While there is never a “right-time” to celebrate the planet we live on and all of nature’s abundance, with World Reef Awareness Day, World Environment Day and World Oceans Day all in June, it seems like the ideal month to highlight and re-engage conversations around sustainability, taking care of our environment and oceans, and supporting our local communities. Studies have shown that travellers are increasingly more concerned about their impact on the world and there has been an increase in awareness of environmental and social issues. Apart from eco-conscious accommodation, travellers are also looking for meaningful travel initiatives.
Earlier last year, Marriott International launched the Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy program which aspires to shift the way vacations are perceived – from pure leisure to a value-adding opportunity that allows travellers to explore and build deeper connections in local communities.
Conscientious travellers to the Maldives can look forward to include initiatives to continue to eliminate single-use plastics, implementation of re-usable glass bottles for water and juices, usage of paper products around the resorts and initiating monthly dives against debris and clean-up days along with various other initiatives to promote the conservation of marine life and awareness of the same.
The Adopt a Coral initiativeat Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spainvites guests to participate in the fun and interactive coral-fragment plantation activity in an effort to promote reef habitats and generate new coral. The resort has teamed up with Reefscapers, a coral propagation organization appointed by the Maldivian Government as custodians of the coral colonies in the Gulhi Falhu lagoon which was slated to be destroyed as part of a reclamation project. The activity is led by experts and offers a hands-on experience to participants while also providing an alternative business to the 250 inhabitants whose sole previous source of employment was fishing.
The resort witnessed coral spawning in December 2021, a milestone in the resort’s coral propagation initiative that started in February 2020. To date, over 6,000 coral fragments from 15 different species of corals have been transplanted. The resort also runs its own ‘water bottling plant initiative’ as part of the resort’s sustainability program that is dedicated to removing large amounts of plastic bottles from the resort. This initiative is an important aspect of the property’s commitment to protecting and preserving their environment through day-to-day operation, encompassing Marriott International’s wider “Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction” campaign. On World Environment Day this year Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa is conducting an activity for guests to learn to weave palm fronds like Maldivian locals at Kakuni Beach, and they are also building a large coral frame and inviting guests to join the activity on occasion of World Oceans Day. Their Resident Marine Biologist Kate Sheridan will also hold fun and educational sessions on both days for guests.
W Maldives has partnered with cutting-edge Hong Kong swimwear label Mazu Resortwear to create two exclusive prints with a bold message in mind. Made out of 12 salvaged plastic bottles, the limited edition swimwear collection is stealing the scene in style and is inspired by the team’s commitment to save the ocean. The luxury playground also routinely runs beach clean-up drives and lagoon cleaning initiatives. This World Oceans Day, the resort is inviting guests to “I Reefed W Maldives”, a coral propagation event this World Ocean Day and witness how it prosper through the years.
At The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort, guests can start young with their initiation into marine life conservation as their marine biologist conducts educational talks with children and adults alike about the diverse marine life around the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Baa Atoll, where the resort is located. The resort has also launched a new project to protect and restore coral reefs. The team at AQUA, the watersports center at the resort, leads this exciting project, one of the biggest of its kind in the Baa Atoll area. It is specific to the local reef topography and will focus on restoring the reefs from top to bottom. Trial nurseries have been set up to see if this method will be successful and healthy coral colonies can be transplanted back onto the reefs. On the upcoming World Ocean Day, The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort has the objective to continue protecting the ecosystem of Baa Atoll and making long-lasting impact in their coral reefs, while generating awareness of the risks of climate change, through an interactive introduction to the underwater world presentation and a hands-on activity planting coral-fragments. These two experiences will be conducted by its Marine Biologist Filipa Lopes, passionate about ocean sustainability and conservation of the oceans.
“Supporting local” is not just a trend, but an important undertaking for travellers who directly contribute to empowering the local economy. The pandemic has underscored, for many travellers that everyone is in it together. Marriott International is committed to supporting local communities and embracing local businesses for sustainability. JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa uses Island Apothecary products – made from local natural ingredients, in some of the signature couple treatments at Spa by JW. This initiative supports women run businesses in the community as each bottle is mixed, bottled and shipped straight from the island homes. The resort also uses locally sourced fresh catch in their restaurants and handmade tipi tents to bring to life the FAMiLY by JW experience in villas for kids. The resort team regularly schedules lagoon cleaning and island cleaning initiatives with associates, and has the same planned in the month of June as well.