaadhoo International Airport expansion project. The project was inaugurated by President Solih and the Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

Addressing the function, President Solih stated that the region would see economic prosperity by completing the airport expansion project. He added that it would increase tourism facilities, including guesthouses and city hotels, drive job creation in the northern atolls, and transform the region into an economic hub.

The historic project is the largest and most significant infrastructure project initiated outside the Malé region. Funded through an MVR2.1 billion loan from the Exim Bank of India, the project is contracted to India-based firm JMC Projects. The project will see the development of a new 2,460-meter runway and facilities to cater to large aircraft. The new terminal is designed to accommodate 1.3 million passengers annually.

Speaking about the revolutionary developmental progress spearheaded by the administration, President Solih described the developmental project as wellplanned, studied and executed. He added that numerous developmental projects are currently underway across the country, and while many have been completed, 41 islands in the northern region have already been connected via the RTL high-speed ferry service. Projects to develop water and sewerage networks in all inhabited islands are also progressing.

The President also highlighted airport development projects progressing across the country. While Hoarafushi Airport and Faresmaathoda Airport projects have been completed, President Solih noted that the administration had mobilised resources for the Maafaru International Airport project. He also announced that the administration had secured funds for airport projects in Bilehfahi in the Shaviyani Atoll, Thulhaadhoo Island in the Baa Atoll and Vilufushi Island in the Thaa Atoll.

President Solih also noted that numerous projects were being carried out across the country with assistance from the government of India and described the neighbour as an important development partner for the Maldives. The agreement to develop the Felivaru Cold Storage Complex was also signed as part of the ceremony. Cabinet ministers, senior government officials and members of Parliament joined the President and Dr Jaishankar at the function.


Maldivian Celebrates 15 Years of Operations in Trivandrum

National airline Maldivian has commemorated 15 years of providing air transportation services to Trivandrum, India. The airline organized a lucky draw for passengers travelling to Trivandrum to mark this remarkable milestone. The winner was awarded a dinner for two at the Hycinth Hotels in Trivandrum. Additionally, a cake cutting ceremony was held on the flight, and all passengers were presented with a gift.

The airline operates flights to Trivandrum on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, utilizing an A320 aircraft. As the leading domestic carrier in the Maldives, Maldivian currently offers flights to India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and China from its main hub at Velana International Airport.

Furthermore, the airline is one of the few operators in the country that offers both seaplane and wheel-based flights. Maldivian operates daily, frequent flights to 16 airports within the country, and also provides competitive air transfers to all resorts in the Maldives.


Maldives Welcomes First Direct Flight from China After Nearly 3-Year Hiatus

The Maldives has welcomed back Chinese tourists after a nearly three-year hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. On 18th January, the Maldives received 198 Chinese tourists who arrived on the first flight from China operated by Beijing Capital Airlines. This marks the first time a Chinese airline has operated a direct flight to the Maldives since March 2020.

The arriving tourists were greeted with traditional boduberu, and a special gift pack along with flowers in celebration of welcoming the first visitors from China to the Maldives in the past three years. The event was joined by a high-level delegation, including Ministers, Ambassadors and other high-level executives from the Government of the Maldives and China.

Tourism in the Maldives is expected to receive a significant boost once Chinese tourists start returning to the country. In 2019, 267,875 Chinese tourists visited the Maldives, making up 17.5% of the record 1.7 billion tourist arrivals to the island destination that year. According to the Ministry of Tourism, China is expected to account for at least 10% of total tourist arrivals to the Maldives in the coming months.

China remains the world’s largest outbound travel market, with Chinese tourists spending US$255 billion globally annually. The lifting of travel restrictions has spurred a surge in bookings as Asia’s tourist hotspots prepare for a boom and airlines seek to quickly ramp up capacity.


SriLankan Airlines to Resume Flights to China in April

SriLankan Airlines is set to renew its commercial operations to China in the first week of April 2023, with a thrice weekly service each to Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou as China reopens its borders.

China was a leading source market for inbound tourism to Sri Lanka and one of SriLankan’s premier leisure traveller segments before the pandemic, and SriLankan is positioning itself for a strong comeback in China upon its return.

SriLankan will launch passenger flights to Shanghai on 3rd April 2023. Accordingly, flights will depart from Colombo to Shanghai every Monday, Thursday and Friday, and return from Shanghai to Colombo every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Flights from Colombo to Beijing will also commence on 3rd April 2023, and are scheduled to depart for Beijing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week. The

return flights to Colombo will depart on the respective subsequent days.

