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Local, international speakers take to stage at TEDxBaaAtoll

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The Baa Atoll recently hosted the Maldives’ first-ever edition of TEDx on March 19, 2022. Joining the international community of TED-inspired events, TEDxBaaAtoll saw around 100 invited guests including international guests, island council representatives and local Maldivians attend the talks live at Soneva Fushi, a world-renowned resort on Kunfunadhoo, one of the largest islands in the atoll and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. In addition to the guests at the resort, participants from around the globe were able to join the live stream of the event.

The independently organised event, licensed by TED, featured local and international voices and TED talk videos under the theme of ‘Slow Life’. In a world where everything happens at full speed, Slow Life focuses on the ways we can find a deeper purpose beyond the superficial by reconnecting with the earth to living in harmony with the natural environment; as well as working hand-in-hand with communities to make the world a better place; and nurturing our physical and mental wellbeing to be the very best we can be.

As the sun began to set over the Indian Ocean, the event kicked off with a sustainability market and glass exhibition, which highlighted some of the sustainability initiatives currently in place on the island. A warm welcome and an opening announcement by the event moderator was then followed by an introductory video from TED curator Chris Anderson.

Under the light of the stars above them and with the sound of waves crashing in the background, each speaker took to the stage to share their own unique stories and ideas on what Slow Life means to them.

First up to the platform and sporting a full respirator mask and pesticide sprayer, entomologist Akib Jahir laid out his ambitious plan to tackle the world’s most dangerous animal – the mosquito – without the need for toxic chemical solutions. Determined to reduce the number of mosquitoes with nothing but the use of a revolutionary mosquito trap, Akib and his team have virtually eliminated the risk of mosquito-borne disease on the island.

Maldivian professional diver and surfer, as well as an advocate for marine conservation, Shaziya ‘Saazu’ Saeed followed to discuss how being more mindful and in tune with the ocean, or what she terms as “oceaned”, can hold the key to a healthier, happier life.

Bruce Bromley, a highly experienced Chief Financial Officer and trustee for a not-for-profit foundation focused on mitigating the impacts of climate change, delved into the world of finance to reveal why every CFO should also be a company’s Chief Sustainability Officer.

The youngest of the speakers, thirteen-year-old Maldivian school girl Yala Shameem talked about why it is so important for schools to adapt their teaching methods to prepare children to become future leaders. Sharing her own experiences as a student, Yala eloquently went on to explain how by removing the pressure of test papers and grading systems, students can build their self-confidence as equals amongst their peers.

Founder and managing director of a Swiss NGO working on coral restoration projects in the Maldives, Ahmad ‘Aki’ Allahgholi looked at how with just a little help from technology, we can restore and preserve our coral reefs.

Technology management specialist and local Maldivian, Aishath Adnan discussed ways to encourage more women to pursue a career in the tech industry.

Maldivian cultural anthropologist, Malsa Maaz who is currently studying how the human body holds and transmits cultural knowledge, highlighted ways to truly learn and appreciate culture.

Local entrepreneur and mentor, Hussain ‘Sendi’ Rasheed, a pioneer of the region’s diving industry and the Maldives’ first PADI-certified course director, shared why seaweed is much more than a weed and how it could be an essential ingredient in our fight against climate change.

And Carissa Nimah, a Guardian of the Brand (Chief Commercial Officer), who has worked with some of the world’s leading luxury brands, looked at why a job title might matter more than we think and what would happen if everyone had a job title that motivated and inspired them to become the most creative and purpose-driven version of themselves?

Adding a local touch, attendees were also treated to live performances of the boduberu, a traditional form of Maldivian drumming, by Dharavandhoo-based group Chanbeylee as well as traditional Maldivian songs by performers Huya & Shan.

The event was supported by Soneva, Manta Air, Dhiraagu, Blueworld Dharavandhoo, Violet Inn, The Council of Dharavandhoo and Analice Costa.

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Indian influencer Niki Mehra in Maldives

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Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/ Visit Maldives) hosted a familiarisation trip with Amilla Maldives for high-end influencer, Niki Mehra, from India to experience the luxury and romantic offerings of the Maldives from 3rd – 6th May 2024.

The familiarisation trip was a great opportunity to Niki Mehra, a renowned Indian model, fashion, beauty and travel content creator and social media influencer with over half a million followers who has carved a niche in the Indian fashion industry with her unique sense of style. During her time in the Sunny Side of Life, Niki Mehra showcased luxury to romantic experiences of the destination.

The trip promoted Maldives through social media platforms of Niki Mehra while highlighting experiential itinerary offerings of the Maldives. Additionally, the influencer trip assisted MMPRC in propelling growth in the luxury travel segment and honeymoon market by showcasing the Maldives as a premier honeymoon destination for the Indian travellers.

