Maldives tour, culture and people

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Maldives tour, culture and people

Environment

We believe this tour is of direct benefit to the local residents and minimises adverse effects on the environment. By using genuinely, locally owned and staffed accommodation this empowers villages and provides them with direct revenue rather than employment as a chambermaid or gardener at an internationally owned and/or managed resort.

Furthermore, the tour includes destinations not regularly visited by tourists to the islands including a walking tour of the capital and meals and breaks are taken as much as possible in local cafes and eateries rather than resort restaurants.

Owners of the small and low-ley village inn accommodation we use on Guraidhoo Island work with the local school to provide education sessions on the marine environment and waste management.

Our alternative accommodation choice, The Barefoot Eco Hotel follows the principles of eco-sustainability and conservation of the environment as well as the involvement of the local community within its activities. The Barefoot has built its structure including important “green” aspects, including the following:

1. Use of ecologically grown wood, respecting the sustainability of the forest of origin.
2. Use of solar photovoltaic panels to generate electricity, limiting the use of diesel generators (widespread and impacting in the Maldives), the demand of electricity not covered by the panels is provided by Hanimadhoo power house, avoiding the establishment of a second diesel power house on the island.
3. Use of a system recovering the heat generated by air conditioners to heat the water of the rooms.
4. The opening of the water bottling plant by 1st November 2015 was an important initiative in reducing the use of plastic bottles and thereby the negative effects that plastic pollution has on the oceans – and consequently on the whole planet.
5. The establishment of a Conservation Center. The Center has developed a series of ‘responsible activities’ for tourists (such as snorkeling, dolphin watch, etc.), so that a double goal can be pursued: “fun” for the tourists and environmental monitoring. Marine biologists “takes advantage” of the excursions to carry out several projects of environmental monitoring, in order to collect data on the ecosystem and monitor the impact of the Eco Hotel activities on the environment. These activities, developed in a context of monitoring and conservation, also have a strong positive effect on tourists, who derive greater environmental awareness and feel more involved in a global change of attitude towards the environment.
6. The direct economic involvement of the community, through the contracting of people from Hanimadhoo for many work positions within the Eco Hotel.

Community

It is hard to differentiate between support for the environment and the community as they are so intertwined and many of the initiatives outlined above also impact positively on the community and people of the Maldives. The the dissemination of knowledge on the environment and culture of Maldives, especially of Hanimadhoo, through specific activities for tourists (cultural guided cycling tours, escorted exploration of the forest), is key to our ethos.

All goods (including food) available on the island are purchased on site, in order to promote the local economy and reduce the carbon footprint due to transportation. The development of specific environmental education programs in collaboration with the local school.

The development of a project of waste sorting within the Maldivian families of Hanimadhoo, the very first step towards recycling.

In addition, we support the Save the Beach organisation and our tour includes a day visit as well as participation in their coral reef, marine life and environmental protection projects.

All guides and staff members are local and fully instructed in responsible and eco-friendly travel practices.

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