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Expedia Releases 2012 Flip Flop Report: Study Examines Beachgoer Behavior and Preferences Across Five Continents

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Maldives Promotion House – Expedia.com, the world’s largest online travel agency, released the results of the 2012 Flip Flop Report, an analysis of behavior and preferences among beachgoers in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Harris Interactive, on behalf of Expedia.com, conducted the online study among 8,599 adults in 21 countries.

Among other findings, Expedia’s Flip Flop Report revealed that the beach is by far the favorite destination for the majority of the world’s travelers. The average beach holiday is just about one week in length, at 7.7 days. Combined with results from Expedia’s Vacation Deprivation study(1), we can see in the US that Americans spend a full 40% of their allotted vacation days at the beach. In fact, when Americans were asked to choose between spending time at the beach and spending time with family, the beach won handily.

“Beach vacations are such an important part of most travelers. We’ve just completed our first annual Flip Flop Report which digs deep into what people like about beach travel. Not surprisingly, what they like when they’re planning a trip is saving money” said Joe Megibow, vice president and general manager, Expedia.com. “The report also shows that, once people are actually on vacation, they find a wide variety of ways to have their own kind of fun, whether that’s sports in the sand, surfing in the waves or whatever kind of sunbathing they prefer.”

It also finds beachgoers worldwide remain cost-conscious. In the US, the most important factor for 78% of beachgoers is the total trip price. The beach itself matters too — total vacation price and beach quality are the #1 and #2 criteria for travelers in 14 of the 21 countries surveyed — but the cost of the visit is the top consideration. The study also found:

The Popularity of the Beach is Unsurpassed. More than half (52%) of respondents plan to holiday at the beach in the next 12 months, compared to 45% who said they took a beach vacation the year prior. And while the average stay for a beach vacation is 7.7 days, this is less true of Koreans, Japanese and Singaporeans, who seem more likely to prefer beach weekends to extended stays. Additionally:

  • Argentineans are the most sun-soaked, spending an average of 11 days at a time, while Koreans spent a mere 3.2 days per trip.
  • Americans are creatures of habit: one of the least important criteria for Americans when selecting a beach location is the desire to find a new location.
  • For Indians, new locations were among the highest priority.

For Most Beachgoers, the Most Popular Activity is No Activity At All (as most holiday makers visiting Maldives). Relaxing and sunbathing, were among the top two activities for beachgoers across all five continents. The Irish, at 75%, were the most likely to relax, while Mexicans (79%) seem to be happiest with lying in the sun. Brazilians (40%) were likeliest to exercise on the beach; when doing so, they may well stumble over the Japanese, who were 14 times likelier to relax (28%) than exercise (2%). Additionally:

  • Koreans, at 49%, were likeliest to “eat raw food” on the beach. Koreans are unlikely to draw envious stares from Norwegians, who at 1% showed the most aversion to the practice.
  • New Zealanders (36%) and Australians (35%) were most likely to fish at the beach.
  • Canadians were likeliest to strap on a snorkel (34%).
  • 82% of Germans spend beach time swimming. Only 28% of the Japanese do the same.

Germans are Likeliest to Sunbathe Nude. Germans displayed the most permissive attitudes towards nude sunbathing. A full 15% of German respondents indicated that they sunbathed naked. Indians and Spaniards (8%) were the second-likeliest to shed their clothing, while the French (5% clothing-free) were more aligned with Americans (2%), the British (2%) and the Japanese (1%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, Germans seem to be the most popular beachgoers: when asked if they’d spent beach days with strangers, the Germans (23%) and Brazilians (19%) were likeliest to say they had. Additionally:

  • Indians (22%), Canadians (20%), Mexicans (19%), Italians (18%) and the Irish (18%) were likeliest to have participated in “beach bar games.”
  • 31% of Singaporeans had spent beach time at the spa, versus 3% of the Japanese and 5% of the Dutch.
  • Indian (39%), Mexican (34%), Brazilian (30%) and Argentinean (27%) beachgoers were most likely to dance on the beach.

Beachgoers Have Never Gotten Over “Jaws”. Expedia’s Flip Flop Report revealed that beachgoers remain wary of sharks. Well under 100 shark bite incidents are reported worldwide each year,(3) making shark encounters extraordinarily rare. Yet the menace prevails: 50% of travelers consider the presence of sharks when deciding where to holiday, and a full 68% of beach vacationers admit to having been afraid to swim because of sharks, while beachgoers to Maldives are least concerned about sharks as there is NO shark attacks reported for the past 10 years in the atolls. Additionally:

  • Residents of Brazil (70%) and Singapore (67%) were the most attuned to sharks when planning their beach vacation.
  • Only 3% of Italians always think of sharks before entering the water.

