By: Mohamed Rehan
Sustainable tourism may mean different things to different industry stakeholders, but the bottom line eventually boils down to one thing; it is the management of resources to promote and preserve economic, social and environment requirements surrounding a given economic sector.
Maldives government have for years attempted to encourage the industry players of the tourism sector towards promoting sustainability in tourist properties. These are often implemented or even integrated through responsible policies pushed ahead by the state government – precisely the mandated government institute towards tourism promotion, monitoring and management; Ministry of Tourism.
Tourist properties that are actively involved in the preservation of the surrounding environments have distinct initiatives that aim to limit noticeable damages to the environmental elements, as well as provide a positive impact holistically.
Some notable attempts by popular local tourists towards sustainable tourism promotion involve reef rehabilitation and coral planting initiatives, while many of these luxury holiday properties in their commitment towards environmental preservation have partnered up with notable organizations like Parley for the Oceans, the Manta Trust and Olive Ridley Turtle Project.
Among the 150 tourist resorts, some properties are recognized comparatively stronger due to their elevated attempts in sustainable tourism promotion. A few of these major contributors include;
Sirru Fen Fushi (translates to Secret Water Island) is a luxury standard private island in the northern atoll of Shaviyani. This property is developed among lush vegetation surrounded by a pristine lagoon with shimmering hues of turquoise and blues.
The area is a budding 'hot bed' for rich marine life ranging from sea turtles to various crustaceans as well as manta rays. This Fairmont property is responsible for a strong coral regrowth program while the resort's architecture promotes interaction with the nature seamlessly.
This Four Seasons property comes with its in-island Marine Discovery Center that is mandated with educating the visitors of eco-tourism. The center also doubles as a conservation hub promoting eco-friendly initiatives such as the Maldivian Sea Turtle Conservation Program; of which the resort is the main headquarter.
Guests holidaying in the resort get to contribute towards protection and rehabilitation of animals including rescued green turtles.
Six Senses Laamu is an unconventional tourism industry player that manages food requirements for the guests through Earth Lab, an in-resort farm that grows fresh produce as much as the premises accommodates.
Another incredible feature of this tourist property is that it bottles its own drinking water while using insecticides to counter harmful bugs and pests while ensuring sustainability to achieve zero-waste goals. Moreover, the resort's dive shop is certified by Green Fins which is a global initiative aimed towards reducing the environmental impact of marine tourism.
Running fully on solar power by eliminating the need for diesel-powered electricity, LUX* South Ari Atoll is a prominent industry player that actively plays its part in reducing the carbon footprint.
Such are the resort's efforts that LUX* South Ari Atoll has already bagged the Travelife Gold Certification in recognition of their sustainable tourism efforts. The resort's go-green powering initiative will reportedly save around 234,000 liters of diesel usage on annual terms.