Furthermore, SriLankan’s services to Guangzhou will become a thrice-weekly operation on 4th April 2023, with flights taking off from Colombo to Guangzhou every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The return flights from Guangzhou to Colombo will depart every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

With Chinese travellers eager to make up for lost time in globetrotting, SriLankan will be working closely with the local travel trade to reignite enthusiasm for Sri Lanka as a leisure destination in China. In addition to specifically curated holiday packages and deals, SriLankan offers Chinese customers the convenience of paying via Alipay and WeChat Pay.


Tourist Facilities by Atoll, 2022

Alila Kothaifaru

Scan and experience

Maldives like never before


The Island of Serene Wonders, Madifushi Private Island Officially Opens

The inauguration ceremony, held on the evening of 16th January 2023, was graced by the Minister of Tourism Dr Abdulla Mausoom along with other ministry officials. Speaking at the event, Dr Mausoom highlighted tourism’s potential as a catalyst for growth in Meemu Atoll, a region that had been greatly devastated by the effects of the 2004 tsunami. He further congratulated the management of Madifushi Private Island on its grand opening.

Speaking on the property’s concept, Steve Ng, Group General Manager of Madifushi Private Island, Hulhule’ Island Hotel and Maldives Inflight Catering, revealed that rejuvenation, relaxation and serenity were at the very core of its ethos. “We want our guests to be able to step away from their busy lives, to unwind and reconnect with nature,” he said. “It’s not about the product anymore. It’s about how our guests feel when they step foot onto this island and the memories that they take back with them. That’s what we’re focusing on.”

Madifushi Private Island, quietly marooned in an expansive turquoise lagoon, is a short 35-minute seaplane flight from Velana International Airport. A nature-centric property designed to sit in harmony with its environment, this untouched coastal getaway features a total of 80 beach and overwater villas. These intimate sanctuaries are complete with a terrace that leads to a private pool, with access to the palm-fringed shore or perched over the Indian Ocean with either a sunset or sunrise view.

Sit back and indulge in Madifushi Private Island’s many delicious dining options, from beachfront bites to private in-villa dining. Bluefin, the all-day dining outlet, serves exquisite cuisines from all over the world; be spoilt for choice with Italian, Mediterranean and Asian fare. Fahrenheit, a volcano-themed speciality restaurant offers fiery, mouth-watering steakhouse grills of surf and turf. And if you’re looking to cool off from the Maldivian heat, check out the Splash Bar or the Mojito Bar, each with an extensive selection of classic and continental drinks.

A genuine Italian haven tucked away in the middle of Meemu Atoll’s latest luxury address, Madifushi Private Island has officially opened.

Meanwhile, Mandara Spa offers guests a total sensory experience. The all-natural treatments here draw on the ancient health and beauty traditions of Asia, from cultures that celebrate refinement and honour nature’s gifts. Facilities include dry and wet saunas, a spa boutique, a relaxation lounge and treatment rooms with highly trained experts to guide you in your wellness journey.


MFMC Launches Integrated Tourism Development Project in Addu City

Maldives Fund Management Corporation Limited (MFMC) has introduced an extensive tourism development project for Addu City, called the Hankede Integrated Tourism Project.

The project consists of developing 1,041 rooms with a diverse range of accommodation options, each with a unique design. MFMC stated the project will revitalise Addu and enhance the tourism experience, and that it will create an opportunity for residents of Addu to benefit from integrated tourism through jobs, and by creating a favourable environment for small and medium businesses.

The government aims to bring 8,000 tourism beds into operation in Addu. Hankede is one of the regions in Addu that is specialised for tourism and includes hotels, guesthouses, and other tourism-related businesses.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said that funds have been secured for the Hankede Integrated Tourism Project and that final preparations are being made to begin the fieldwork. He added the project is part of the government’s pledge to add 8,000 tourism beds in Addu.


A dose of joy, love, and sunshine in the Maldives


Anantara Veli Maldives Resort Reopens with Fresh, Wellness-Centric Identity

Offering a reimagined adult-only experience set amid crystalline lagoon waters, Anantara Veli Maldives Resort reopened on 1st December 2022 following nine months of extensive renovations. With revamped accommodations, including the introduction of stylish new Beach Pool Villas, a new Villa Host service for all guests, newly redesigned restaurants and a hammam added to the wellnessfocused spa, the Maldivian playground is all set to cradle couples into vacation mode.