This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia.com from February 14 – March 21, 2012.

Expedia.com is the world’s largest online travel agency and offers bookings for 93 hotels and resorts in the Maldives.

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CROSSROADS Maldives appoints Ibrahim Farhad as Director of Retail

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CROSSROADS Maldives has announced the appointment of Ibrahim Farhad as the new Director of Retail at the Maldives’ premier integrated multi-island leisure destination. Farhad, known for his extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, brings a wealth of expertise in sustainable tourism management to his new role. He will oversee the retail operations at The Marina at CROSSROADS Maldives, enhancing the leisure, dining, shopping, and entertainment experiences for visitors from around the world.

Farhad’s impressive background includes significant contributions to policy formulation and stakeholder engagement during his tenure as the Senior Policy Director at the Maldives Ministry of Tourism. In this role, he was pivotal in developing and implementing policies that promoted sustainable tourism. He collaborated closely with government agencies and international organizations to ensure regulatory compliance, and his expertise in research, analysis, quality assurance, and capacity building has been instrumental in shaping the tourism sector in the Maldives.

In his new role at CROSSROADS Maldives, Farhad will oversee the strategic development of retail spaces, ensuring they offer a diverse and high-quality visitor experience. He will collaborate with local and international partners to bring unique products to The Marina, aligning with the destination’s commitment to sustainability and cultural authenticity.

“As a native Maldivian coupled with his extensive experience and deep-rooted community connections, Farhad is a great addition to our team at CROSSROADS Maldives. I am excited to see the fresh perspectives and innovative strategies he will introduce at The Marina, which will further strengthen CROSSROADS Maldives’ position as the premier integrated multi-island leisure destination,” said Alexander Traeger, General Manager of CROSSROADS Marina and SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton.

CROSSROADS Maldives looks forward to the innovative and sustainable approaches Farhad will bring to the retail operations, enhancing the overall experience for all visitors.

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Utheemu Ganduvaru: Portal to Maldives’ national freedom

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The Maldives, often celebrated for its sun-kissed beaches and turquoise waters, also offers a rich tapestry of history and culture waiting to be explored. Among the islands of Haa Alif Atoll lies Utheemu Island, home to Utheemu Ganduvaru, a historical treasure that invites travellers to delve into the storied past of the archipelago.

Utheemu Ganduvaru, the ancestral home of Muhammad Thakurufaanu, stands as a poignant reminder of the Maldives’ fight for independence. Thakurufaanu, revered as a national hero, led a successful campaign against Portuguese occupation in the 16th century. His childhood home, Utheemu Ganduvaru, offers a rare glimpse into the life and times of this legendary figure.

In 1558, the Portuguese invaded the Maldives, killing the Sultan in battle and establishing their rule. Muhammad Thakurufaanu and his brothers, Ali and Hassan, left for Minicoy to prepare a campaign to liberate their country. The boat they built, Kalhuohfummi, was crucial to their efforts. Thakurufaanu and his brothers fought the Portuguese for eight years, landing on different islands under cover of night to evade capture, and departing before daybreak. Eventually, they landed in Malé and defeated the Portuguese leadership in the capital. Freed from Portuguese rule, the people chose Muhammad Thakurufaanu as their Sultan.

Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu ruled the Maldives for 12 years until his death in 1585. He is remembered as a considerate and just ruler, concerned for the well-being of even the poorest citizens. He is also credited with establishing the country’s first formal military unit.

Back at Utheemu Island, visitors are immediately struck by the island’s tranquil beauty and its lush, green landscape. The journey to Utheemu Ganduvaru is a step back in time, where the echoes of history are palpable. The residence itself, a traditional wooden palace, is meticulously preserved, showcasing the architectural ingenuity and cultural richness of the period.

As you enter Utheemu Ganduvaru, the simplicity and elegance of the structure are apparent. Built from timber, the palace is a fine example of traditional Maldivian craftsmanship. The intricate woodwork, with its detailed carvings and polished surfaces, speaks volumes about the artisanship that flourished during Thakurufaanu’s time.

