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South Ari Atoll Celebrates Third Annual Whale Shark Festival


on – The 3rd annual Maldives Whale Shark Festival, organised by Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWRP) was bigger and better than ever before, with participants from local communities, throughout Maldives and from around the world!

This year’s Festival saw the participation of 6 local islands: Dhigurah, Maamigili, Fenfushi, Dhangethi, Mahibadhoo, and Mandhoo, collaborating with our dynamic team of highly experienced Maldivian Artists Maeha Zahir, Jauna Nafiz, Dhahau Naseem, Ali Rishwan and Arizlaan, as well as our Festival Storytelling Facilitator, Fazail Lutfi.

The festival kicked off on Friday with ScienceFEST, a conference of Researchers, Marine Biologists and Community members, in Dhigurah, Alif Dhaal Atoll. A new aspect of the Festival, ScienceFEST was an opportunity to discuss conservation projects in the area, share research and celebrate the work of Conservation NGO’s in the Maldives. The event was a big success with 20 presenters attending including representatives from environmental groups Manta Trust and Damage Control.

“It was really great that we were able to so many people together for the Science FEST to be able to generate some really wonderful discussions between everybody and especially to have the Deputy Minister present as well.” Katie Hindle, In-Field Manager, Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme.

Yesterday, on the island of Maamigili in Alif Dhaal Atoll, 500 people came together to celebrate the marine life of South Ari Atoll and the majestic whale sharks that call it home.

The festivities of the day kicked off with huge inter- island whale shark quiz complete with a life size whale shark “bodumas” assault course and a 20ft interactive world map. Cultural stories from each island came alive with a combination of traditional story telling techniques, raivaru and choreography performed by community members, councilors and school children.

Whale Shark Festival

The procession was a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes glittering in the sunshine, as huge kinetic whale shark sculptures danced their way through the streets of Maamigili, accompanied by 3 bodu-beru bands. Each island donned the costumes and mobile artwork which they had made in collaboration with their festival artist in residence and wove their way through the streets. People of ages came together, inspired by the Whale Shark and Maldivian Marine Life, to be part of the festival, creating a feast of color and music that echoed across the host island.

Afterwards, the three festival judges presented awards to Dhangethi for winning the quiz, Dhigurah for best costume, to Maamigili for best Mascot (Kinetic Whale Shark Sculpture), and to Mahibadhoo for best Story Performance. The island team from Dhigurah was awarded the Festival Trophy for best overall contribution before the Festival finale performance kicked off with performances from Dhigurah, Maamigili and Mahibado Bodu-Beru bands. The whole day was brought to a fantastic conclusion with a performance by the Maldivian singing sensation Unoosha with thanks to our Festival Partner Lux.

“This is more than just a Festival it is a celebration of unity within the community. How much we take care of our natural environment. Great team work. Congratulations to the MWSRP and its festival team. Thank you to LUX* Maldives for inviting me to this event, it’s an amazing event. Hope the event continues, the Festival brings boost for everybody, especially because the message of this Festival to me is that everybody has play their part in preserving the natural beauty of this country”. Unoosha, Singer.

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Sun Siyam Resorts commemorates World Tourism Day 2023 with focus on sustainable tourism, green investment



Sun Siyam Resorts marked World Tourism Day 2023, embracing the theme of ‘Tourism and Green Investment’ with a series of heartwarming and eco-conscious activities across its five wonderful properties. This year’s celebrations centred around the commitment to sustainable tourism and environmental conservation, exemplifying Sun Siyam Resorts’ unwavering dedication to the cause of responsible travel.

Sun Siyam Iru Veli led the way with a diverse range of activities that left a lasting impression on guests and the local community. The resort welcomed students from nearby island schools, providing them with an immersive experience that included a guided tour and a wholesome lunch at Aqua. This initiative aimed to inspire young minds and foster a deeper understanding of the tourism industry. In addition to that and in alignment with Sun Siyam Resorts’ commitment to environmental conservation, guests, school students, and team members participated in a tree planting session, a video presentation celebrating the essence of World Tourism Day, and an energy conservation practice with an “Electricity Shutdown” for an hour.

Families and kids were having a fantastic time during the painting competition at the Kid’s Club, the mini-olympics and beach fiesta, an exhilarating grand raffle draw. The evening concluded with a vibrant cultural show and drama performance showcasing the talents of team members added a local touch to the festivities.

Sun Siyam Vilu Reef offered a special Maldivian arrival experience for all its guests on World Tourism Day and gifted each guest with a wooden heartfelt message symbolising the warm hospitality of the Maldives. A tree planting ceremony and several beach games for the whole family were carried out as well.

The highlight of Sun Siyam Iru Fushi’s celebration was a tree planting ceremony, where guests joined hands with resort staff to plant coconut trees. This symbolic act represented the resort’s ongoing commitment to offsetting its carbon footprint and preserving the natural beauty of the Maldivian landscape. A delightful cake-cutting ceremony took place at the resort’s main pavilion, fostering a sense of togetherness and unity in the pursuit of sustainable tourism. The celebration continued with a range of fun beach activities, including beach sack races, 3-leg races, and friendly tug-of-war games.

Siyam World and Sun Siyam Olhuveli dedicated the day to tree planting and coral planting sessions, aligning with their commitment to environmental conservation. Guests were treated to special screenings of the meaning of World Tourism Day, furthering their understanding of the significance of sustainable tourism.

World Tourism Day, observed annually on September 27th, is a global event aimed at promoting sustainable and responsible tourism while raising awareness about the social, cultural, and economic benefits of tourism worldwide.

