Maldives Nominated for the World Travel Awards Indian Oceans Leading Destination

Filed under: Maldives Guide - 07 Aug 2009

The destination Maldives together with the Maldives resorts and companies have been nominated in the 16th World Travel Awards regional ceremony to be held at the Grosvenor House, A JW Marriot Hotel in London on 7th November 2009. This year’s nominees for the Indian Ocean have been announced in the World Travel Awards website where by the nominees will be given awards based on the voting’s by travel agents worldwide.

The Maldives has been nominated as the Indian Ocean’s Leading Destination, whilst The Male’ International Airport has been nominated as the Indian Ocean’s Leading Airport. Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Sri Lanka are competing against Maldives under Indian Ocean’s Leading Destination category. In addition to the above, the following resorts and companies have been nominated:

Indian Ocean’s Leading Boutique Hotel category:

• Cocoa Island, Maldives
• Dhoni Mighili, Maldives
• The Rania Experience, Maldives

Indian Ocean’s Leading Family Resort category:

• Soneva Fushi by Six Senses, Maldives

Indian Ocean’s Leading Green Resort category:

• Angsana Resort & Spa Maldives
• Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel category:

• Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
• Soneva Gili by Six Senses, Maldives
• Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives

Indian Ocean’s Leading Luxury Resort category:

• Baros Maldives
• Huvafen Fushi Maldives

Indian Ocean’s Leading Resort category:

• Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu
• Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
• Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa
• Huvafen Fushi Maldives
• Kurumba Maldives
• Soneva Gili by Six Senses, Maldives
• Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives

Indian Ocean’s Leading Spa Resort category:

• Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
• Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
• Huvafen Fushi Maldives
• Island Hideaway at Dhonakulhi Maldives, Spa Resort & Marina

Indian Ocean’s Leading Travel Agency category:

• Inner Maldives Holidays

Indian Ocean’s Leading Villa category:

• Adaaran “Prestige” Water Villas, Maldives
• Baros Residence, Baros Maldives
• Deluxe Soneva Fushi Villa, Soneva Fushi by Six Senses, Maldives
• Hideaway Palace, Island Hideaway at Dhonakulhi Maldives, Spa Resort & Marina
• Koimala Land and Ocean Villa, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
• Royal Kurumba Residence, Kurumba Maldives

Furthermore the following brands whose resorts are also located in Maldives were nominated under the category “Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel Brand”:

• Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts
• Four Seasons
• Hilton Hotels
• Hotels Constance
• Naiade Resorts
• One&Only Resorts

In addition to this, the following resort/hotel groups were also nominated under the category “Indian Ocean’s Leading Water Villa Group”:

• Adaaran Prestige Resorts
• Anantara
• Coco Collection
• Constance Hotels
• Taj Hotels
• Universal Resorts

Hailed by the Wall Street Journal as the “Travel industry’s equivalent to the Oscar’s”, the World Travel Awards are the most comprehensive and most prestigious awards program in the global travel industry. The World Travel Awards were established in 1993 to acknowledge and celebrate excellence in the world’s travel and tourism industry. The winners of the World Travel Awards are based on thousands of votes cast by travel professionals from 167,000 travel agencies in over 160 countries across the globe.

The voting for this year’s Indian Ocean Awards is open until 14th August 2009. Votes can be casted by registering and logging into the voting system available at www.worldtravelawards.com.

Last year Maldives won the Indian Ocean’s Leading Destinations Award and World’s Most Romantic Destination awards while Maldives Tourism industry won awards in many categories.

President Nasheed Opens Hilton Maldives/Iru Fushi Resort & Spa

Filed under: Resorts and Hotels - 17 Jul 2009

The Hilton Maldives/Iru Fushi Resort & Spa officially launched on July 1st in a ceremony hosted by the President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed.

Surrounded by over 52 acres of powdery white beach and lush, tropical vegetation, the stunning and secluded Hilton Maldives/Iru Fushi Resort & Spa is set on the unspoiled Noonu Atoll and is accessed by a scenic 45 minute seaplane ride from Male.

An abundance of freshly landed local fish and seafood is available in our elegant yet relaxed restaurants, with the Iru Fushi Chefs ready to conjure up succulent and tempting specialties from around the world, be it for a romantic 6 course dinner under the stars or a leisurely alfresco lunch on the beach. Wherever your culinary fancies take you, we can assure that our exquisite menus and professional, attentive service will both impress and delight.

The luxury spa is a tranquil retreat with 21 individual spa pavilions nestled within the tropical flora for privacy. The spa at Iru Fushi takes an holistic approach to beauty, health and wellbeing with nature’s five key elements and traditional Ayurvedic practices at its heart. Gaze over the azure Indian Ocean from the stunning infinity pool, practise your serve in our floodlit tennis courts or if you’re feeling adventurous, choose from a wealth of exciting watersports at the Hilton Maldives/Iru Fushi Resort & Spa.

Maldives Government moves to Protect its Whale Sharks

Filed under: Maldives Guide - 05 Jun 2009

In another step towards becoming environment-friendly, the cabinet unveiled plans yesterday to designate three whale shark habitats in the Maldives as protected areas.