The Indian market has been a strong market for the Maldives over the years, currently ranked number 6 with 46,970 tourists as of 13th May 2024. Additionally, MMPRC showcased the Maldives in OTM and SATTE held earlier this year. MMPRC is committed to boosting the arrivals from the market and has exciting marketing activities planned for future, including joint campaigns, familiarisation trips, participation in major events and other campaigns which provides numerous opportunities to showcase the breathtaking Maldives to the market, attracting more Indian travellers.

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130 hotels in The Prestige Collection with 4 Maldives properties

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The Prestige Collection has reached 130 hotels in its portfolio, continuing to uphold quality and excellence as core pillars. It represents the most exclusive selection within Keytel, the world’s first alliance of independent hotels.

Since its establishment in 2007, The Prestige Collection has been dedicated to meeting the growing demand for luxury hotels, becoming a reference for hospitality industry specialists. Despite its focus on independent hotels, the collection has successfully attracted prestigious properties from international luxury chains such as Rosewood Villa Magna, Mandarín Oriental Ritz Madrid, and Fairmont Mayakoba in Riviera Maya. These hotels view The Prestige Collection as a complement to their commercial strategy for attracting luxury clientele.

With a prominent presence both nationally and internationally across 36 countries, The Prestige Collection shines in with four distinguished resorts: Baglioni Resort Maldives, Diamonds Athuruga Maldives Resort & Spa, Diamonds Thudufushi Maldives Resort & Spa, and Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa. Internationally, the collection boasts emblematic properties like Armani Dubai, Café Royal in London, The Pierre in New York, and Kappa Senses in Ubud, Bali, among others.

The collection categorises hotels into four distinctive categories, highlighting ideal places to disconnect, properties in vibrant urban settings, coastal options for those seeking serenity, and unique experiences for those seeking singularity.

Furthermore, this milestone coincides with the relaunch of its new experiential website platform. This platform offers users and industry professionals the opportunity to explore the collection in greater detail and drives qualified traffic to the official websites of member hotels.

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Waste Management Corporation (WAMCO) Marks a Significant Step Towards Transforming Urban Waste Management

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Waste Management Corporation (WAMCO) marked a significant step towards plastic waste management with the adoption of dedicated vehicles handed over to boost this transformation of urban waste management supported by The Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives.  

In March 2024, UNDP Maldives officially handed over a fleet of six vehicles to WAMCO, which included two electric vehicles (EVs), as part of an initiative aimed at enhancing waste management across the Greater Male’ Area (GMA). This acquisition, facilitated through the financial support of TCCF paves the way for a crucial advancement in bolstering PET collection efforts and tackling the challenge of plastic waste in the Maldives.

“This initiative marks a significant step towards boosting recycling rates and combating environmental pollution in the Maldives,” stated Pek Chuan Gan, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Maldives speaking at the handover ceremony. “Integrating electric vehicles into WAMCO’s fleet and improving PET recycling processes not only lowers carbon emissions but also pioneers renewable energy use in waste management. It’s a vital move for steering the Maldives towards a sustainable and renewable-powered future.”

The provision of electric vehicles marks a continuation of UNDP Maldives’ support to the Government’s vision to introduce renewable energy in key sectors such as waste management that significantly contribute to the country’s renewable energy transition ambition. By embracing clean energy solutions, such as electric vehicles in waste management practices, the Maldives can further reduce its carbon footprint and move closer to achieving its renewable energy goals.

“Utilizing eco-friendly vehicles is a pivotal change for WAMCO, signifying a major leap towards modernizing waste management in the Maldives,” remarked Mujthaba Jaleel, Managing Director, from WAMCO. “This collaboration highlights the shared commitment to environmental stewardship and the potential for such partnerships to catalyse meaningful progress in sustainability and about the positive impact these vehicles will have on our operations and the environment.”

Representatives from UNDP Maldives, WAMCO, and The Coca-Cola Foundation’s unified efforts towards a sustainable future. Photo courtesy: CIAO Advertising.

“Our commitment goes beyond just recycling; it’s about fostering a culture of sustainability,” remarked Saadia Madsbjerg, President, Coca‑Cola Foundation and VP Community Affairs. “By enhancing waste management in the Maldives, we aspire to set a benchmark for environmental stewardship.”

For The Coca-Cola Foundation, together with the stakeholders, the aim is to propel Maldives towards a future where plastic circularity is not just envisioned but actively pursued. By channelling resources and expertise into the heart of waste management, TCCF has made a sizeable contribution in enhancing and attracting investment to this crucial sector in the Maldives. This initiative is a testament to TCCF’s commitment to fostering sustainable practices and promoting the reuse and recycling of plastics, thereby reducing environmental impact, and paving the way for a circular economy.

The fleet handover event held on March 18, 2024, served as a celebration of collaboration in waste management. Representatives from UNDP Maldives, WAMCO, The Coca-Cola Foundation, government officials, and stakeholders came together to mark this significant step and reinforced their collective dedication to building a more sustainable future for the Maldives.

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