Sun Siyam Resorts remains steadfast in its pledge to uphold sustainable practices and create memorable experiences that make a positive impact on the environment and local communities. The World Tourism Day celebrations are a testament to this unwavering commitment.

For more information about Sun Siyam Resorts and its sustainability initiatives, please visit the website at

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Two Michelin star chef presents culinary theatre of dreams at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas



Always looking for new ways to create extraordinary guest experiences on its secluded island paradise, Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas is set to push the boat out and take its guests on an amazing culinary adventure this November as the luxury Maldivian resort welcomes a very special guest chef to its award-winning SEA Underwater Restaurant. On November 13 and 14, guests at the resort will be treated to two exceptional evenings of gastronomic delights served up by renowned two Michelin star chef, Mano Thevar.

Overseeing the gastronomic extravaganza, Chef Mano Thevar is the owner of Thevar, a two Michelin-starred Modern Indian restaurant in Singapore which specialises in a creative multi-course menu that is rooted in Indian traditions and crafted with European techniques and Japanese produce. Chef Mano is now set to take his Michelin star show on the road when he hosts the Culinary Theatre of Dreams at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas this November.

Born and raised in the diverse and vibrant surroundings of Penang, Malaysia, Chef Mano draws on his Indian heritage as he combines fresh, seasonal ingredients with modern European techniques to tantalise the palate with a delightful interplay of flavours. Having cut his teeth as a chef in Michelin-starred Guy Savoy and Waku Ghin restaurants, he opened Thevar in 2019. Chef Mano now holds the proud distinction of being the first Malaysian chef to have two Michelin stars to his name.

Taking his Michelin star show on the road, Chef Mano is set to delight diners at Anantara Kihavah this November when he hosts a Culinary Theatre of Dreams at SEA Underwater Restaurant. Situated six meters below the waves, the iconic SEA restaurant will immerse guests in a sensory journey like no other, allowing them to savour world-class cuisine while surrounded by the mesmerising aquatic world of the Maldives.

The gastronomic adventure begins on November 13, 2023 with the first of two consecutive nights of underwater dining at the resort’s iconic SEA Underwater Restaurant as part of the highly anticipated Culinary Theatre of Dreams. For USD 325++ per person, the eagerly anticipated event will showcase a unique six-course menu crafted by Chef Mano specifically for this occasion, with the option for guests to choose between wine pairing and non-wine pairing experiences.

For more information or to book, call +960 664 4111, visit us at or email

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Canareef Resort Maldives: Paving the way for sustainable tourism



On the annual occasion of World Tourism Day, which falls on September 27th, Canareef Resort Maldives proudly reaffirmed its dedication to sustainability. This aligns seamlessly with this year’s theme, “Tourism for Inclusive Growth,” echoing Canareef’s unwavering commitment to preserving the pristine beauty of the Maldives while providing an unforgettable guest experience.

Sustainability Initiatives:

Energy Saving Notices in Villas: Canareef Resort Maldives is taking significant steps to conserve energy. In every villa, guests will find energy-saving notices, urging them to be mindful of their energy consumption. This small effort has a substantial impact, reducing the resort’s carbon footprint while maintaining guest comfort.

Homegrown Produce: The resort embraces sustainable agriculture by cultivating a variety of crops on-site, including lettuce, kankun, spinach, cucumber, chili, watermelon, tomato, eggplant, and banana, through an efficient hydroponic system. This practice ensures high-quality produce while conserving water, making it an environmentally responsible choice.

The Chef’s Garden: Canareef has recently established a herb garden, diligently cared for by its talented chefs. This garden enhances the flavor of the resort’s dishes and underscores its commitment to locally sourced, organic ingredients.

Eco-Friendly Straws: Plastic straws have been replaced with eco-friendly paper straws, reducing plastic waste and contributing to marine life preservation.

Reusable Glass Bottles: Canareef encourages sustainability by providing guests with reusable glass bottles as an alternative to disposable plastic water bottles.

Sustainable Lighting: Timer-controlled street lights reduce energy consumption without compromising safety, demonstrating the resort’s dedication to energy conservation.

Supporting Local Farmers: Canareef actively engages with local farmers, sourcing fresh produce to support the community and promote sustainable agriculture, enhancing the quality of dining and contributing to the welfare of neighboring communities.

Coral Conservation: The resort has initiated coral planting projects to protect and sustain the Maldives’ renowned coral reefs, ensuring their longevity and health for future generations.

Green Mobility: To reduce its carbon footprint, Canareef employs eco-friendly transportation options such as push bicycles, electric buggies, and electric motorcycles for guests and staff, enhancing the eco-friendliness of the guest experience.

Harnessing the Power of the Sun: The resort is pursuing a green energy future with plans to install solar panels, a clean and renewable energy source, to power its operations, reducing reliance on non-renewable energy sources.

Educating the Future Generation: In celebration of World Tourism Day, Canareef hosted students from Seenu Atoll school to introduce them to the world of tourism and showcase its sustainability initiatives, inspiring future leaders in the tourism industry to value and protect the environment.

Canareef Resort Maldives stands proudly at the forefront of sustainable tourism. Their eco-friendly initiatives are not just words but a way of life, inviting guests to experience the Maldives’ beauty while knowing their stay contributes to the preservation of this paradise. As the world celebrates World Tourism Day, Canareef Maldives invites all to join in their commitment to sustainable tourism, where every day is World Tourism Day.

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