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Green Globe Recertification for VARU by Atmosphere

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VARU by Atmosphere has secured the prestigious Green Globe Recertification for sustainable resort operations, following a rigorous audit encompassing over 44 mandatory core criteria. Located in the North-West edge of Malé Atoll in the Maldives, the 5-star resort offers a truly Maldivian experience by incorporating aspects of local traditions and cultures, structural design – fused together with bursts of chic tropical vibes.

Green Globe recognises organisations that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainable management, social responsibility, cultural heritage, economic stability and environmental conservation. Regarding this latest certification, Mei P Pun the General Manager of VARU by Atmosphere says, “Sustainability is at the core of our philosophy ‘Joy of Giving,’ and we believe in genuine, impactful changes. The goal is to create delightful guests experiences, while remaining respectful towards the local environment and community. For example, as part of biodiversity conservation, we are working towards building a coral garden. A frame of corals has been successfully tested, and the program will be launched this year”.

Sustainability is an essential part of the long-term business growth at Atmosphere Core, the company that manages VARU by Atmosphere. There is continuous effort towards driving CORE IMPACT — across Communities, Operations, Resources and Environment. Elaborating on this approach, Mei adds, “We are progressively integrating KPIs for sustainability into our performance management planning. While goal setting is important, I also believe in making the initiatives educational, fun and purposeful for both guests and colleagues. We hope that our efforts can drive real change and become tomorrow’s standard”.

As a part of the Atmosphere Colleague Development Program (ACDP), the Learning & Development team identifies, develops and encourages potential high performers. Following dedicated mentorship, the resort recently celebrated the graduation of four colleagues through the program. This achievement proves the efficacy of ACDP in sculpting hospitality leaders.

Community initiatives by the resort team reflect a genuine desire to make meaningful contributions to society. A recent initiative is the ‘Give Back Day.’ As a part of this program, the VARU team partnered with Fivathi Orphanage to organise a special Iftar event for 90 children. Similarly, the team recently organised a trip to nearby K. Huraa island to promote hospitality opportunities in for Maldivian youth, fostering economic empowerment and a sense of belonging within the community. During the pandemic, VARU by Atmosphere stepped up to support local communities by providing essential supplies to the Health Center. Contributions included face masks, new bed sheets, towels, and testing kits that served as a lifeline.

The resort embraces its responsibility to tread lightly upon the Earth by minimising operational impact on the island ecosystem. From energy-saving measures to waste reduction strategies, every aspect of operations aligns with environmental conservation goals. Noteworthy initiatives include 99% energy-efficient LED lighting, renewable solar energy infrastructure, paperless check in, island kitchen garden and a water bottling plant to eliminate plastic waste. By botting water in-house, the resort eliminates the use of more than 100,000 plastic bottles a year. There is also a focus on reducing waste generation, and recycling in partnership with leading recycling companies in the Maldives.

Water use is also carefully audited. Guests are encouraged to participate in the Towel and Linen Reuse Programme, wherein they can opt for a change of sheets and towels every third day to save water. A wastewater treatment centre ensures that grey water is used for irrigation and gardening, thus saving a considerable amount of portable water.

The resort also prioritises centralised sourcing while favouring local supplies, such as sourcing fish directly from local fishermen, and importing specialty items only. Furthermore, the team actively engages in reef and island cleaning activities, underscoring its commitment to preserving the natural beauty of the Maldives for generations to come.

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MATATO and IATO signs partnership to enhance Maldives-India tourism

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The Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO). This strategic partnership aims to enhance tourism cooperation between the Maldives and India, fostering closer collaboration and mutual growth in the travel industry.

The agreement marks a significant milestone in promoting tourism between the two nations. By leveraging the strengths and networks of both MATATO and IATO, the partnership seeks to create more opportunities for travel and cultural exchange. Key objectives of the MOU include:

  • Promoting bilateral tourism through joint marketing initiatives
  • Sharing best practices to improve service standards and operational efficiencies
  • Organizing joint events, roadshows, and fairs to highlight travel opportunities
  • Promoting sustainable tourism practices that benefit both nations

Following the MOU signing, MATATO held a productive follow-up meeting with the High Commissioner of India to the Maldives, H.E. Munu Mahawar. This meeting was a continuation of discussions held on April 9, 2024, and focused on enhancing tourism ties between the two countries.

