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OUR CALL TO THE MALDIVES TOURISM INDUSTRY TO RE-THINK

This year World Tourism Day ‘highlights the opportunity to re-think how we do tourism. This means putting people and the planet first and bringing everyone from governments and businesses to local communities together around a shared vision for a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient sector‘ – UNWTO

When Secret Paradise was formed 10 years ago, I didn’t set out to develop a sustainable travel business and for sure the words ‘sustainable’ and ‘responsible’ were not commonly connected with the travel industry. I just wanted to provide travelers the experiences I had been fortunate to have had through my local connections when I had visited as a tourist. I wanted to share my passion for the local side of life, the environment and the amazing marine life I had encountered. 

Secret Paradise was developed with an aim to create positive and meaningful exchanges between our business, our guests and the local communities in which we operated. People, communication and education have always been front and centre of everything we do. Over the past 10 years we have supported local businesses and community initiatives. With the support of local NGOs and marine life organisations we have educated our team and in turn our guests and local partners. We strive to protect the environment in which we operate and limit wherever possible any negative impact on local communities in order to preserve this country’s unique environment, culture and heritage for future generations of Maldivians and travelers.

But this journey should not just be that of myself and the Secret Paradise team.

In a destination such as the Maldives, where tourism is the economy. Where the long term success of tourism depends on the protection of the environment. Where ‘all’ inclusive needs to be associated with local communities and not just a meal plan option.

I call upon all Maldives tourism stakeholders, no matter the size of business, no matter the sphere of influence, no matter the value of investment to RE-THINK.

Tourism can be a force for good, a force for change and a force to educate. It can be resilient, regenerative, inclusive and sustainable. By putting people and planet first it does not mean we have to side line profit. We just have to refocus our vision, our values and our missions.

I understand change does not often happen overnight and is a gradual process. But surely in a destination such as the Maldives, it is our responsibility to re-think and re-evaluate and make that change together. 

 

Ruth Franklin

Co-Founder Secret Paradise Maldives

September 27 2022

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