Cabinet members allocated Baa atoll Hanifaru, Baa atoll An’gafaru and Alif Dhaal atoll Maamigili as protected areas to commemorate World Environment Day and World Ocean Day on the 5 and 8 June respectively.

“We welcome the whale shark sanctuaries,” said Ali Rilwan, executive director of environment NGO Bluepeace today. “We don’t need paper parks, we need monitoring and more research in these areas.”

In March, the ministry of fisheries and agricultures extended the moratorium on reef shark fishing to cover the whole of the Maldives as part of a move towards a total ban on both reef and oceanic shark hunting.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Ibrahim Naeem, director of the environment ministry, said the main objective of the project was to protect the areas’ megafauna, namely whale sharks.

He explained the areas will be divided into various zones, in which different activities will be permitted. While diving and snorkelling would still be allowed, a set of guidelines would be provided to instruct on how to deal with encounters with whale sharks.

Further, boats will be subject to speed limits in certain areas, he said.

Naeem said the reaction of local residents was “very positive”. “They actively wanted this to happen and this won’t impact any of their activities so they have nothing to lose from this,” he said. “That’s the findings of the consultation.”

He added the decision would have a “global significance” and the areas were among the few in the world where whale sharks could be spotted.

The polka-dotted whale shark is the largest fish on the planet, but very little is known about their existence, according to the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme’s website.

While it is known they swim potentially vast distances across the ocean, eating only plankton, tiny fish and squid, how long they live or where they reproduce remains a mystery.

Guy Stevens, a marine biologist at Four Seasons Resort, said it was crucial to establish a set of guidelines to counter the impact that the growth of tourism would have on whale sharks in future years.

At present, it is estimated that whale shark excursions generate US$10 million annually.

According to Stevens, researchers have spotted 115 whale sharks in the Maldives, although the real number was probably higher.

“Some of these areas are important feeding grounds,” said Stevens. “And out of all of them, there are only two females, so the animals are only spending part of their lives here.”

He added the designated areas would also protect other animal species such as manta rays in Hanifaru and reef sharks in An’gafaru.

As part of its efforts to mark World Environment Day and World Ocean Day over the coming week, the government will also be introducing seven awards in recognition of efforts to go carbon neutral and launch two campaigns: “Walk to School” and “Back to Bicycle”.

NGO Bluepeace will be also hold an event to celebrate World Environment Day this Friday: a beach clean-up at Hulhumale’.

British Airways to start direct flights to Maldives

Filed under: Maldives Guide - 31 May 2009

British Airways is to launch new thrice-weekly direct services from Gatwick to Male’ in the Maldives from October 25, 2009. It will also begin operations to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. This will be the first time British Airways has flown to the Maldives, but will be a return for the airline’s colours to the Red Sea resort.

These routes will be operated by Boeing 777 aircraft with a three-class configuration: World Traveller, World Traveller Plus and Club World.

Richard Tams, British Airways’ head of UK & Ireland sales, said: “These new routes will be great assets to the BA network and a real winner with customers. They are both perfect holiday destinations, known for their great beaches and fantastic diving. We’re particularly pleased to be serving a completely new destination, the Maldives and returning to Sharm El Sheikh. We expect both routes to perform well.”

A wide range of good value hotels from independent properties to luxury five-star resorts in both the Maldives and Sharm el Sheikh will be available to book on ba.com giving further choice and flexibility to all holidaymakers.

Judy Jarvis, British Airways’ regional commercial manager, South Asia, said: “It gives me great pleasure to announce the start of non-stop flights from Male to the UK. The Maldives offers sunny beaches and unspoilt lagoons, a perfect combination for the ideal tropical holiday destination. I am confident that it will be very popular with our customers.”

Lead-in fares from Gatwick to Male will start from £629 return including taxes, fees and charges. Flights to the Maldives will depart from Gatwick on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday at 7:10pm returning from Male’ on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 1:20pm local time.

Tickets will be on sale from Friday May 29, 2009 through ba.com and direct through BA reservations on 0844 493 0787.

Maldives ranked as the Best Beach and Rest & Relaxation destination

Filed under: Maldives Guide - 16 Dec 2008

The Maldives has been ranked as the Best Country Brand for Beach and Best Country Brand for Rest and Relaxation for the year 2008. Maldives also ranked 2nd in the Best Country Brand for Natural Beauty and 3rd in the Best Country Brand for Resort and Lodging Options. The Country Brand Index was officially released during London’s World Travel Market in November 2008.

Country Brand Index is a comprehensive study of approximately 2,700 international business and leisure travellers from nine countries. It is conducted by FutureBrand, a global brand consultancy company and Weber Shandwick which is a public relations firm.

The main marketing slogan for the destination Maldives is “Maldives…the Sunny Side of Life”. The wellness and relaxation aspect is promoted under the theme of “Maldives…the Spiritual Side of Life”. Maldives was ranked number one in these two areas. Maldives emerged as the number one in both Beach and Rest and Relaxation categories after successfully competing with countries like Tahiti, Bahamas and Australia.

Maldives also won the ‘World’s Most Romantic Destination‘ award at the WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS last year.

Source: visitmaldives.com