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World Seagrass Day marks four years of seagrass conservation efforts in Maldives, what happens now?

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Four years ago, Six Senses Laamu, alongside 36 other tourist resorts, pledged to protect and promote Maldives seagrass meadows as a vital resource. The #ProtectMaldivesSeagrass campaign, launched by Six Senses Laamu and Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), aimed to raise awareness of the importance of these habitats and to encourage resorts to protect their meadows, using them as an attraction, rather than removing them.

The campaign focused on positive messaging, drawing from research and examples from across the world, to support the benefits of meadows to the Maldives economy, people, and environment. There is a wealth of research illustrating the benefits of seagrass to a myriad of marine life, from tiny snails and crabs, up to some ocean giants such as sea turtles and sharks.

“As a primary producer, seagrasses and the algae that grows on them form the base of a food chain that directly nourishes small grazing animals” explains Dr Paul York from James Cook University, Australia, who first visited Laamu’s seagrass meadows in early 2019. “These small creatures further support rays, fish and sharks; it really is a complex network leading all the way up to humans.”

“We are only just beginning to understand the value of seagrasses for Maldivian fisheries. In 2019, we recorded 141 species of fish in the seagrass meadows of Laamu Atoll. Up to 80 per cent of these were juveniles, including commercially important species like snappers, emperors, and groupers” explains Shaha Hashim, Maldives Programme Manager, BLUE.

Some of the larger animals are a huge draw to tourists, as evident at Six Senses Laamu where guests often comment on spotting green sea turtles, schools of sting rays and sharks from the villa decks near the meadows. In an effort to help guests connect with all marine ecosystems, the marine biologists at Six Senses Laamu conduct weekly seagrass snorkels and presentations for guests, in addition to including seagrass as a topic within the many kids’ programs at the resort.

“Seagrass is a great place to take kids in particular, it’s safe, shallow and there’s so much to see. “Kids can explore and see the whole ecosystem up close and even do their own mini-research projects in the meadows in a way that you cannot on a coral reef” explains Greg Holder, Six Senses Laamu’s Guest Education Coordinator, and host of the Junior Marine Biology program at the resort.

Despite this, it is no secret that things are changing across Maldives, as coral reef struggle to keep up with temperature rises, and increased storm surges erode islands faster than before. Nothing is more vital to altering this path than those that have been compensating for carbon emissions since the dawn of time.

“Seagrass ecosystems not only capture carbon, but they bury is for millennia” Peter Macreadie, the director of Blue Carbon Lab, Australia, explains. “If Maldives wants to start working towards changing the current trend of environmental impacts, it needs to start by protecting and promoting with these Blue Carbon ecosystems, seagrass meadows and mangrove forests”.

Following the COVID-19 closures, the Maldives tourism industry is back on its feet again and bringing with it thousands of guests from across the globe. “Resorts are open, guests are coming, now is the time to get back to focusing on these big conservation and environmental aims” explains Pip Roe, Head of Marine Conservation for Six Senses Laamu. “In the wake of the pandemic, guests are seeking transformative experiences when they travel. They want to learn, and they want to help, and they want to see their resort is helping too.”

Pip and the team hope to use events such as World Seagrass Day to raise awareness of the issue Maldives faces, and how guests and local communities can help. This year, Six Senses Laamu and BLUE will be sharing a media and information pack for resorts and organizations to share on social media. They will also be introducing a nation-wide seagrass monitoring initiative to provide vital information about just how important seagrass is to the country.

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Six Senses launches Mermaid Courses in Maldives

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Six Senses Laamu and Six Senses Kanuhura in the Maldives are making waves with the launch of an enchanting underwater experience – PADI Mermaid courses.

Now, guests aged six and above can embark on a magical journey guided by certified PADI scuba dive instructors. Aspiring mermaids and mermen will be equipped with a monofin, a type of swim fin that mimics the movements of dolphins, and colorful fabric tail, mirroring the hues of the ocean. Catering to various ages, interests, and skill levels, both resorts offer a range of courses from discovery to advanced. A professional photographer is available on request to capture personal fairytale-moments.

“We’re thrilled to introduce this fun new experience to our range of underwater offerings,” says Judith Scheibelberger, PADI trainer and resident mermaid expert at Six Senses Laamu, an IHG Hotels & Resorts property. “Our mermaid courses are not only a source of fun and excitement for kids but also invite adults to tap into their imagination and reconnect with their inner child. Beyond the entertainment aspect and capturing Instagram-worthy memories, participants will also gain valuable underwater skills and learn about the awe-inspiring secrets of the sea.”