Set on a stunning natural island in the South Malé Atoll, surrounded by a pristine lagoon, Anantara Veli Maldives Resort boasts an unspoiled setting that inspired New Yorkbased designer Yuji Yamazaki to develop a renovation concept rooted in nature and wellness. To keep guests at one with the environment while giving them a sense of intimate seclusion, Yamazaki added an extra layer of privacy to the entire stay experience – from self-sufficient

villa and spa designs to restaurants infused with modern takes on no-walls tropical living.

The resort’s brand-new Beach Pool Villas are set directly on soft white sands and come with sliding glass doors that open onto a private pool flanked by a cushioned daybed, an open-air living and dining space, and an islandstyle bedroom surrounded by tropical foliage. The most exclusive of Anantara Veli’s villa categories, each of the six new Beach Pool Villas offers 148 square metres of luxurious space, with direct beach access and the utmost in privacy.

Over water villas at the resort are a study in serene functionality. Both those with and without pools have been fully renovated in traditional-meets-contemporary tropical style, using a natural palette of wood and stone, cool fabrics and rattan finishes and the latest in high-tech comforts. With cool powder tones and organic patterns borrowed from nature, many of these private cocoons have a standalone tub and outdoor rainfall showers. The over water villa offering at Anantara Veli has been elevated with the addition of six brand-new Deluxe Over Water Pool Villas, with enhanced interiors, a larger private pool and deck and an over water hammock to gaze at the glimmering waters beneath by day and the stars by night. The relaunch of Anantara Veli also sees the introduction of a new wellness concept which allows guests to book a personalised Wellness Villa experience. Enhanced with light, sound and scent therapy that changes the ambience from day to night, the villa comes with Ayurvedic spa amenities, an earthing mat for meditation, and a wellness minibar with herbal teas, healthy shakes and wholefood snacks. All stays in a Wellness Villa include a wellness consultation upon arrival, daily yoga or personal training session, a healthy cooking class, and 20% savings on treatments at Balance Wellness by Anantara.

Offering multi-day wellness retreats alongside consultations with the resident naturopath and nutritionist, personal trainer, yoga and lifestyle coach, Balance Wellness by Anantara is an oasis of healing in the tropical heart of the resort. Surrounded by nature, the spa goes beyond the traditional spa experience with wellness options ranging from Ayurvedic and holistic treatments, to the latest in epigenetics, sound healing and IV therapies. The brand new Moroccan hammam offers authentic treatments using marocMaroc products, while its facial and body therapies use exclusive skincare brand 111Skin of Harley Street, London. Balance Wellness by Anantara features five treatment suites, a nail salon, a medical spa, Shirodhara treatment bed, steam room and sauna, indoor


and outdoor showers, and a relaxation garden with hot and cold plunge pools.

With numerous dining venues, guests can enjoy the finest cuisines from across the globe while learning about old and new world wines from the resort’s Wine Guru. Cumin offers dishes from Sri Lanka, India and Maldives, while the stylishly refurbished Origami serves modern Japanese fare including teppanyaki and robatayaki. Poolside, Dhoni Bar specialises in Mediterranean tapas, with coffee and smoothies by day and Champagne and signature cocktails after dark.

Poised over water on the edge of a lagoon and outer reef, Baan Huraa delights with coconut curries from Thailand’s southern provinces and spicy dishes from the north. On neighbouring sister island Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort, Sea.Fire.Salt serves expertly grilled meats and fresh fish and seafood from the local waters, whilst Aqua delivers wholesome Italian fare. Breakfast is served a la carte overlooking the ocean at Cumin, with a variety of wellness options included on the menu. Guests also have the freedom to dine outside the restaurants thanks

to Anantara’s signature Dining by Design experience with private chef, butler and sommelier.

Whether seeking serenity or reconnection, travellers will find a wide array of water- and land-based activities. Guests can enjoy the thrills of underwater discovery with Aquafanatics, the resort’s resident watersports partner, catch a wave during the surf season with resident experts Tropicsurf, and join the resort in its habitat preservation efforts by adopting a coral as part of Anantara’s sustainability programme with the resident marine biologist.

On land, there is a fully-equipped fitness centre, in addition to an outdoor gym, a tennis court and dedicated spaces for volleyball, badminton, table tennis, chess and Pétanque. Guests can also book fitness sessions with the personal trainer or try their hand in the new boxing ring. Holidaymakers looking for quieter pursuits can book a Spice Spoons cooking class, meditate or practice yoga at the ocean-facing pavilion, or lounge by the infinity-edge swimming pool.