A major upcoming event is the roadshow designed to showcase Maldivian tourism to the Indian market. Scheduled to take place in Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bangalore—cities with the best flight connectivity to the Maldives—the roadshow aims to strengthen tourism ties. During the discussions, the importance of this roadshow was emphasized, with agreements on:

  • Enhanced cooperation to further tourism collaborations
  • Detailed planning to ensure maximum impact
  • Promoting cultural exchanges to deepen mutual understanding and appreciation
  • Securing support from stakeholders, including airlines, hotels, and travel agencies, to ensure the roadshow’s success

MATATO is a leading organization dedicated to the development and promotion of the travel and tourism industry in the Maldives. Representing the interests of travel agents and tour operators, MATATO advocates for policies that benefit the industry and works to enhance the Maldives’ position as a top travel destination. IATO, India’s premier travel trade body, represents over 1,800 tour operators across India. Committed to promoting and developing tourism in India, IATO ensures high standards of service and fosters international partnerships to enhance the travel experience for visitors.

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Enchanting escapes: Let your romance unfold at OZEN LIFE MAADHOO

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A ‘never fail’ for experiencing the unforgettable, the world’s number one luxury destination is the Indian Ocean’s magnet that can’t stop its natural attraction for discerning travellers with a lust for the castaway life. Nestled in the serene embrace of the South Malé Atoll, OZEN LIFE MAADHOO stands as a beacon of luxury and tranquility. This exquisite private island, part of the prestigious THE OZEN COLLECTION, offers an idyllic escape from the mundane, immersing guests in a world of indulgence and breathtaking beauty.

Imagine waking up to the gentle sound of waves lapping against your palatial overwater villa, the sun casting a golden glow over the turquoise lagoon. At OZEN LIFE MAADHOO, enchantment is woven into the very fabric of the island’s DNA. With a selection of remarkable beachfront and overwater villas, each designed to provide the utmost privacy and comfort, guests can enjoy and claim their own slice of paradise as a home from home.

The Earth Villas, with their open-air bathrooms and outdoor bathtubs, offer a direct connection to the beach, allowing guests to step out onto the pristine sand from their landscaped and groomed private sandy garden. For those seeking an elevated experience, the Wind Villas stretch elegantly over the lagoon, featuring panoramic views and overwater hammocks that invite you to relax and gently swing your cares away.

What is a dream escape without award-winning service excellence that presents culinary experiences nothing short of magical. The OZEN LIFE MAADHOO’s tailored holiday plan takes care of all bar and dining cheques plus some included excursions, encapsulating this exclusive vacation in a single fixed price prior to arrival so all guests have to do is enjoy and imbibe.

Boasting a choice of signature restaurants that cater to every palate, dietary choice, and lifestyle, being spoilt for choice is compulsory. Enjoy an exclusive dinner at the M6m underwater restaurant, where you can dine surrounded by the vibrant marine life of the Maldives. The all-encompassing INDULGENCETM Plan ensures that every meal is a feast for the senses, with gourmet cuisine, premium champagnes, wines and spirits, and tantalising dining experiences included.

For a touch of culture, visit the LONU restaurant, where traditional Maldivian recipes are reimagined as sophisticated small plates, or indulge in the vibrant flavours of Tradition IndoCeylon and Tradition Peking, offering authentic Indian, Sri Lankan, and Chinese cuisines.

No castaway vacation is complete without a private dining experience. Imagine the gentle moonlit waves lapping up on the pristine white sandy shoreline, whilst you and your lover celebrate intimacy under candlelight in moment where time stands still. Just don’t forget your best white linens to dress for this once in a lifetime dinner date occasion.

