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Soneva Fushi To Host Third Six Senses SLOW LIFE Symposium

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Maldives Promotion House – This October, Soneva Fushi by Six Senses, will host the third Six Senses “S.L.O.W. LIFE Symposium” from 6th to 9th. Convening world-leading thinkers, policy makers and business leaders, the symposium aims to accelerate progress towards sustainable business practices in the tourism industry.

The participants will join hands with the government to confront the principle challenges facing the travel and tourism industry, including low-carbon infrastructure, transportation, resort management and threatened biodiversity according to the organizers. Attendees will also share insights, projections and plans, making connections that could influence the future direction of the tourism industry.

“This is not just any old symposium on eco-tourism, but one where walking the talk about eco-tourism comes naturally and where proven leadership is all around us.  I suspect we all believe that the very idea of a sustainable future for humankind may well depend more on this industry than on any other,” Founder and Director of Forum for the Future, Jonathon Porritt, said during the SLOW LIFE Symposium in 2010.

Sir Richard Branson and American actor and environmental campaigner, Edward Norton are among the pantheon of global environmental leaders who are set to speak at the symposium. Sir Richard is scheduled to talk about the challenge of a changing environment to his business portfolio. He will also discuss the need for the Virgin empire to evolve rapidly to meet these changes and the steps he is already taking in his businesses and through organisations like the Carbon War Room.

He will further stress on alternative fuel sources and new technologies to power Virgin’s fleet of trains and aircrafts and the need to adapt buildings and infrastructure to meet the challenges of rising fossil fuel prices and to stem carbon emissions.

Edward Norton will speak about the benefits that the tourism industry can bring to local eco-systems, wildlife and communities.  He will take examples from large wildlife reserves that might otherwise be developed as mines or farms and the mutual benefit of supporting communities to protect their local environment.

His focus will mainly be on the role that tourism can play in implementing ‘Best Practice’ on both a local and global scale, and how visionary policy makers and business leaders can form an alliance, particularly in support of small island states. Mr Norton will draw on his role as President of the board of trustees of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust.

Adventurer and environmentalist David de Rothschild will also be attending this year’s symposium. A founder of myoo.com, a group that uses exploration and storytelling as a way to give nature a voice, and for his headline-grabbing adventures such as the Plastiki expedition which involved sailing across the Pacific on a catamaran made entirely with reclaimed plastic bottles, de Rothschild will be a big asset in helping communicate the symposium’s findings and messages.  

Others scheduled to speak include President Mohamed Nasheed of Maldives and Sonu Shivdasani, Chairman and CEO of Six Senses, the luxury resort company at the forefront of eco-tourism innovation, Jean Ballandras, Secretary General for the Reunion Islands, Jonathon Porritt, Forum for the Future, Tim Smit, Co-Founder and CEO of the Eden Project; Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau and Founder of Plant A Fish, Chris Gorrell-Barnes of Blue Foundation and Mark Lynas, Author and Climate Change Advisor to President Nasheed.

“Tourism does so much good for sustainability. If it wasn’t for tourism, most of the fantastic reserves in South Africa or Namibia would be mines or farms. The land would go to waste. It would be stripped of lumber. Animals would be killed and eaten. The thing we can do as individuals is to try and make tourism sustainable,” Chairman and CEO of Six Senses, Sonu Shivdasani said.

“Six Senses has a voice within the travel and tourism industry and we want to use our voice to encourage every level of the industry to be more sustainable in its choices. The travel and tourism industry needs to do more. We want our findings to reach the heart of the industry, going right back to investment and development stages.”

Symposium attendees will engage in three days and three evenings of intimate conversations, insightful presentations and robust panel discussions. Attendees will discuss ways in which the tourism industry, small islands and tropical states can join forces to mutually secure prosperous and sustainable economic futures.

Amongst others, discussion topics will include the low-carbon development targets of the Cartagena Dialogue group of progressive countries and the impact this may have on international policy; how to turn a community sustainable; the coming global energy crisis and how it might affect small island states; protecting marine bio-diversity; engaging local communities in ambitious carbon reduction targets; investing in sustainable technologies and the challenge of adapting transportation in a low-carbon economy; and the consequences of inaction.

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Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives appoints Warren Moore as Executive Chef

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Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives has announced the appointment of Warren Moore as the resort’s new Executive Chef. 

Chef Warren Moore hailing from South Africa, brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise,  having earned his Culinary Degree at City and Guilds Culinary Institute. With over 25 years of  distinguished service in the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry, Chef Warren is poised to elevate the  culinary offerings at Seaside Finolhu to new heights. 

In his previous role, Chef Warren served as Executive Chef at Jawakara Maldives, where he showcased  his culinary prowess and leadership skills. Prior to that, he spent seven years honing his craft within  various properties of the esteemed Crown and Champa Resorts Group. His culinary journey has taken  him across continents, including stints in South Africa, Mozambique, London, and the United States. 

As the Executive Chef at Seaside Finolhu, Chef Warren will oversee all culinary operations, ensuring  the highest standards of hygiene and food quality are maintained. His responsibilities include  supervising daily kitchen operations, managing food production, and leading kitchen staff with a focus  on excellence and innovation.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Warren Moore to our team at Seaside Finolhu,” said Steven Phillips  General Manager of Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives. “His extensive experience and passion for  culinary excellence will undoubtedly enhance the dining experience for our guests and further solidify  our reputation as a gastronomic heaven in the Maldives.” 