The Standard, Huravalhi Maldives Launches Wellness Package with Sustainable Skincare Brands

The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives has announced the launch of ‘The Eco Escape’ wellness package, in partnership with Seed to Skin and The Organic Pharmacy. The partnership marks the first hotel venture for both brands in the Asia-pacific region and further aligns with The Standard, Maldives journey towards sustainability.

Nestled amongst the beautiful blues of the Raa Atoll, the 5-day package offers a complete wellness-focused itinerary including daily yoga and specially curated facials, for you to relax and restore in ultimate paradise. The Standard Maldives Spa boasts a playground of steam rooms, hammam and spa deck providing a spiritual haven for each wellness experience.

Guests will receive two signature treatments by The Organic Pharmacy, including a 90-minute Deep Sleep Massage and Rose Renewal Ritual. The Deep Sleep Massage is the perfect antidote for frequent travellers and people who lack sleep. This treatment starts with a foot bath in soothing water infused with relaxing oils and combines a full body massage with rejuvenating

foot acupressure and a mini facial. Rich aromatic blends aid detoxification, strengthening muscles and joints, relieving jet lag, and promoting better sleep.

The Rose Renewal Ritual will soothe, nourish, and repair the skin with a cooling and hydrating treatment. Ideal for dry, sun-exposed, or damaged skin, this calming body therapy includes a gentle yet effective Cleopatra body scrub enriched with Ylang Ylang, Rose Germanium, and Sea Salt to reduce redness and fight radical damage. The treatment is finished with an antioxidant facial, intensive serum, and butter to restore skin cells.

The package also includes a 60-minute candle massage with Seed to Skin. A profoundly relaxing experience, a warm candle is delicately poured onto the skin and massaged with slow sweeping movements in this signature treatment. Rich in skin conditioning ingredients, guests will feel the benefits of argan oil, coconut extract, and shea butter infused with oud wood and vanilla. Treatments will take place amongst an overflowing itinerary of daily yoga and meditation with expert practitioners to align body and mind.

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Eco-Friendly Luxury — The 5 Most Sustainable Resorts in Maldives

The Maldives is home to several luxurious resorts that are actively involved in eco-projects, allowing visitors to fully connect with their surroundings while also supporting efforts to rebuild and conserve the archipelago’s natural ecosystem and heritage. This comes as no surprise; sustainability has become an increasingly important factor in the minds of today’s travellers, who tend to seek out eco-friendly options in all aspects of their travel.

Here are some of the best resorts in the Maldives that are leading the charge towards a more sustainable future.

Located in one of the most untouched atolls in the Maldives, Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi has a thorough understanding of the need to preserve and protect the natural resources surrounding the island. The resort’s Sustainability Lab – the first of its kind in the archipelago – is a centre for education and regeneration where specialized machinery turns plastic waste into bespoke souvenirs and creative furniture essential products for local schools. Fairmont Maldives also houses the Coralarium, the world’s first and only coral regeneration project in the form of an underwater art installation, designed to imitate the coral’s natural formation and provide a home for an abundance of marine life.

Moreover, by harnessing the power of the sun by installing a 1MW of solar panels and they are looking to install another in the lagoon to become one of the largest solar producers in the Maldives. To minimize the need for single-use plastics, the on-site Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant produces custom potable water for their guests and team. Fairmont Maldives is also the first Fairmont property in the world to achieve the coveted Green Globe Certification for its various noteworthy sustainability initiatives.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, a 50-villa resort located in the Gaafu Alifu Atoll, shows its commitment to environmental and social sustainability and has partnered with EarthCheck to monitor and improve its performance. It has also received Gold certification from EarthCheck and Green Globe for its sustainable practices.

The resort prioritizes employing and empowering local residents and sourcing local and fair-trade products and services. The resort has established a committee of elected “Hyatt Thrive Ambassadors” to represent local communities and work towards mutually beneficial sustainable development projects. Water, electricity and fuel consumption on Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa are closely monitored, along with the use of exclusively environmentally friendly and natural materials in its architectural design.

Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi

Soneva Fushi is an unparalleled paradise of barefoot, sustainable luxury. The resort practices a principle of minimal waste, composting and reusing all materials across the board, and has won numerous international accolades for its initiatives. Soneva Fushi has implemented filtration ponds to address wastewater issues, use locallygrown vegetables and fruits by cultivating over one hectare of land, and have placed solar panels on the rooftops of some residential buildings. The resort also has a nursery for stingrays, a feeding station, and a program to protect the turtle population.

The Soneva Foundation supports projects that have a positive impact on the environment, society, and economy through impact investing and carbon finance. The foundation also partnered with organizations to establish a large coral nursery using Mineral Accretion Technology and works with local communities in the Maldives on waste management through the project Soneva Namoona.

Soneva Fushi Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa Soneva Fushi

LUX* South Ari Atoll is more than just a visually stunning resort, it is a resort with a purpose. It has been recognized for its sustainability efforts, having earned the Green Globe certification. The resort features an on-site Marine Biology Centre, which not only educates guests about eco-tours, but also supports scientific research and actively works to protect the local whale shark population and restore coral reefs. To further its sustainability efforts, LUX* South Ari Atoll launched Energy Saving Solar, a partnership with Swimsol GmbH to generate electricity from sunlight, and the Solar Sea project, which uses floating photovoltaic panels in the lagoon to increase energy capacity. Additionally, the resort is creating Fish Houses from recycled bathtubs for various fish species and has committed to switching from plastic to paper straws as part of a wider effort to reduce ocean waste.

In June of last year, LUX* South Ari Atoll welcomed Porrima, the world’s first solar-powered vessel, in a partnership with Blue Odyssey. This marked the vessel’s first entry into the Maldives. The Porrima Foundation, which manages the vessel, complements high-tech development strategies with a commitment to preserving and regenerating nature.

Kudadoo Maldives is a luxury destination that is also environmentally conscious. The chic architecture of the island is built from sustainably sourced materials and solar panels on the rooftop in a design masterpiece that powers the entire resort.

The eco-consciousness goes beyond the shores and into the ocean as they work closely with Manta Trust and Olive Ridley Project, helping their research and conservation efforts with manta rays and sea turtles and have a thriving coral nursery project looked after by the in-house marine biologists. Being in a fragile environment, the island has an intimate understanding of the importance of preserving and protecting nature for the future and puts a big emphasis on social responsibility toward local communities as well. While being sustainable from the outset o be in sync with nature, Kudadoo Island actively raises awareness to inspire others to do the same.

LUX* South Ari Atoll Kudadoo Maldives Private Island LUX* South Ari Atoll Kudadoo Maldives Private Island

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives to Develop Large Floating Solar Park

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives announced the signing of an agreement with Swimsol, the global leader in offshore marine photovoltaics, to install a 1.05 MW floating solar park. It will be one of the biggest solar installations in the Maldives.

Speaking on this occasion, Corinna Luebbe, Cluster General Manager, Maldives, said: “We are proud to partner with Swimsol for one of the largest Solar Parks in Maldives. This is in line with IHCL’s ESG+ framework of Paathya with its commitment towards energy conservation and long-term goal of deriving no less than 50 per cent of energy across all hotels from renewable sources by 2030. With the solar park going on stream in 2024, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa will operate with one of the lowest carbon footprints in Maldives.”

She added, “Taj Exotica’s innovative and rigorous sustainability efforts have earned global accolades, including an EarthCheck Platinum Certification from 2019 – 2022, making it the first resort in the Maldives to achieve the honour.”

The 1.05 MW solar park will save 1,189 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per annum. It will help reduce 4, 39,000 litres of diesel consumption annually while simultaneously decreasing noise pollution by 40%. It will have an extraordinary battery backup, making Taj Exotica Resort & Spa the first-ever Maldives resort to completely shut down generator operations between the duration of 8 am to 5 pm. Along with reducing the resort’s carbon footprint, the floating solar platforms will stay well above the precious coral reefs and offer shelter to young aqua fauna.


LUX* South Ari Atoll Donates $20K for Maldives Community Support

LUX* South Ari Atoll, the renowned Maldivian resort of The Lux Collective, kicked off the year 2023 by making wishes come true.

The Tree of Wishes ceremony is the long-living tradition of LUX* Resorts & Hotels, taking inspiration from temples in Japan and China, native American tribes, and even Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree art installation. Open to all guests, the ceremony invites the participants to make a wish, write it on a colourful ribbon and tie it around a branch of the island’s banyan tree. Once a year, during the festive season, one of the ribbons is picked at a lucky draw, gifting its owner with a free holiday at LUX* South Ari Atoll.

