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Secret Paradise is a Maldives registered company. It is a private company owned by Maldivian, Mohamed Ziyad and operated by Ruth Franklin.

100% of our Tour Leader and guide team are Maldivian. Ruth, our co-founder, is originally from the UK, but the Maldives has been her permanent home for over 12 years, so we consider her a local!

Secret Paradise contributes to the local Maldivian economy through tourism in several ways:
– Supporting Local Guesthouses: By staying at guesthouses operated by local island families, Secret Paradise channels tourism revenue directly into the hands of local communities. This provides income opportunities for these families and stimulates economic growth within the islands.
– Promoting Locally Crafted Souvenirs: Instead of recommending standard tourist shops with imported souvenirs, Secret Paradise directs guests to souvenir shops offering locally crafted products. This supports local artisans and craftspeople, helping to sustain traditional crafts and industries.
– Promoting Local Art and Craft Exhibitions: we actively attend, support, and promote local art and craft exhibitions. By using their social media platforms to bring exposure to these events, they help create awareness among both locals and guests, encouraging support for local artists and artisans.
– Utilizing Local Transportation: we opt for public ferries, local taxis, and speed boats as modes of transportation. This choice not only supports local transportation businesses but also minimizes environmental impact compared to more resource-intensive options.
– Engagement in Responsible Tourism Practices: Beyond direct economic contributions, we practice responsible tourism, which benefits the local economy in the long term. By promoting sustainable and ethical tourism practices, they help preserve the natural and cultural resources that are essential to the Maldivian economy.

We sell our products through international tour operators and agents so the bookings made through these channels will not entirely stay in the Maldives, a proportion will stay in the destination where the operator or agent is based. However bookings made directly through our website or direct with us via email, the total tour price paid by the traveller will stay in the Maldives in the local economy.

While staying at an all inclusive resort in the Maldives, the estimated emission of co2 per person is 1420kg per night. Thus 9940kg of CO2 is produced per person during a 7night stay. Depending on which tour you book with Secret Paradise your carbon emission will range from an average of 715kg – 1825kg per person for a 7 night stay. We show the per person carbon emission on each of the tours we offer on our website.

Guesthouses in the Maldives are a sustainable accommodation choice with Secret Paradise for several reasons:
– Supporting the Local Economy and Creating Jobs: Travelers who stay at local guest houses while touring with Secret Paradise directly support the local economy. By patronizing these guesthouses, visitors contribute to the livelihoods of local families and create more job opportunities within the community. This may include laundry services, fishermen, activity providers.
– Promoting Sustainability Practices: we actively support and promote sustainability initiatives with our guest house partners. This may include encouraging the use of eco-friendly practices such as energy conservation, waste reduction, and water management. By implementing these measures, guesthouses become more environmentally responsible and contribute to the overall sustainability of tourism in the Maldives. Properties are audited on an annual basis and supported to implement more sustainable actions. There is still plenty of work to do and no one is perfect but we firmly believe that small steps are better than none at all.
– Addressing Regulatory Gaps: Currently, there are no specific regulations or guidelines for guesthouses in the Maldives. However, Secret Paradise works to address this gap by advocating for sustainable practices and responsible tourism within the guesthouse sector.

The plastic waste produced on tours is collected and taken to Parley Maldives for recycling. On cruises all other waste products are brought back to Male and are disposed of properly. Most importantly we do not dump waste into the ocean or litter, we are committed to reduce as much waste as we can during tours and encourage guests to take non food waste/plastic home with them.

Secret Paradise is committed to promoting responsible tourism practices during guided tours in the Maldives. Here are some specific examples of these practices:
– Respecting Local Customs and Traditions: we advise guests to dress appropriately when visiting local islands, respecting the cultural norms and traditions of the Maldives. This helps visitors to engage respectfully with the local community and fosters positive interactions between guests and locals.
– Awareness of Alcohol Policies: The Maldives is a predominantly Muslim country, and the consumption of alcohol is regulated. We ensure our guests are aware of this aspect of local culture prior to arrival, ensuring that guests understand and respect the no-alcohol policies in place on local islands. This helps to avoid cultural misunderstandings and promotes responsible behavior among tourists.
– Addressing Waste and Plastic Issues: we raise awareness about waste and plastic issues in the Maldives, educating guests about the importance of responsible waste management and the impact of plastic pollution on the environment. They may encourage practices such as reducing plastic usage, proper disposal of waste, and participating in beach clean-up initiatives. By promoting environmental stewardship, Secret Paradise contributes to the preservation of the Maldives’ natural beauty and marine ecosystems.
– Supporting Local Communities: we actively engage with local communities during guided tours, fostering meaningful interactions and cultural exchange. They may support local businesses, artisans, and initiatives that contribute positively to the community, helping to distribute tourism benefits more equitably and sustainably.
– Minimizing Environmental Impact: In addition to addressing waste and plastic issues, Secret Paradise takes steps to minimize the environmental impact of their tours. This may include using eco-friendly transportation options, promoting energy conservation, and advocating for sustainable tourism practices throughout the tour experience.

