Awareness of environmental issues are all around us these days. We see it in the news where we are reminded of the issues with plastic waste, polar bears becoming extinct, our sea life is suffering in so many ways from the waste disposal issues to rising sea temperatures – above and below ground we seem to be fighting a losing battle with ice bergs melting and coral reefs fading away.
“But what can I do? I can’t make a big impact on my own so why bother at all?”
Well actually there are plenty of things you can do when you are at home and even when travelling abroad for your vacations.
What is eco tourism?
Secret Paradise Maldives is an Eco Tourism Business encouraging travellers to visit places and businesses who work hard to sustain the natural areas of a country, through education and well-being. We ensure that local communities receive a fare share of the revenue generated through these initiatives utilising local produce, local businesses, local employment, as well as creating ways to sustain the natural beauty of the environment around them and take action to protect where needed.
How do I know I am travelling to an eco friendly business?
If a business or company is actively working alongside local communities and helping sustain or protect their culture and environment then you can be sure they will be shouting very loud about it.
The Maldives for example has an organisation called Save the Beach where regular beach clean ups are organised as well as amazing initiatives like reef monitoring and rehabilitation are taking place and the team at Secret Paradise Maldives actively work with them on their many projects.
Save the Beach also work with us to offer educational trips and tours for tourists who are interested in learning more about the projects and also show them what they can do to help. These tours are a wonderful way to experience the gorgeous local islands and meet the local people who are always so warm and friendly.
Guest Houses and Local Islands versus Resorts
In 2009 the Maldivian government changed the laws to allow tourism on local islands. This created huge opportunities for local families to open their own guest houses and boutique hotels. Many of them employ their own family members and will buy produce from local suppliers on their islands creating a ripple effect for eco tourism within their local communities. Resorts in the Maldives are situated on their own self contained islands so therefore much of the revenue is being put back into sustaining their private islands with a large proportion of it actually leaving the country. Many resorts however do take environmental issues very seriously and are making huge efforts to assist in this area. Visiting and staying in the local guest houses however not only allows you to do your part for ecotourism but also gives you an opportunity to see how the local people live, eat locally prepared foods and believe us there is nothing better than tasting traditional meals prepared by the local residents who have grown up with these foods.
A cultural experience – whether you are travelling alone, in a couple, group or family the local island guest houses are a fantastic way to experience the best of the Maldives. If you are travelling with children they get to experience local cultures and play with local children who love nothing more than making new friends and practising their English language skills. You can enjoy an active social time on the islands or a tranquil relaxing time. With a strong Islamic culture many of the local women wear head scarves called hijabs and alcohol is not prohibited. But with the intense heat and so many activities to enjoy it is rarely missed. However for those who do wish to enjoy a glass of wine or beer, day trips to resorts can be organised by your guest house host.
Why travel with Secret Paradise Maldives Eco Trips?
Secret Paradise Maldives offer an array of tours for the eco tourist. All our trips are focused on learning about the local islands, culture and also giving back to the local economy by utilising local guest houses and boutique hotels run by Maldivian families. But we haven’t forgotten about the crystal clear waters surrounding the beautiful islands in the Indian Ocean – snorkelling and scuba diving is available also using eco friendly businesses to ensure our underwater world is not disrupted by inquisitive tourists!
Our team have specially designed trips and tours for visitors to the Maldives, offering you the opportunity to enjoy local traditions in the heart of the community. You can join our local family and your guide for an authentic Maldivian dinner in their home, you can spend the day accompanied by your guide visiting key sites of interest in local islands as well as discovering a few points off the beaten track sharing information on Maldivian culture and tradition.
Eco trips are more expensive and for high end earners
Agreed that the perception is this but actually visiting local islands, local businesses and employing local resident’s means that the overheads are not as high as elite resorts where they have international staff and internationally built properties. So if you chose right there are eco travel options to suit every budget.
Where do I find more information about the best vacation for me?
At Secret Paradise Maldives we are always available to answer questions for you. We work with many guest houses and islands across the Maldives and we can offer a wide range of vacation packages for all types of travellers and budgets. Drop us a line today and say hi!
Check out our ‘Responsible Tourism Policy’ on our website.
We were long listed for the World Travel Responsible Tourism Awards in 2015