Beyond the luxurious accommodations and exquisite dining, OZEN LIFE MAADHOO offers a wealth of activities to enhance your getaway. Embark on snorkelling adventures in the crystal-clear waters, explore the vibrant coral reefs, or unwind with a rejuvenating treatment at the ELE | NA Elements of Nature spa. This serene sanctuary provides a range of wellness therapies designed to refresh and invigorate both body and soul.

For those seeking a blend of adventure and relaxation, the resort’s water sports centre offers a variety of activities, from kayaking and paddleboarding to windsurfing and diving. Whether you’re exploring the underwater wonders of the Maldives or enjoying a sunset cruise, every moment at this idyllic island getaway is designed to create lasting memories. At OZEN LIFE MAADHOO, every detail is meticulously crafted to ensure an unforgettable escape. The island’s dedicated team is committed to providing personalised service, from arranging the private beach dinners to setting up excursions tailored to your interests. The forementioned bespoke INDULGENCETM Plan simplifies the experience, allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in the beauty and tranquility of the Maldives without a care in the world.

OZEN LIFE MAADHOO is more than just a destination; it’s a sanctuary for relaxation and enchantment. With its stunning natural beauty, luxurious accommodations, and exceptional service, it promises an unparalleled getaway. Whether you’re celebrating a honeymoon, anniversary, or simply seeking a retreat to reconnect with your partner, OZEN LIFE MAADHOO offers the perfect setting for love to flourish. Embrace the magic of the Maldives and create memories that will last a lifetime on this remotest of enchanting private islands in the breath-taking Indian Ocean.

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Weixin Pay supported to boost Chinese tourists to Maldives

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On May 27, Zihuny Rasheed, Deputy Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives), and Etienne Ng, Weixin Pay’s Country Manager, Singapore and Regional Director, Southeast Asia, WeChat Pay, signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during ITB China 2024, pledging to support more Maldivian merchants to accept WeixinPay to provide Chinese tourists with a convenient payment experience. Visit Maldives is the Official Destination Partner for this year’s edition of ITB China.

“China is a key source of tourists for the Maldives, and we greatly value the experience of Chinese visitors,” said DMD Zihuny Rasheed. “We plan on promoting the acceptance of Weixin Pay throughout the country, offering Chinese tourists the payment option they are familiar with and prefer. I have used Weixin Pay during my visit to China via linking an international card, and I can attest to the convenience of the mobile payment option.”

Ibrahim Faisal, Minister of Tourism of the Maldives, expressed his support, “Excited that we’re introducing Weixin Pay for Chinese visitors, which is another step in establishing Maldives as their top destination. Now, it’s easier than ever for Chinese travellers to enjoy their stay, hassle-free. We look forward to further enhancing their experience,” he wrote.

According to Etienne Ng, Weixin Pay is currently being piloted at the country’s airport duty-free store, as well as in popular restaurants like Sala Thai and City Garden. Additionally, a range of hotels and resorts are participating including, JEN Maldives Malé by Shangri-La, Adaaran Select HudhuranFushi, Adaaran Club Rannalhi, Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, Adaaran Prestige Water Villas, Velaa Private Island, Cheval Blanc Randheli Private Island, Dhawa Ihuru Maldives, Ayada Maldives, Marriott Bonvoy, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and Angsana Velavaru in Maldives with strong support from the Bank of Maldives and local merchants. Making smooth progress, the initiative is expected to have 8,000 merchants nationwide that integrate the payment option.

“Weixin Pay is committed to providing users with safe and convenient payment services. Since the visa exemption policy was implemented, more and more Weixin Pay users have chosen to travel to the island country. Through our cooperation with Visit Maldives, we aim to provide Chinese users with the same convenient experience in the travel as they experience at home,” he said.

In February 2023, an Agreement on Mutual Exemption of Visa Requirements signed between the Maldives and China took effect as China expands its visa-free policy to benefit more countries. Consequently, the Maldives has consistently ranked among the top overseas destinations for Chinese tourists during popular travel periods such as the May Day and National Day holidays.

According to data from Visit Maldives, the country welcomed over 1.8 million tourists in 2023, a new national record. The Chinese market has been a key source market for the Maldives. As of 11th May 2024, it is the number one source market with 91,073 tourist arrivals.

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