Gan International Airport boosts holiday options to Maldives
The opening of international flights to Gan airport, adjacent to Addu township in the south of the Maldives, has opened a new era for the region – providing an alternative transportation offering that can save travelers valuable vacation time.
On Dec. 1, SriLankan Airlines started flying from Colombo to the upgraded Gan airport, formerly a UK Royal Air Force refilling base until 1976 when it became a domestic airport. SriLankan Airlines now departs Colombo for Gan four times a week – Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays — at 06:55 for the 110-minute journey, using a 150-seat Airbus 320.
“Since we consider Maldives our extended home market, we will explore every avenue to make sure that Gan receives the attention and visibility that it deserves,” said Saminda Perera, general manager-marketing, SriLankan Airlines.
Resorts in the south of the country have responded favorably.
“Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort has added an on-demand 30-minute Trans Maldivian Airlines sea plane service between Gan and our luxurious hideaway to meet the new service and provide additional convenience to our guests,” said John Allanson, general manager of Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort.
“Whether vacationers travel here to enjoy our spacious overwater villas, varied water sport activities or the Navasana Spa, we know the journey here is part of the holiday experience, so we warmly welcome the new option,” he said.
Allanson said Gan is “virtually on the doorstep” of the Outrigger and all the resorts in the southern atolls of Seenu, Gnaviyani, Gaafu Dhaalu and Gaafu Alifu.
Having international services landing directly in Gan 545 kms (340 miles) south of Male saves an estimated three hours on travel time to resorts in the south as it eliminates the need to connect with a scheduled commercial flight from Male to domestic airports in the south.
Hoteliers in the southern atolls now hope that airlines, especially those with big feeder hubs in the Middle East, will also introduce flights directly to Gan.
Gan international airport is currently served by domestic carriers Maldivian and Flyme, as well as SriLankan. Private jets are also able to land and park at Gan due to its new international status.
On SriLankan, round-trip tickets from Colombo to Gan start from around USD330. Outrigger is offering a limited-time New Year’s Deal up to 30 percent off when booking direct on www.Outrigger.com.
“For any tourist who wishes to spend a holiday in an ambience which is not overcrowded and where not many things come between you and the turquoise Indian ocean, the Gan area is an ideal destination….it is for tourists who explore deeper,” said Saminda.
BBM’s masterclass with acclaimed chef Bruno Menard attracts over 100 chefs
Bestbuy Maldives (BBM), a prominent supplier of high-quality food and beverage products in the Maldives, hosted another exciting edition of their highly anticipated Masterclass series on Saturday.
The day-long masterclass held at Kurumba Maldives featured the exceptional skills and expertise of renowned three-starred Michelin chef Bruno Menard.
The event was an exclusive affair, limited to invited guests. Over 100 chefs from 30 institutions registered for the event, showing the popularity of the series with practicing and aspiring chefs in the country.
BBM’s Masterclass series is an initiative that aims to promote culinary excellence and bring together professional and aspiring chefs in the Maldives community. Working in collaboration with renowned international brands like IREKS and Caffé Vergnano, BBM invites distinguished chefs from the Maldives’ resorts to learn from globally recognised culinary masters.
Menard is a well-respected figure in the culinary world, with an impressive career spanning over 38 years. With 24 years of experience in Asia and 15 years in Europe, Bruno has established a reputation for his innovative and creative cooking techniques. His culinary prowess has been acknowledged with three prestigious Michelin stars, placing him among the world’s greatest chefs. Adding to his accomplishments, he has also served as a judge on Master Chef Asia.
During the Masterclass event, Menard captivated the audience by showcasing the preparation of a delightful full-course meal. The Masterclass was divided into two sessions: the morning session focusing on hot applications (Karan Beef) and the post-lunch session showcasing desserts (Veliche).
“We are thrilled to have hosted Chef Bruno Menard for our Masterclass series. The event was a great success, and we received positive feedback from the participants. We believe that events like these will help elevate the culinary industry and local talents in the Maldives, and we look forward to hosting more events in the future,” said AVS Subrahmanyam, Chief Operating Officer of Bestbuy Maldives.
BBM demonstrated its commitment to supporting local talent by reserving 30% of the seats for Maldivian chefs. Additionally, they reserved 10 seats exclusively for students from the Faculty of Hospitality Studies (FHTS) at Maldives National University (MNU), providing them a unique learning opportunity.
Speaking at the opening of the event, Chef Guild of Maldives Exco Member Aminath Shaanee highlighted BBM’s support to the Maldivian team of six young chefs who made their debut in the Alen Thong Golden Coffee Pot Challenge 2023 and achieved an impressive bronze medal earlier this year
Competing against teams from eight other countries, the Maldivian team showcased exceptional talent, creativity, and precision, earning well-deserved recognition for their culinary skills. This marked the first participation of the Maldives in the prestigious competition held at the Emirates Salon Culinaire in Sharjah, UAE.