Mermaid courses join a plethora of underwater experiences available to guests at both Maldivian Six Senses resorts, including snorkeling with turtles, vibrant coral reef explorations, and exhilarating diving adventures. The resorts boasts state-of-the-art dive centers that provide comprehensive services and expert guidance.

For young adventurers, both resorts also offer the PADI Seal Team programme, catering to junior divers aged eight and above. This program allows aspiring divers to explore the underwater world safely, through the five ‘AquaMissions,’ where participants can delve down to four meters, or the introductory PADI Bubblemaker experience, tailored for children aged eight to nine, allowing them to dive down to two meters.

“These experiences not only offer a glimpse into the mesmerising underwater world but also provide an opportunity for young divers to develop their confidence and diving skills while exploring the diversity of Maldivian reefs,” says Anne Hospital, Dive Manager of both resorts.

The brand’s Grow With Six Senses programme offers all of the dimensions of wellness, providing kids with opportunities to reconnect with nature and engage with their surroundings. Through immersive experiences in local culture, wellness, sustainability and social interactions, children spark their curiosity and gain valuable life skills. At the heart of this programme are the dedicated kid’s clubs known as ‘The Den’, which serve as hubs for exploration and discovery.

At Six Senses Laamu and Six Senses Kanuhura, one standout offering is the Mermaid course, which invites children on an underwater adventure amidst stunning turquoise panoramas. On land, the activities are equally diverse, ranging from enlightening garden tours to innovative waste-to-wealth workshops and interactive junior cooking classes. These experiences are designed to provide children with valuable life skills through hands-on play, ensuring a comprehensive and enriching journey for young guests at the resorts.

Prices for the PADI Mermaid Courses start from USD 150 for a 45-minute discovery session. For bookings and further information, please visit sixsenses.com or contact reservations-maldives@sixsenses.com.

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Encounter of majesty: Whale Shark sighting at Vilamendhoo Island Resort

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Measuring an impressive 6.5 meters, a majestic whale shark was recently spotted gliding gracefully through the enthralling house reef of Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa, just beyond the main jetty. This awe-inspiring sight captivated guests, who were fortunate enough to snorkel alongside this magnificent creature. As the whale shark meandered through the crystal-clear waters, guests paused their activities, enchanted by the rare opportunity to witness such a spectacular marine spectacle.

Whale sharks, the gentle giants of the ocean, are renowned for their majestic presence in the azure waters of South Ari Atoll where, Vilamendhoo is located. These magnificent creatures frequent the abundant house reefs of this tropical paradise, creating a mesmerizing spectacle for visitors. Alongside them, graceful manta rays glide effortlessly through the crystal-clear waters, while vibrant coral gardens teem with life beneath the surface. Each encounter with these marine wonders offers a glimpse into the rich biodiversity surrounding the island, captivating the hearts of all who venture into its depths, adding to the allure of this tropical paradise.

“The sighting of the whale shark has evoked an overwhelming wave of positivity among our guests, who have shared their sheer delight at the rare opportunity to encounter such a magnificent creature during their stay. For many, this unexpected marvel has transformed their holiday experience at Vilamendhoo into an unforgettable journey, solidifying our resort’s standing as a premier destination for ocean enthusiasts and nature lovers,” elucidated Mohamed Zahir, General Manager of Vilamendhoo.

Located on a pristine island measuring 900 meters long by 250 meters wide, Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa follows the cherished ‘One Island, One Resort’ concept for which the Maldives is renowned. Surrounded by a spectacular house reef teeming with marine life, guests are invited to explore the underwater wonders just a short swim away from the expansive sandy beaches.

Whether it’s diving into the depths of the ocean or snorkeling amidst vibrant coral gardens, Vilamendhoo offers the quintessential island adventure. The resort’s 184 rooms, each adorned in natural island style, provide the perfect sanctuary for relaxation after days filled with oceanic exploration.

To reach this tropical haven, guests embark on a scenic seaplane transfer from Velana International Airport, enjoying a breathtaking 25-minute flight over the mesmerizing atolls of the Maldives.

In conclusion, the sighting of a whale shark at Vilamendhoo serves as a testament to the unparalleled beauty and biodiversity of the Maldives’ marine environment. As travelers seek meaningful encounters with nature, Vilamendhoo stands ready to welcome them into a world where every moment is filled with wonder and awe.

Discover paradise at Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa in the Maldives. With its pristine beaches, azure waters, and luxurious accommodations, Vilamendhoo offers the perfect retreat for relaxation and oceanic exploration. Nestled in the South Ari Atoll, this resort follows the cherished ‘One Island, One Resort’ concept, providing guests with a true tropical escape. Experience the magic of the Maldives with a scenic 25-minute seaplane transfer from Velana International Airport, and indulge in 184 rooms adorned in natural island style.

