Beyond Earth Hour: Conservation efforts prove “challenging”, but vital for Maldives resorts

For 60 minutes on March 23 this year, resorts across the Maldives attempted, on a voluntary basis, to throw their guests into darkness – or at least dimness – for the high-profile Earth Hour event, reports Minivan News’ spin-off travel site, Dhonisaurus.

Earth Hour, established by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) NGO, aims to encourage cities, organisations and households all over the world to simultaneously turn off lights and other electrical appliances for a single hour in an attempt to raise the profile of energy conservation measures.

Public and private sector organisations were among those participating across the Maldives’ capital and other islands this year, which was celebrated afterwards, somewhat paradoxically, with a dance event complete with a large sound system in Male’.

However, attempts at cutting the use of artificial lighting at resorts across the Maldives to celebrate this year’s Earth Hour have been claimed by hospitality groups to be reflective of wider efforts across the country’s lucrative tourism industry to better balance sustainable operations with high-end luxury.

Starwood Hotels, which operates both the W Retreat and Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa, claim to have participated in Earth Hour for the last five years – commitments the company has claimed are well appreciated by guests.

“Year on year, we’ve seen positive responses from the guests regarding the various [sustainability] initiatives,” stated a spokesperson for the group. “Naming for example the ‘Coral Planting Project’ at Sheraton Maldives was very well received by some guests who found it very informative and rewarding as well to contribute back to the nature.”

“Quite challenging”

Beyond occasional, high-profile commitments such as Earth Hour, Starwood Hotels said that trying to balance more sustainable operations in the Maldives with consumer expectations of luxury and fine dining was not without its challenges.

“It’s quite challenging being in the Maldives due to its geographical nature, but being in the Maldives gives us an even greater meaning to work towards a more eco-friendly holiday experience and sustainability through efficiency and better use of resources in order to reach our goals by 2020,” stated a company spokesperson.

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Laugfs Holdings discusses Maldives resort ambitions

Sri Lanka-based Laugfs Holdings is reportedly looking to boost its presence in the hospitality industry by establishing a resort property in the Maldives.

Company Chairman W K H Wegapitiyahas told the TTG Asia travel news publication today that potential Maldivian locations were now being considered to establish a resort under the company’s Ananthaya brand.

The group is also said to be in talks to set up another resort property in Thailand, according to the report.

Laugfs Holdings, which was founded fifteen years ago to provide energy services, has in recent years moved to extend its operations into leisure and retail.


Four Seasons opens 2013 Hospitality Apprenticeships

Four Seasons Resorts Maldives has held a series of information sessions and application interviews for its 2013 Hospitality Apprenticeship scheme.

The program will offer 50 young Maldivians a year’s vocational training in food and beverage preparation, service, maritime transport, housekeeping and guest services, PADI dive master and water sports.

In a statement, the resort said that the program was “the most successful and longest running of its kind in the Indian Ocean.”

After a decade of operation, the program’s reputation “has grown to such an extent that virtually all apprentices get a job upon graduation, with a level of skill that would otherwise have taken years to acquire.”

Apprentices live and work at Four Seasons Resorts Maldives, training in resort operations five days a week, with theory classes one day a week. Performance appraisals and tests are taken at regular interviews.

The program is open to young Maldivians aged 17-20, with O-level certifications, an enthusiastic service-minded attitude, an excellent disciplinary record and fluency in both written and spoken English. Previous work experience is not required.

Interviews took place in Male’, Raa, Addu and Fuamulah Atolls earlier this month, while interviews will be held at Naifaru/Hinnavaru, Lhaviyani on December 16; Velidhoo, Noonu on 17 December 17 and Baa Atoll on January 13-14,2012.

Interested applicants who are unable to attend one of the above sessions should complete and return an application form by February 15, 2012: [email protected]