Secret Paradise implements various initiatives to engage with and support local communities during trips in the Maldives:
– Acting as a Liaison: During tours, guides serve as intermediaries between guests and local shops or markets. They facilitate communication and help answer any questions guests may have about local products, customs, or traditions. This fosters cultural exchange and enhances the overall experience for travelers. Our guides and tour leaders do not work on a commission basis with businesses.
– Maldivian “Hedhika” Experience: we offers a “hedhika” experience, where guests have the opportunity to visit local cafes and try locally made Maldivian snacks. This immersive culinary experience not only introduces guests to authentic Maldivian flavors but also supports local businesses and promotes cultural appreciation.
– Cultural Performances and Experiences: In some tours, such as the Discovery Cruise, whale shark conservation cruise, and island hopping tour, Secret Paradise organizes Maldivian nights featuring traditional “boduberu” dance and songs. This allows guests to immerse themselves in Maldivian culture, music, and dance, while also supporting local artists and performers.
– Food experiences: Secret Paradise arranges for guests to learn how to cook Maldivian cuisine and enjoy a Maldivian meal with local families. This intimate dining experience provides an opportunity for cultural exchange and interaction with locals, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of Maldivian cuisine and hospitality.
– Cultural crafts and traditions – as we tour local islands guests are exposed to the day to day routines and traditions that are authentic interactions with locals going about their daily lives and not staged for the benefit of tourism.

Secret Paradise takes several measures to ensure a positive impact on the environment during guest stays:
– Promotion of Refillable Water Bottles: we encourage guests to use refillable water bottles and advocate the purchase of large water bottles for refilling. By minimizing single-use plastic consumption, they help reduce plastic waste and mitigate the environmental impact of tourism on the Maldives’ delicate ecosystems.
– Beach Clean-Up Initiatives: During selected tours, Secret Paradise organizes beach clean-ups on the islands visited. These activities engage guests in hands-on conservation efforts, helping to remove litter and debris from beaches and coastal areas. By actively participating in beach clean-ups, guests contribute to the preservation of marine habitats and wildlife.
– Encouragement of Reef-Safe Sunscreen Use: Secret Paradise encourages guests to use reef-safe sunscreen when entering the water. This eco-friendly sunscreen option helps protect coral reefs and marine life from harmful chemicals found in conventional sunscreens. By promoting reef-safe sunscreen use, Secret Paradise minimizes the negative impact of tourism activities on the marine environment.
– Education and Awareness: Throughout the guest stay, Secret Paradise provides education and raises awareness about environmental conservation and sustainable practices. Guides inform guests about the importance of protecting the Maldives’ natural resources, such as coral reefs and marine life, and offer tips on how to minimize their environmental footprint during their stay.

Secret Paradise is dedicated to educating guests about the fragile environment of the Maldives through various efforts:
– Partnership with Marine Life Organizations: during selected tours and cruises, Secret Paradise invites representatives from local marine life organizations to provide insights into their work and the environmental challenges facing the Maldives. These representatives offer valuable information about conservation efforts, biodiversity, and sustainable practices, enhancing guests’ understanding of the local environment and its conservation needs.
– Partnership with Save The Beach Maldives: on tours such as the Villimale Eco Tour, Full-Day Male Walking Tour, and Whale Shark Conservation Cruise, guests have the opportunity to meet representatives from Save The Beach Maldives. Through interactions with these representatives, guests learn about the importance of coral reefs, the threats they face, and ongoing conservation initiatives. This firsthand knowledge empowers guests to make informed decisions and take action to support environmental conservation efforts.
– Interactive Learning Experiences: we incorporate interactive learning experiences into tours, allowing guests to engage directly with environmental issues and solutions. Whether through guided discussions, presentations, or hands-on activities, guests gain valuable insights into the delicate balance of the Maldives’ ecosystems and the importance of sustainable practices in preserving them.

