Rasdhoo Atoll, Maldives, 10 November 2017. Veligandu Island Resort and Spa, in the Maldives, has been selected for a Champions Award as a result of its work and commitment to local communities.
The resort was awarded the Travelife 'Working with and Supporting the Local Community' certificate for its work that actively supports local fishermen, growers and tradespeople.
Veligandu General Manager Fathuhulla Ibrahim, who has been with the resort more than 28 years, says that the resort: “always sees to it that our service goes with a personal touch because our aim is to make sure all experiences are the best.”
Travelife is an international sustainability certification scheme that helps some 1,300 tourism-based members around the world improve their environmental, social and economic impacts. Hotels and resorts that meet the Travelife standard are formally recognised with a Travelife award to promote their achievements.
Veligandu’s Ibrahim notes that the resort also continually strives to “continue efforts in making [all aspects of] our island better.” In part this has led to an open door policy for the use of hotel facilities for locals – there is no restriction on local visitors to Picnic Island, although the facility is rented by the hotel from the Maldivian government.
Additionally, the resort works in close partnership with the local government to implement a proper waste management system on Rasdhoo Island, and has donated a compactor and glass crusher as well as providing training locals on how to use them.
The resort also supports local industry. In 2016, it purchased more than 52,000kg of seafood from local fishermen, worth more than US$137,000. During the same 12 months, it supported fruits and vegetable growers from the neighbouring Island of Thodhoo by taking some 2,900kg of produce every month – around $65,000 worth over the year. All of the profits from the produce buying are paid to families in the local community.
In addition, they purchase snacks made by local women, instead of causing them, the inconvenience of finding a delivery method the hotel collects the goods from their homes.
The hotel’s excursion programme to neighbouring islands, takes place twice a week to encourage guests to spend in the local community, with each guest spending on average between US$25 – US$75. They offer a weekly staff ferry to neighbouring islands for team building events such as 2-day trips and night trips and providing staff with dinner at the local restaurant.