During the weekly wishing ceremony guests are also encouraged to make a voluntary donation to the resort’s care fund. Every year the collated amount is donated to a local social responsibility organisation, allowing more precious wishes to come true. This year, the team of the Ministry of Gender, Social and Family services received a USD 20,000 fund for the needs of local children deprived of parental care.

At the official community donation event, LUX* South Ari Atoll welcomed the representatives of the Ministry:

Hon. Aishath Mohamed Didi, the Minister of Gender, Family and Social Services, as well as State Ministers Mr. Mohamed Shihab and Dr Abdul Malik.

Hon. Aishath Mohamed Didi commented, “This initiative is important to us not because of the fund received, but for what it symbolises. This is about taking care of the community. To date, we have almost 200 children under the age of 18 under the state care, and they need a lot of love, care, and attention.”

“Serving the community is as important to LUX* South Ari Atoll team as delivering the best service to our guests,” said John Rogers, General Manager of the resort. “We are proud to provide continual support to the Ministry of Gender, Social and Family services in its strive to provide equal opportunities to every citizen of the Maldives”.

With the ethos “We Make Each Moment Matter. We Care About What Matters.”, The Lux Collective is a hotel management company with passion for service. In the heart of its purpose, it is committed to operating in a considered, respectful manner, mindful of its contribution to future generations.


Jumeirah Maldives Partners with Maldives National University to Offer Internships

Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island, the ultra-spacious all-villa resort, has announced a strategic partnership with Maldives National University (MNU).

“We are thrilled to partner with Maldives National University to provide valuable internship opportunities for their students. Our goal is to help young professionals develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the hospitality industry, and we believe that our blissful island retreat and passionate colleagues will provide the exceptional experiences for them to learn and grow,” said General Manager, Mohamed Ashraf.

MNU is a state-funded university catering for more than half the tertiary population of Maldives with a mission to create, discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge that is necessary to enhance the lives and livelihoods of people and essential for the cultural social and economic development of the nation.

“We are excited to partner with Jumeirah Maldives, Olhahali Island to provide our students with valuable internship opportunities at a world-class hotel brand,” said Mohamed Shareef, Vice Chancellor of Maldives National University.

The partnership with MNU will provide a valuable opportunity for students to gain first-hand experience directly working with a wide network of Jumeirah talent, in addition to working within one of the world’s leading luxury hospitality brands. Students will also be able to make valuable connections in the hospitality industry, with the aim of helping them launch successful careers in the field.

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Soneva Founder and CEO Sonu Shivdasani Awarded OBE in King’s New Year Honours 2023 List

Sonu Shivdasani, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Soneva resorts, and Founder of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, has been honoured as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to tourism, sustainability and charity in the King’s New Year Honours 2023 Overseas and International List.

Born in England, Sonu is an alumnus of Eton College and a graduate of Oxford University. It was during his time at Oxford that he met his Swedish-born wife Eva and together they fell in love with the Maldives. Their first resort, Soneva Fushi, opened in 1995 in the Baa Atoll with a novel concept that blended luxury hospitality with environmental responsibility. The original ‘castaway’ resort went on to redefine tourism in the island nation.

In the same year, Sonu and Eva launched Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, followed by the Evason hotel group in 1997, with several landmark properties across Southeast Asia and Europe. In 2012, management contracts for both companies were sold as part of Sonu and Eva’s ‘One Owner, One Operator, One Philosophy’ strategy.

“Receiving an OBE is an incredible honour and I share it with all of Soneva’s friends and family. This recognition reinforces our founding vision, which is placing purpose over profit,” explained Sonu Shivdasani. “We believe that true luxury is about time well spent, so we strive to make every moment memorable for our guests without losing sight of our intention to contribute to communities near and far and protect our precious planet.”

Soneva has long championed greater environmental accountability in the hospitality sector and beyond. Its resorts – Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani in the Maldives, and Soneva Kiri in Thailand – are all carbon neutral with a 2% environmental levy added to every stay. These proceeds go towards the Soneva Foundation, a not-for-profit UK-registered trust that helps offset carbon emissions and funds purposeful projects around the world.

Soneva Namoona, an independent Maldivian nongovernmental organisation (NGO), also receives funding from Soneva and the Soneva Foundation for key initiatives that help phase out single-use plastics, improve recycling efforts and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards in the Maldives.



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