Male’, Maldives, 4th August 2022 – The world’s first certified accessible resort, Amilla Maldives, will be visited by lawyer-turned-wheelchair tennis champ, Cisco Garcia in September.
The five-star resort, Amilla Maldives, is set to become the world’s first certified accessible resort for differently abled travelers, opening up greater opportunities for travel for them as many of them may have viewed remote destinations such as the Maldives as off-limits. Amilla has already undergone an audit by Inclucare to make it accessible for guests with mobility, sensory or cognitive requirements. The initiative was launched at the resort in July by the British TV presenter and award-winning disability advocate, Sophie Morgan.
The professional tennis player, Cisco, is coming to Amilla with the hopes of showing its guests – and the world – that being in a wheelchair isn’t necessarily a barrier to achieving anything, be it on the court or anywhere else.
Cisco, a former lawyer who sustained an injury to his spinal cord while snowboarding in 2015, went on to become a wheelchair tennis star, Paralympian and author of the autobiographical book, ‘Unbreakable. The art of always getting up once more’. He is a charismatic disability advocate and so far has had a career-high ranking of 43 in the ITF wheelchair singles. His visit to Amilla from 26th September to 3rd October will coincide with the launch of a wheelchair tennis programme for the resort’s guests.
Cisco commented “I have a phrase that has stuck with me since getting injured, which is GIVE US WALLS SO WE CAN BRING THEM DOWN. Even the most unlikely of things is possible once they are accomplished, and what Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences has done shows that. Simply imagining an adapted resort in a place as wild as the Maldives seems unlikely, and to carry it out seems impossible. Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences have made this possible and will allow travelers from all over the world to enjoy an incredible place”.
Amilla’s Activities Manager, Arthur Libaud, who was formerly Amilla’s in-house tennis pro, is developing the wheelchair tennis programme. He will also be leading the coaching, having previously spent lots of time developing it in his hometown in France.
“It is a very exciting project,” says Arthur. “The goal is to have a wheelchair specifically for tennis that any of our disabled guests can use. I’ll show them how they can easily play tennis. We will have a discovery class for disabled guests, but also we will open it to non-disabled guests to show a new perspective to them and maybe help raise more awareness”.
The resort already has many accessible features such as ground-floor villas, a beach wheelchair, and light-up phones for the hearing impaired. There are also more new developments to make it fully inclusive, such as adaptive yoga and snorkeling, sensory experiences for vision-impaired guests, ‘calming spaces’ designed to reduce anxiety and stress for guests who are sensitive to high sensory experiences, and deaf-alert systems. All of the resort’s staff are also undergoing training to ensure every guest of every level of mobility receives the best hospitality service throughout their stay.