The main hall, with its open layout and cool, shaded interiors, offers a sense of serenity and reflection. It was within these walls that Thakurufaanu spent his formative years, and each room tells a story of his early life and the influences that shaped his destiny. The residence includes living quarters and storage spaces, all arranged in a manner that reflects the daily life of a prominent Maldivian family in the 16th century.

One of the most compelling aspects of Utheemu Ganduvaru is its connection to the larger narrative of Maldivian resistance against foreign rule. Guides at the site often recount tales of Thakurufaanu’s daring exploits and strategic brilliance. His knowledge of the archipelago’s intricate waterways and his leadership in naval battles are celebrated as key factors in the successful expulsion of the Portuguese in 1573.

Beyond its historical significance, Utheemu Ganduvaru offers visitors a deeper understanding of Maldivian culture and heritage. The site is a testament to the resilience and unity of the Maldivian people, embodying values that continue to inspire. For travellers, a visit to Utheemu Ganduvaru is an opportunity to connect with the soul of the Maldives, experiencing the essence of its history and the spirit of its people.

While on Utheemu Island, visitors can explore other points of interest, such as the island’s beaches and vibrant local community. Engaging with the locals offers additional insights into Maldivian traditions and hospitality, enriching the overall experience.

For those seeking a journey through time, Utheemu Ganduvaru in Haa Alif Atoll is a destination that should not be missed. It is a place where the past comes alive, where the legacy of a hero continues to resonate, and where the true essence of the Maldives can be discovered. As you walk through the halls of Utheemu Ganduvaru, you are not just a visitor; you are a part of a historical journey that defines the Maldivian identity.

So, when planning your next visit to the Maldives, venture beyond the beaches and dive into the rich history of these islands. Let Utheemu Ganduvaru be the highlight of your cultural exploration, offering a meaningful and memorable connection to the heart of Maldivian heritage.

Cover photo: Andreas Faessler

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Embark on a journey of pure joy at Sirru Fen Fushi

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The newly-reimagined Sirru Fen Fushi Private Lagoon Resort, a member of the esteemed Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) collection, invites you to rediscover luxury in the Maldives. Nestled on a pristine island amidst crystal-clear lagoons, this haven of effortless elegance and contemporary allure promises an unforgettable escape.

Curated Experiences Await

From the moment guests touch down in Malé, Sirru Fen Fushi curates your journey around four pillars: Taste, Wellness, Art, and Play. Savor world-class cuisine alongside authentic Maldivian flavors at revamped restaurants. Rejuvenate with holistic wellness practices like frequency sound healing and Ayurvedic treatments. Become a steward of the environment through marine conservation initiatives, or witness turtle nesting with the resort’s marine biologist.

Unparalleled Comfort and Personalized Luxury

Unwind in the unparalleled comfort of Beach, Water, and Safari Tented Villas, each designed for an intimate escape in harmony with the breathtaking surroundings. Choose experiences based on Fire, Water, Earth, and Air themes, creating lasting memories tailored to your preferences.

Joining the Leading Hotels of the World

Sirru Fen Fushi is thrilled to be part of the prestigious LHW collection. “This exclusive hideaway promises a bespoke journey of luxury and serenity,” says Deniz Omurgonulsen, Vice President of Member Experience at LHW. “We are excited to add this private island paradise to our collection.”

Rediscovering Your Inner Child

Through the Essence of Play, reconnect with your inner child. Learn Maldivian crafts, gather around fire pits for acoustic guitar evenings, or dance under the stars at Plankton Glow Parties. Every experience ignites the soul and fosters connection.

A Celebration of Local Flavors

Tantalize your taste buds and explore local flavors through various activities. Reel in the day’s catch on a fishing excursion, or witness the theatrical spectacle of a Malafaaiy Bodu Beru feast, featuring traditional cuisine, drumming, singing, and clapping.

Holistic Wellness and Artistic Inspiration

Sirru Fen Fushi fosters rejuvenation through holistic treatments and a connection to nature. Full Moon Meditations and Pool Rituals promote a transformative journey. Art is woven into the resort’s DNA, from the underwater Coralarium museum to the Sustainability Lab, where you can create meaningful keepsakes.

Protecting Paradise

Committed to preserving the archipelago’s natural wonders, the resort offers eco-conscious initiatives. Participate in coral restoration projects, explore the neighboring Maroshi island with its mud crab delicacies and vast mangrove forests, and learn the importance of marine conservation.

Experience Sirru Fen Fushi, where unforgettable memories and a deep connection with nature await. Visit: https://sirrufenfushi.com/

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