Accommodation & Meals:
You will spend the first night in a local island guesthouse. We predominantly use small businesses for accommodation in order to keep investment local and benefit the communities we visit directly. Almost all meals are provided and whilst much produce has to be imported to the destination the MV Felicity will endeavour to use local produce wherever possible. Meals might include bananas, water melon papaya and plenty of fresh fish!
We only use locally owned and operated guesthouses, dive schools and excursion providers all of which have been developed by locals. This ensures that profits go back into the hands of the local community. We also support businesses indirectly through associated services and activities. These include laundry services, local fishing industry, speedboat operators, cafes and supermarkets.
We provide employment, good working conditions, a fair wage and performance reviews for local employees. Our guides are Maldivian and with the exception of the Sales Director, our operations team are Maldivian. Not only does this ensure our guests get a real insight to Maldivian life, our guides achieve personal development through interaction with guests from different cultures and backgrounds. They also have the opportunity to participate in tour leader development programs available from our international partners.
“A treasure trove of marine life” is perhaps the best way to describe the Maldives, however this ecosystem is fragile. A single touch can kill coral or infect marine life. We encourage safe and responsible snorkelling and diving practises and guests can expect information and demonstrations on correct snorkelling/diving practises throughout the trip. For example, we do not touch underwater creatures (including coral) or pollute the water with litter.
The Maldives struggle to eliminate all the rubbish produced by over 1 million tourists per year and whilst educating locals in waste management is all part of a larger project, we encourage our guests to support this in a number of ways. Lead by example and don’t drop rubbish, reuse or refuse plastic bags in shops and we encourage it as a point of conversation between our guides and the local community with guests.
Local Craft and Culture:
Although this trip is largely nature and water based, we make time to stop at locally inhabited islands where you will have the opportunity to explore Maldivian culture and to support the local economy. Traditional handmade souvenirs include coconut wood carving and woodware, lacquer ware and woven products. We encourage clients not to buy any crafts made from animal parts, including shells.
On this trip, the main organisation we support is the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP). The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) is a research-based conservation charity dedicated to studying the Whale shark and fostering community-focused conservation initiatives in the Maldives and the greater Indian Ocean. What initially began as a scientific expedition in 2006, has grown to become the only long-term organization dedicated to study the iconic, yet vulnerable Whale shark species in the Maldives. Their goal is simple: they seek to advance the field of Whale shark knowledge and to advocate for sound conservation policy in the Maldives. By encouraging and valuing community and industry stakeholder participation, they are able to leverage the scientific research to safeguard the rich biodiversity and fragile marine ecosystems that are the basis for not only Whale sharks, but also life, livelihood and culture in the Maldives.
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.