Secret Paradise promotes responsible snorkeling experiences in the Maldives through several initiatives:
– Membership in Green Fins: Secret Paradise is proud to be a member of Green Fins, a proven conservation management approach aimed at protecting coral reefs through environmentally friendly guidelines. By adhering to Green Fins’ standards, Secret Paradise ensures that its snorkeling and diving activities are conducted in a sustainable manner that minimizes impact on marine ecosystems. This membership demonstrates their commitment to responsible tourism and conservation efforts in the Maldives.
– Environmental Standards: As a member of Green Fins, we follow internationally recognized environmental standards for marine tourism. These standards include guidelines for responsible snorkeling practices, such as maintaining a safe distance from coral reefs, avoiding touching or damaging marine life, and using reef-safe sunscreen. By adhering to these standards, Secret Paradise promotes environmentally friendly snorkeling experiences that prioritize the protection of coral reefs and marine biodiversity.
– Encouragement of Reef-Friendly Sunscreen Use: we encourage guests to use reef-friendly sunscreen when snorkeling in the Maldives. Reef-safe sunscreens are formulated without harmful chemicals that can damage coral reefs and marine ecosystems. By promoting the use of reef-friendly sunscreen, Secret Paradise minimizes the environmental impact of snorkeling activities and helps protect the fragile underwater environment of the Maldives.
– Partnerships with Marine Life Organizations: Secret Paradise partners with marine life organizations dedicated to the conservation and protection of marine ecosystems in the Maldives. These partnerships allow us to share marine life specific codes of conduct for snorkeling encounters ensuring a positive experience for guests and marine life alike.

Secret Paradise actively supports coral reef conservation efforts, particularly through partnership with NGOs such as Save The Beach Maldives:
– Partnership with Save The Beach Maldives: Secret Paradise collaborates closely with Save The Beach Maldives, an NGO established in 2007 as a youth movement in Villimale to preserve natural beaches from coastal development. This partnership demonstrates Secret Paradise’s commitment to supporting local initiatives focused on marine conservation and coral reef protection in the Maldives.
– Education and Research: Save The Beach Maldives focuses on educating the community about the importance of coral reefs and conducting research and studies to better understand reef ecosystems. Secret Paradise supports these efforts by raising awareness among guests about the significance of coral reefs and the threats they face, as well as promoting sustainable snorkeling and diving practices to minimize impact on reef ecosystems. We also provide student and school tours in collaboration with Save the Beach.
– Coral Restoration Projects: These projects involve activities such as coral reef monitoring, coral transplantation, and the establishment of coral nurseries to facilitate the growth of new coral colonies. Secret Paradise contributes to these efforts by providing financial support and promoting guest awareness in coral restoration activities during snorkeling tours. There are currently coral restoration projects in Villimale, Maafushi and Fulhadhoo that form an activity in one of our tours.
– Support of Local Initiatives and Events: Secret Paradise actively participates in and supports events such as the Maldives Coral Festival organised by Maldives Coral Institute, an annual event dedicated to bringing together locals, scientists and international experts to raise awareness about coral reef conservation, promoting sustainable practices and celebrate successes.

Secret Paradise demonstrates its commitment to protecting natural resources in the Maldives through various initiatives:
– Resource Conservation Education: we educate guests about the importance of conserving resources such as electricity and water. Upon arrival at accommodations, guests receive information about sustainable practices and are encouraged to minimize their environmental footprint by reducing energy and water consumption.
– Carbon Emission Reduction: we are dedicated to measuring, reviewing, and reducing its carbon emissions. By implementing measures to minimize its carbon footprint, such as optimizing transportation routes and promoting energy efficiency in operations, we aim to mitigate its impact on the environment and combat climate change.
– Climate Resilience Building: we are committed to building climate resilience within its operations. This may involve implementing strategies to adapt to changing environmental conditions and supporting property partners to understand the benefit of investing in renewable energy sources, water conservation measures, and sustainable land management practices. We have been part of the stakeholder group who contributed to the development of the Maldives Tourism Climate Action Plan in collaboration with USAID and the Ministry of Tourism.
– Natural Environment Restoration and Protection: Secret Paradise takes action to restore and protect the natural environment in the Maldives. This includes participating in conservation projects, such as coral reef restoration efforts, beach clean-ups, and tree planting initiatives. By actively engaging in environmental stewardship, Secret Paradise contributes to the preservation of the Maldives’ natural beauty and biodiversity.
– Transparent Communication: we believe we communicate transparently with its guests and partners to raise awareness about climate change and its dedication to sustainable and responsible tourism practices. By providing information and engaging in open dialogue, we empower stakeholders to make informed decisions and support initiatives that promote environmental conservation.