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Siyam World Maldives to host multitude of Spring Football Camps by international legends

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As part of its ongoing line-up of five-star experiences, Siyam World Maldives kicked off a series of unforgettable spring football camps featuring star players Wayne Bridge, Adrian San Miguel Castillo, Francesco Totti, and Michael Owen.

With Spring symbolizing new beginnings, Siyam World Maldives encouraged guests to let their football skills blossom over a series of football camps at its state-of-the-art sports complex and FIFA size soccer pitch at The World Sports Arena. Participants enjoyed world-class coaching and immersive experiences designed to enhance their football techniques and passion for the sport.

The action-packed schedule began with Spanish goalkeeper Adrian San Miguel Castillo, who graced the sandy shores from 19th to 23rd March. Adrian, a key player for Liverpool FC and the Andalusia National team, helped younger guests understand how to deal with pressure and develop key life skills, including a performance mindset.

Next on the roster was Wayne Bridge, the renowned English left-back, who returned to Siyam World for a second time already, from 22nd to 31st March. With his infectious energy and wealth of experience from clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City, Wayne inspired guests to “tackle” challenges head-on and score big on and off the field.

Following Wayne’s lead was the legendary Francesco Totti, lighting up Siyam World for a second time as well, from 28th March to 4th April. Known for his flair and loyalty to AS Roma, Totti brought a touch of Italian passion to the Maldives, teaching participants the art of precision and creativity in football.

Once described by Maradona as “the best player he has ever seen”, the gifted World Cup winner and legendarily loyal one-club player (AS Roma) will be on hand to help holidaymakers hone their football skills and play to their full potential.

Closing out the star-studded lineup was Michael Owen, the youngest-ever Ballon d’Or winner, who graced Siyam World from 1st to 5th April as part of the recently announced partnership with Football Escapes. Michael’s lightning-fast moves and goal-scoring prowess electrified the pitch, inspiring a new generation of football stars. Throughout the action-packed week, participants savored daily football sessions led by Owen, a team of UEFA-licensed coaches, and internet sensation Eman – popularly known as SV2 from his viral YouTube skills videos.

Dressed in their personalized Rascal training kits, young players aged from five to 15 seized the perfect opportunity to refine all aspects of their game, from tactics to technical skills. To add to the holiday experience, families enjoyed a memorable parents’ match, providing moms and dads with a chance to showcase their skills on the pitch.

Later this year, and in collaboration with Football Escapes, Rio Ferdinand will also be hosting a football camp from 28 October to 1 November. One of the most decorated English footballers of all time and famous for being one of world’s best defenders, Ferdinand will be bringing the skills he learned whilst playing for West Ham, Manchester United and Leeds United plus the England national team.

Ausy Waseem, Resort Manager at Siyam World highlights: “At Siyam World, we are undoubtedly a paradise for sports enthusiasts, offering exceptional facilities for both water and land sports. My passion for football, which began in childhood collecting jerseys of football legends, is embodied in our FIFA-regulation football field. We host many football aficionados, including owners of prized jerseys and past champions who still share a deep love for the game. Siyam World is where sportsmanship thrives, providing an unparalleled destination for active travelers.”

The incredible resort has had the pleasure of hosting several other esteemed football legends. Italian champions Nicola Ventola graced the resort in January, while Bobo Vieri and Marco Materazzi also showcased their skills on the pitch. Joining them were players like Juan Sebastián Verón, Esteban Cambiasso, Roberto Pires, Eric Abidal, Carlos Puyol, and Jay Jay Okocha, creating an unforgettable lineup of football stars at Siyam World.

For the full holiday experience, Siyam World ensures guests have as much fun off as on the pitch. The unapologetically quirky, all-embracing five-star all-inclusive island destination transcends cultures and borders to offer guests an ever-expanding array of ‘never-seen-before’ experiences – from the Indian Ocean’s biggest floating water park to the Maldives’ first resort horse ranch. The natural 54-hectare island resort boasts an enticing variety of 16 accommodation categories ranging from 89 to 3,000 square metres, from lush Pool Beach Villas, expansive Beach Suites and breathtaking Beach Residences, to playful overwater Villas complete with irresistible water slides. An exclusive enclave, The Residences at Siyam World, also features stunning Grand Water Pavilions and 1–4-bedroom residences with private pools. All accommodation types overlook the pristine Maldivian waters, come with direct access to the ocean and feature generously proportioned indoor and outdoor living spaces with private pools.

Siyam World, Maldives is located in the popular Noonu Atoll, a mere 40 minutes’ direct seaplane ride from Velana International Airport, and also accessible via a 30-minute domestic flight to Maafaru Airport followed by a 10-minute speedboat trip.

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