BBM’s Masterclass series has become highly anticipated within the Maldivian culinary community. It serves as a platform for chefs to enhance their skills, establish valuable connections with industry experts, and draw inspiration from culinary luminaries like Menard.
Soneva announces opening of third Maldives retreat: Soneva Secret, a haven of barefoot luxury and personalized experiences
Soneva is set to expand its presence in the Maldives with the opening of its third retreat by the end of 2023. Co-founder Sonu Shivdasani confirmed the news during a webinar with WGSN, where he provided a glimpse into the upcoming property.
The new resort, named Soneva Secret, will offer a remote and highly private experience, catering to those seeking a personalized getaway. With an estimated cost of US$40 million, the property will feature a collection of luxurious villas and residences, designed to celebrate the beauty of nature.
Shivdasani revealed that each villa at Soneva Secret was built at a cost exceeding US$3 million, showcasing the brand’s commitment to providing a truly lavish experience for its guests. To ensure personalized service, each villa will be equipped with its own private butler, chef de partie, and runner, attending to guests’ needs and preferences.
While the opening is anticipated to take place at the end of the year, further details about Soneva Secret will be unveiled in September, building anticipation among luxury travelers and avid fans of the brand.
In addition to the upcoming property, Shivdasani expressed the brand’s aspirations for future expansion. Plans include the opening of a fourth Soneva Maldives resort and a debut in Japan, specifically in Okinawa. However, these ventures have yet to be confirmed, leaving enthusiasts eager for further announcements from Soneva.
Soneva currently operates three properties in the Maldives, namely Soneva Fushi, Soneva in Aqua (the company’s chartered yacht), and Soneva Jani. The brand has also established a presence in Koh Kood, Thailand, with Soneva Kiri.
Developed by the visionary husband and wife team, Sonu and Eva Shivdasani, Soneva’s core philosophy revolves around the acronym SLOW LIFE: sustainable, local, organic, wellness, learning, inspiring, and fun experiences. This commitment to holistic well-being is reflected in the brand’s carefully crafted spas, wellness programs, and cuisine, all under the umbrella of its signature holistic spa brand, Soneva Soul.
With the forthcoming opening of Soneva Secret, Soneva continues to redefine luxury hospitality in the Maldives and beyond. Travelers seeking exclusive, nature-focused experiences coupled with unparalleled service can look forward to immersing themselves in the world of Soneva.
Al Dahr FZC introduces eco-friendly cassava bags to Maldives
Al Dahr FZC, is making strides in the eco-friendly products market with the introduction of their innovative Cassava Bags. These bags are set to revolutionize the way we think about single-use plastics, offering a sustainable alternative that is 100% natural, recyclable, and compostable.
Al Dahr FZC has established itself as a leading provider of hospitality and hotel supply products, focusing on eco-responsible business practices. With a commitment to reducing their ecological footprint, the company aims to be part of the global movement towards a greener future. The introduction of Cassava Bags aligns perfectly with their vision of offering environmentally friendly solutions to their clients.
Cassava plants, known as the root of the century, possess remarkable resilience and productivity even in high-temperature conditions. What sets Cassava Bags apart is their composition. These bags are exclusively made from root starch obtained from cassava plants, making them 100% natural. This unique material renders them fully recyclable and compostable, making them a sustainable choice for environmentally conscious consumers.
Unlike traditional plastic bags, Cassava Bags are designed to dissolve slowly in water, posing no harm to the environment. This characteristic is particularly significant for countries like the Maldives, an island nation surrounded by the ocean. By using these bags, individuals can contribute to the preservation of ocean life without worrying about creating any harmful byproducts.
Not only are Cassava Bags environmentally friendly, but they also offer practicality and durability. These bags have a load capacity of up to 7 kg, depending on the type, size, and thickness. They are suitable for various uses and can be reused multiple times, providing a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to conventional plastic bags.
When disposed of in soil, Cassava Bags take approximately three to six months to degrade completely. In water, they dissolve within a few days, and even in hot water at 90°C, they dissolve within approximately three minutes. These impressive degradation rates ensure that Cassava Bags leave minimal environmental impact.
Al Dahr FZC, a privately owned general trading company, has established itself as a pioneer in providing cost-effective solutions to clients worldwide while upholding high standards of quality and delivery. Their commitment to innovation is evident through their in-house development of innovative products that cater to the evolving needs of their clients.
As consumers become increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability, the demand for eco-friendly alternatives is on the rise. Al Dahr FZC’s introduction of Cassava Bags demonstrates their dedication to meeting this demand and offering a practical solution that allows individuals to contribute to a greener planet.
In the quest for a more sustainable future, Cassava Bags stand out as a practical, eco-friendly, and versatile alternative to traditional plastic bags. Al Dahr FZC’s commitment to promoting eco-responsible business practices sets an example for other companies to follow. Together, we can make a difference by embracing sustainable choices and supporting innovative solutions like Cassava Bags.
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