During conservation cruises, guests have the opportunity to participate in citizen science activities that contribute to marine conservation efforts. Here are some examples of these activities:
– Coral Reef Monitoring: Guests may participate in coral reef monitoring programs led by marine biologists or conservationists. This may involve learning how to identify different coral species, assessing coral health and abundance, and recording data on coral reef conditions. By collecting valuable data, guests contribute to ongoing research efforts aimed at understanding and protecting coral reef ecosystems.
– Marine Debris Surveys: Secret Paradise may organize marine debris surveys during conservation cruises, where guests help collect and record data on marine debris found along coastlines or in the water. This data is used to assess the extent of marine pollution and inform strategies for mitigating its impact on marine life and ecosystems.
– Fish Population Surveys: Guests may participate in fish population surveys conducted by marine scientists or conservation organizations. This involves identifying and counting fish species observed during snorkeling or diving activities, recording data on fish abundance and diversity, and contributing to scientific research on marine biodiversity and ecosystem health.
– Water Quality Sampling: Secret Paradise may facilitate water quality sampling activities during conservation cruises, where guests assist in collecting water samples for analysis. By measuring parameters such as temperature, pH, and nutrient levels, guests help assess the health of marine environments and identify potential threats to water quality.
– Coral Restoration Projects: Some conservation cruises may involve hands-on participation in coral restoration projects, such as coral transplantation or coral nursery maintenance. Guests may help collect coral fragments, attach them to artificial substrates, and monitor their growth over time. These activities contribute to the restoration and conservation of coral reefs in the Maldives.
– Data Capture: activities may include photo identification projects, where guests learn to photograph the unique markings on manta rays’ undersides, or the head of a turtle for cataloging and comparison; assisting researchers in measuring physical attributes like wingspan and body length; participating in population surveys to estimate abundance and distribution; engaging in behavioral observations to document natural behaviors and habitat preferences.

Guests can actively participate in responsible tourism during their stay with Secret Paradise by following key practices whch include but are not limited to the following:
– Using Reef-Safe Sunscreen: Guests are encouraged to use reef-safe sunscreen to minimize harm to coral reefs and marine life when snorkeling or swimming in the waters of the Maldives. Reef-safe sunscreens are formulated without harmful chemicals that can damage coral reefs, making them a more environmentally friendly choice.
– Following Green Fins Snorkeling Guidelines: Guests should adhere to the Green Fins snorkeling guidelines when in the water, which promote responsible snorkeling practices such as maintaining a safe distance from coral reefs, avoiding touching or damaging marine life, and using proper snorkeling techniques to minimize impact on the environment.
– Do Not Touch or Feed Marine Life: By refraining from touching or feeding marine life, guests help preserve the natural balance of marine ecosystems and respect the well-being of the animals that call these environments home. The feeding of sharks and stingrays is illegal in the Maldives but the practice continues. Do not be afraid to challenge a property of an operator who may be offering this as an ‘experience’.
– Respecting Local Customs and Culture: Guests are advised to dress appropriately when visiting islands, respecting the customs and traditions of the Maldives. This includes wearing modest clothing that covers shoulders and knees, particularly when visiting local communities or religious sites.
– Conserving Resources: Guests can conserve resources such as water and electricity by keeping taps turned off when not in use and turning off lights, fans, or air conditioning when leaving their accommodation. These simple actions help reduce energy and water consumption, contributing to environmental sustainability.
– Supporting Local Businesses: Guests are encouraged to buy locally made souvenirs and support local shops, restaurants, and other businesses during their stay. By purchasing products and services from local vendors, guests contribute directly to the local economy and help sustain traditional livelihoods in the Maldives.
taps closed when not in use and turning off lights, fans, or air conditioning when leaving their accommodation. These simple actions help reduce energy and water consumption, contributing to environmental sustainability.
– Using Refillable Water Bottles: To reduce single use plastic waste, guests are advised to use refillable water bottles during their island hopping adventures. Many accommodations provide access to water refill stations to facilitate this sustainable practice.

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