Photo Credits | Secret Paradise Maldives

Male’, Maldives, 19th December 2023 – As 2023 draws to a close, Secret Paradise Maldives, a local tour company, reflects on a year characterized by impactful collaborations and notable achievements in marine conservation. Renowned internationally for its dedication to responsible tourism, Secret Paradise actively engaged with local NGOs and marine organizations, contributing significantly to safeguarding the marine environment in the Maldives.

The year began with Secret Paradise establishing a meaningful partnership with the Maldives Manta Conservation Programme (MMCP) to support their RahVeshi Fund (Local Island Fund for the Environment – LIFE). Initiated by MMCP, the RahVeshi Fund supports conservation projects on local islands, offering communities opportunities for training, resources, internships, and jobs in marine research, education, and conservation. In return, MMCP gained access to crucial manta ray study sites in remote areas of the archipelago, away from tourism.

Participation in The Coral Festival, organized by The Maldives Coral Institute, represented another significant collaboration for Secret Paradise. Held in Addu in April, the festival aimed to unite local island communities, respected coral scientists, NGOs, marine organizations, ocean experts, and the tourism industry. Its purpose was to deepen appreciation and understanding of the critical role played by coral reefs and marine ecosystems in the economic and ecological well-being of the Maldives, the Indian Ocean, and the planet.

Throughout 2023, Secret Paradise continued to strengthen its longstanding partnerships with Save the Beach and the Maldives Whale Shark Research Program. Both NGOs collaborated on Secret Paradise’s Marinelife Conservation Cruise, a holiday recently recognized by UK Metro News as one of the top 5 citizen science cruises.

To conclude the year, Secret Paradise supported MIYARU, an NGO dedicated to protecting predatory shark populations in the Maldives. This partnership enabled MIYARU to participate in a Maldives shark research expedition, conducted by the University of Milano-Bicocca and MaRHE Center in December. The initiative offered lectures, practical sessions on shark data collection and analysis, and hands-on field activities, aiming to enhance participants’ involvement in shark conservation efforts.

Local collaborations provided Secret Paradise’s tour leaders with opportunities for in-person and online training sessions conducted by these organizations. This year, they included a weekend dedicated to turtle research with the Olive Ridley Project. Such firsthand exposure empowered Secret Paradise’s tour leaders with extensive knowledge, enabling them to impart a deeper understanding of marine conservation and promote responsible conduct among guests.

Ending 2023 on a high note, Secret Paradise Maldives received the silver award at the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) Responsible Tourism Awards in the category of Best for Nature-Positive Tourism. This recognition acknowledged Secret Paradise’s commitment to reducing negative impacts and contributing positively to the preservation of the natural environment and biodiversity.

Looking forward to 2024, Co-Founder Ruth Franklin expressed, “Our commitment to sustainability remains steadfast, and we are eager to continue fostering meaningful connections between travelers and the remarkable ecosystems that make the Maldives a true paradise. In the coming year, we aim to launch new conservation cruises, strengthen existing partnerships, and further promote the principles of responsible travel.”

About Secret Paradise Maldives:

Secret Paradise has embedded sustainable and responsible tourism into its business model since 2012. Offering locally led tours throughout the archipelago, the company ensures the promotion of local tourism in alignment with Maldivian culture and traditions. Through education initiatives targeting their team, guests, and locals, Secret Paradise strives to protect the environment and minimize negative impacts whenever possible.

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