With Chef Warren Moore at the helm, Seaside Finolhu looks forward to delivering unforgettable  culinary experiences that celebrate the rich flavours of the Maldives and beyond. 

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W Maldives promotes Ahmed Zahir and Ismail Saeed to key management positions

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W Maldives has announced the well-deserved promotions of two of its dedicated team members, Ahmed Zahir and Ismail Saeed, effective April 15th, 2024.

Ahmed Zahir, known as Coacha, has been promoted from Welcome Manager to Rooms Division Manager. Coacha’s journey at W Maldives began in December 2010 as a Welcome Agent. Over the past 13 years, he has consistently demonstrated a commitment to excellence, holding various roles within the Welcome department.

Known for his dedication to providing exceptional guest experiences and his outstanding interpersonal skills, Coacha is a true asset to the W Maldives team. His experience extends beyond the resort, having served as a task force member at the St. Regis Red Sea and as a pre-opening trainer. He is also actively participating in the Marriott Kurimagu Program, a program designed to cultivate Maldivian leadership in the hospitality industry. With his extensive knowledge of Welcome operations, Coacha is perfectly suited for his new role as Rooms Division Manager.

Ismail Saeed, also known as Saito, has been promoted from Lounge Manager to Welcome Manager. Saito’s W Maldives story began in March 2010 as a Welcome Agent. He then transitioned to airport operations as a Lounge Ambassador in 2013. Throughout his tenure, Saito has displayed a strong commitment to personal growth, consistently developing his skillset. He has participated in a cross-exposure program at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, working in Housekeeping, and has also supported the resort’s Style operations in the past three months. This diverse experience across multiple departments makes Saito a perfect fit for his new role as Welcome Manager.

The appointments of Ahmed Zahir and Ismail Saeed underscore W Maldives’ commitment to nurturing talent and promoting from within. Both individuals bring a wealth of experience, dedication, and innovation to their respective roles, promising to further enhance the guest experience and uphold the resort’s reputation for excellence.

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Marriott International doubles down on luxury in the Maldives with focus on sustainability and local talent

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Marriott International is solidifying its position as a leader in Maldivian luxury hospitality, boasting seven resorts across the archipelago’s stunning atolls. In an interview with Hotelier Maldives, Oriol Montal, Managing Director, Luxury, Asia Pacific (excluding China) at Marriott International, shed light on the company’s strategy for the region.

“In Marriott International’s luxury segment, we proudly feature seven classic and distinctive luxury brand,” said Montal. “Currently, in the Maldives, we have four luxury brands present: The Ritz-Carlton, The St. Regis, JW Marriott, and W Hotels. Each brand possesses its own unique identity.”

The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

Marriott International’s Maldivian portfolio leans towards high-end experiences, with distinct identities for each brand. From the heritage-rich St. Regis to the trendy W Maldives, meticulous staff selection ensures each guest encounters the brand’s unique ethos, as Montal explains: “Maintaining each brand’s identity begins with our recruitment process, where we carefully select team members who fit the brand’s culture. W Hotels favours a casual approach, while classic luxury brands demands a more formal demeanour to deliver an exceptional experience.”

Beyond luxury, Marriott International prioritizes giving back. The Marriott International Maldives Apprenticeship Program (MIMAP) recently graduated over 40 students, highlighting the company’s dedication to cultivating local talent. This initiative, a collaboration with the Maldivian government, equips apprentices with both theoretical knowledge and practical experience.

“For Marriott International, community impact is paramount,” said Montal. “Our comprehensive programme aims to benefit the communities where we operate. Take, for instance, the Marriott International Maldives Apprenticeship Program (MIMAP), which recently saw over 40 students graduate. This historic partnership with the Maldivian government showcases our dedication to fostering local talent.”

The first graduating class of the Marriott International Maldives Apprenticeship Program (MIMAP)

The Maldives’ tourism industry has seen a swift recovery due to its natural social distancing advantage – one island, one resort. This aligns perfectly with current luxury travel trends, where privacy and pristine environments are paramount. Moreover, the country’s longstanding commitment to sustainability, including the elimination of single-use plastics, resonates with today’s eco-conscious travelers.

Marriott International echoes this focus on environmental responsibility. With a dedicated Director of Sustainability and property-level champions, the company has set ambitious goals for water and food waste reduction in its Maldivian resorts. Additionally, guest programs like “Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy” connect travelers with local communities and conservation efforts.

Coral restoration at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa

“The Maldives led the way in post-pandemic tourism reopening, setting standards adopted by many countries, which facilitated its rapid recovery,” observed Montal. “Luxury travellers now seek privacy, space, and nature, preferences that align with the Maldives’ one-island-one-resort policy. The country’s longstanding commitment to sustainability, including eliminating single-use plastics, resonates more than ever.”

Looking ahead, Marriott International’s Asia Pacific strategy prioritizes retaining its luxury leadership position. Talent acquisition and development are a cornerstone of this plan, especially in the Maldives with its upcoming resort expansions. MIMAP’s second iteration, launched in partnership with local institutions, further strengthens this commitment.

By fostering a skilled local workforce, Marriott International can ensure its continued success in the Maldives while contributing to the nation’s sustainable growth and community well-being.

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