RESPONSIBLE & SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

OUR AIM
Secret Paradise tours are designed to allow our guests to experience the best from the paradise we call home and Responsible Tourism plays a very large part in what we do. We are mindful of ensuring we promote local tourism in line with Maldivian culture and beliefs and through education of both guests and locals we aim to protect the environment and limit where ever possible any negative impact to local life.

We are committed to informing and demonstrating to our competitors, our team, our partners and ultimately our guests that we are committed to following social and environmental best practices.

By staying in local island guest houses our guests are contributing to the local economy and increasing local employment. The properties we partner are run by local island families where everyone is instrumental in the day to day running of the guest house.

Buying locally made souvenirs and eating local produce means that local farmers and small businesses benefit. We recommend souvenir shops in Male that are off the main tourist route, where guests have the opportunity to buy locally crafted products as opposed to the imported souvenirs that are sold in standard tourist souvenir shops.
We attend and support local art and craft exhibitions and share on social media to create awareness to locals and guests alike.

We provide employment, good working conditions, a fair wage and performance reviews for local employees. Our guides are all Maldivian and with the exception of the Sales Director, our operations team are Maldivian. Not only does this ensure our guests get a real insight to Maldivian life, our guides achieve personal development through interaction with guests from different cultures and backgrounds. They also have the opportunity to participate in tour leader development programs available from our international partners.

Our guests travel the Maldives with one of our local guides who between them have years of local knowledge and expertise to share. They are passionate in sharing their country’s culture, history and tradition, as well as their own personal experiences.

Our tours are designed so that guests not only experience the natural beauty and participate in activities commonly associated with the Maldives but that they have the opportunity to learn about it’s people and culture first hand.

Eco tourism and sustainable tourism has always been an integral part of our philosophy and part of our mission statement. As we have grown we have looked for opportunities where we can support local initiatives. We seek out ways to open up channels to allow Maldives based organisations, NGOs, marine-life charities the opportunity to interact with guests and in so doing increase their exposure to a wider audience.

Our guests can become actively involved in conservation programs and learn how they too can be responsible during their stay in the Maldives. We specifically developed an island hopping tour that incorporated a mini volunteer program in order that guests who wanted to contribute to the environment but did not have the time available to get involved in a long stay volunteer program could still get involved and enjoy a Maldives holiday.
All our guests participating in ocean based activities including swimming and snorkelling are briefed using the Green Fins Guidelines on how to be responsible in the water.
We regularly support clean up events, we launched #STRAWWARMV in 2018 to encourage our partners to ditch the straw and this year we have pledged our support to #protectmaldivesseagrass educating our team and guests on the benefits of seagrass to the environment.

OUR POLICY
ECONOMIC RESPONSIBILITY
We use locally owned and operated infrastructure
1. To help put profits into local hands in order that they can benefit directly
2. To use services developed and managed by locals

We provide employment and business opportunities for local people
1. All our guides are locals
2. With the exception of the Sale Director our operations team are all local people
3. To assist in coaching and development of individuals to widen their experience and career opportunities

We support local charities and organisations
1. We encourage our guests to contribute any remaining local currency at the end of their trip to our nominated charity for that year – ARC Children’s Home
2. We support local charities through sponsorship by individuals for members of the team participating in fund raising events – ARC Children’s Home
3. We raise awareness of local initiatives through our social media sites.

ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
We limit the physical impact of trips and work with our partners to educate and improve awareness within local the community.
1.Wherever possible we and our guests travel by public i.e. ferries and not private transport i.e. speedboats.
2.We encourage our guests through either group briefings or distribution of a Welcome leaflet to respect the environment and lead by example in minimising the impact of waste.
3.We encourage our guests to deal with waste appropriately, to lead by example and where possible take plastic waste home.
4.We request our divers to follow Project AWARE 10 Tips for Divers to Protect the Ocean Planet
5.We brief our snorkelers on reef etiquette
6.We coach and educate our suppliers and local partners in environmental awareness.
7.We are currently in the process of developing an eco friendly shopping bag to distribute to our guests and also the communities where we base our tours to increase awareness of the importance of reusing bags and in so doing reducing the volume of plastic bags. Our office team are committed to demonstrating responsible tourism actions.
8.We use both sides of paper and only print documents whenever it is necessary.
9.We ensure PCs and electrical items are turned off overnight
10.The production of our company literature and business cards are produced in the Maldives using local businesses.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
We respect local customs and culture
1. We want our guests to learn about local customs and cultural practices whilst respecting local dress and cultural requirements
2. It is a practice on all tours to teach basic local language and this is included on our welcome leaflet
3. Our scheduled group tours include the opportunity to eat at the home of a local family and sample local cuisine ate in local style without the aid of cutlery
4. We provide guests with pre trip information to ensure they understand the requirements of travelling to a locally inhabited island as well as advising to visit their appropriate Foreign Office website to encourage awareness of social unrest or government requirements
5. A local guide accompanies our scheduled group trips from time of arrival to departure
6. A local Secret Paradise partner representative is based at each of the guesthouses with whom we work.

For upto date information on our responsible and sustainable actions and initiatives please join our Facebook page and connect to our blog.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE PLACES YOU TRAVEL
When you travel to far out places you often receive generous and gracious hospitality from local people, even when they don’t have much themselves.

We believe, we have a moral obligation to give something back to the people who live in the communities that we visit. It is simply the right thing to do to help people who struggle with basic needs for food, water, housing, health and safety.

How? We support WorldNomads.com Footprints program to fund local community projects to end poverty.

YOU CAN HELP TOO!
When you buy travel insurance through WorldNomads.com, simply choose a project to support, and we will also donate 1% to the same project. Simply use this promotional code, when you get a quote and your small donation will have a positive effect on this community.