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Luxury travel vs sustainability in the Maldives

By Georgie Bentley-Buckle on 15th November 2019

The Maldives is considered one of the sexiest destinations on earth, so how does the considerably less attractive topic of sustainability make its mark on this beautiful island dappled country?

In today’s travel realm there is no excuse for hotels and resorts to not contribute to the global subject of sustainability, because let’s face it… you will judge that hotel bar still serving plastic straws, let alone its single-use cups. A fiery topic on the tips of our tongues, the ‘S’ word is particularly hot in luxury travel. Discerning guests in this sector have higher standards and this comes with a wider level of education and an awareness surrounding the impact of their carbon footprint.

Set up locally by Maldivian hoteliers are two sister resorts: Coco Bodu Hithi and Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu

So how do Maldivian resorts both engage with sustainable practices whilst also encouraging their guests mindfully? The first example of this is Coco Resorts. Set up locally by Maldivian hoteliers, they have a two sister resorts: Coco Bodu Hithi and Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu. Elevating the genuine beauty of the country, this group are passionate about sustaining their home country and partner with an array of local initiatives that they believe will make a lasting impact. From the beginning sustainability has been at the heart of what they do, this spanning from mindful construction to operation services.

Leading the ‘farm to fork’ food trend in the Maldives, each of their island resorts reduce food miles with their island herb gardens which provide their kitchens with organic, home-grown fresh fruit and vegetables. Whilst in terms of reducing their waste, the luxury Maldivian group have a goal to achieve a zero policy on single-use plastic with their ‘Coco Dreams Green’ strategy, implementing alternative materials. This includes the introduction this year of a new on-site bottling plant to create drinking water from the surrounding sea water. Turning our attention to the marine life, Coco Resorts are passionate about supporting the local turtle population where they have established the first and only veterinarian-led turtle rescue centre in the Maldives at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu. This specialist centre features a fully equipped laboratory and surgical facilities, along with seven tanks which can accommodate up to eight turtle patients at a time.

Coco Resorts are passionate about supporting the local turtle population where they have established the first and only veterinarian-led turtle rescue centre in the Maldives at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu.

Another newer island, that you may not have yet heard of, but is also championing sustainable practices is Furaveri Island Resort & Spa. Located nearby a UNESCO biosphere reserve, the real beauty of this island is that it is completely un-reclaimed – meaning the development of the island has had minimal impact on its surroundings. This includes its naturally stunning beach which wraps itself around the verdant 23-hectare island. Hidden within the centre of the island is Furaveri’s considerable vegetable garden and partnering water bottling plant. Producing a huge amount of its organic produce to sustain both guests of the island and those who live and work there, the island grows a wide array of produce from its chilli trees to fruit and vegetables. Whilst at the island’s on-site bottling plant, up to 360 tonnes of seawater is recycled into drinking water for all using the latest filtering systems.

Another newer island, that you may not have yet heard of, but is also championing sustainable practices is Furaveri Island Resort & Spa.

One of the Maldives’ first and most iconic resorts Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is also following its very own mission towards a greener future. Driving forward sustainable travel practices, the island has partnered with the ‘Parley For The Oceans’ organisation which surrounds a three-pillar concept: avoid, intercept, redesign. Offering the opportunity to purchase as part of their stay, they have coined a what they call the ‘Parley kit’. Including the essentials needed for a sustainably conscious stay, each kit contains a reusable stainless steel 0.7L Conrad x Parley co-branded water bottle and a tote bag made from an average of five intercepted plastic bottles. The purchase of these kits also contributes to the removal of ten pounds of marine plastic waste via the Parley Global Clean Up Network.

Combining sustainability with creativity, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island also features a striking installation which is showcased within the resort’s Rangala Bar. Replicating a giant jellyfish, the five-star resort commissioned artist John K. Melvin to create the piece of ‘eco-artwork’ which he named ‘Evogyre’. Made with 5,500 single-use bottles which were found floating in the nearby Maldivian ocean, this piece of eco-artwork is not only a creative masterpiece for the resort but highlights the urgent need for change and the increase of sustainable practices across the Maldives. This sits in tandem with the island’s aim to eliminate single-use plastic by this upcoming January 2020, replacing plastic amenities with bamboo alternatives, swapping from plastic to friendlier wooden key cards and offering a completely plastic-free breakfast. Whilst with the islands surrounding marine life, a coral regeneration program aims to protect the reefs surrounding the resort, complemented also by a collection of local community support led initiatives.

One of the Maldives’ first and most iconic resorts Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is also following its very own mission towards a greener future.

Globally recognised for its iconic cerulean beauty, the Maldives has quickly established itself as one of the most in-demand luxury tourist destinations on earth. With this, it is also one of the fastest developing luxury travel markets with many new hotels and resorts opening up each year. It’s promising to learn that this remote country is taking considerable steps with a variety of enterprises to ensure a greener future for both its population, dynamic marine life and for our future generations to enjoy mindfully.

For further information on the Maldives, visit visitmaldives.com.

Overnight accommodation in an Island Villa at Coco Bodu Hithi on a half board basis costs from £652 per night. For further details, please visit cococollection.com.

Overnight accommodation in a Beachfront Villa at Furaveri Island Resort and Spa on a full board basis costs from £295 ($375) per night. For further details, visit furaveri.com.

Overnight accommodation in a Beach Villa at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, bed and breakfast costs from £530 per night, subject to availability. For further details, visit conradmaldives.com.