Maldives introduces ‘Spa Corner’ at WTM 2012

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Known for celebrating ‘the sunny side of life’, the Maldives Marketing & PR Corporation will promote a health and wellness theme at World Travel Market this year by introducing a new Spa Corner on their stand.

The initiative will offer neck and shoulder massages to visitors, plus complimentary spa products to the first 200 guests who drop by.

Sponsored by Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, the Spa Corner has been introduced in recognition of the spa tourism boom that the destination has experienced in recent years.

MMPRC reports, despite the global economic downturn, consumers have still demanded relaxing spa services, which points towards a sustainable future for this industry in the country.

With established spa brands such as Banyan Tree, Six Senses and Anantara all present in the Maldives, the islands are a popular choice for travellers who are looking for wellness vacations.

Local brands such as Araamu Spa are continuously developing their spa facilities to offer high quality services to compete in line with international brands.

Head over to the stand AS540 for more information.

MATATO honors tourism industry with Maldives Travel Awards

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Maldives Association for Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) honored the travel and tourism industry with first ever Maldives Travel Awards.

The grand awarding ceremony was held last night (28th September) at Paradise Island Resort. The event began with awarding of appreciation plaques to Mr. Abdulla Jabir, Mr. Yoosuf Riffath and Mr. Maleeh Jamal for their contribution to the development of MATATO. Awards for 21 categories including resorts, hotels, liveaboards and aviation were awarded trophies. A tourism personality award was also awarded to Mr. Ibrahim Gasim as his achievements and contribution to the development of the hospitality industry in Maldives.

The event included entertainment items popular Maldivian artists including Unoosha, Barchi, Ritte, Mummu, Mira and Furadhan. The ceremony closed with the rhythms of DJ Paidey.

Senior management members of top hotel chains in Maldives and attended the event. Members of the executive board of MATATO and the Minister of State for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ms. Mariyam Mizna Shareef also attended the event.

During the coming few days the winner from among the voters will be selected and awarded 2 return tickets from Etihad Airways and their GSA Partner AirPlus along with a 7 night stay at Paradise Island Resort.

This year’s judging panel, appointed by MATATO, was made up of Dr. Mahamood Shougee (Former Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation), Dr. Ahmed Adham Abdulla (CEO of MTCC), Ms. Zeenaz Hussain (Dean of Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Studies), and Mr. Ghaly Murthala (Tourism Development Consultant for FJS Consulting Pvt Ltd).

“The event was very successful, and we thank all the sponsors and MATATO for their assistance and support in making the first Maldives Travel Awards a grand success. We also thank all the nominees and congratulate all the winners, and hope that more resorts, hotels, Liveaboards, airlines and airports will participate in next year’s awards”  said Ismail Hameed, Director of Marketing, High Rise, who organized the event.

MATATO is the exclusive organizer of Maldives Travel Awards, and this year’s event was managed and organized by High Rise.

Leading Luxury Hotel - Hulhule Island Hotel
Leading Wellness & Spa Resort - Six Senses Laamu
Leading Business Hotel - Paradise Island Resort
Leading Cruise Brand - Voyages Maldives
Leading Budget Hotel - Adaaran Club Rannalhi
Leading Cruiser - Dhaainkanbaa
Leading Luxury Resort - Anantara Kihavah Villas
Leading Resort Website - Adaaran Select Meedhupparu
Leading Beach Resort - LUX Maldives
Leading Liveaboard Website - Island Pearl
Most Romantic Resort - Naladhu Maldives
Most Supportive Resort - Sun Island Resort & Spa
Leading Dive Resort - Sun Island Resort & Spa
Leading Domestic Airport - Villa Maamigili Airport
Leading Surf Resort - Chaaya Island Dhonveli
Leading International Airline - Emirates
Leading ECO Resort - Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu
Leading Family Resort - Centara Grand Island Resort & spa, Maldives
Leading Meeting & Conference Resort - Sun Island Resort & Spa
Leading Meeting & Conference Center - Sun Island Resort & Spa
Leading Wellness & Spa Brand - Chavana Spa

Sunbathing attracting Indian tourists: survey

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Sun bathing, beach massages, surfing, swimming and snorkeling are major attractions for Indians to beach destinations, with Delhiites showing the highest propensity for sun bathing among Indian travellers, a survey by Expedia says.

The 2012 Flip Flop Report, an analysis of behaviour and preferences among beachgoers in Asia, North America, South America, Europe and Australia, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia adds that Indians have been preferring beach vacations in Goa, Thiland, Maldives, Bali, Malaysia, Miami, Hawaii, Caribbean, California, Brazil, et al.

“As opposed to the perception of high price sensitivity, Indians have been deciding on beach destinations depending on food and beverage availability and novelties,” said Manmeet Ahluwalia, marketing head at Expedia India.

Delhiites have been preferring international destinations while those from Mumbai chose domestic vacations. Indians however, spend 5.4 days on beach vacation unlike the global average of 7.7 days. Indians place new experiences over relaxation for opting for a beach holiday, the report indicates.

Travel partners at the most recent beach vacation included spouse or partners, friends and parents, in that order. However, India and Brazil have the highest number of beachgoers globally traveling with their parents. Delhiites travel least with parents, the report states.

Tourists from Mumbai rank highest in posing for pictures that they do not want their business associates to see. Tourists from Delhi and Mumbai travel with friends and least with parents.

“When Indian adults were asked to choose between spending time at the beach and spending time with family, among other options, the beach won handily.

“Eighty percent of Indian travelers are already planning to go for a beach vacation within 12 months,” he added.

While the average stays for a beach vacation is 7.7 days globally, Indians fall below average at 5.4 days.

The specific findings for Indians include:
  • Given a choice 30 percent would opt for beach holiday with plenty of relaxation time, and 27 percent for a romantic holiday with spouse/partner.
  • Food and beverage reputation, along with novelty of the destination, have the highest importance, with the total cost of travel ranking at 5th position (71 percent). India ranks highest globally in giving preference to food and beverage. Other factors include fun night life (69 percent) and activities at the beach (67 percent)
  • Seventy-one percent of Indians are prepared to spend Rs. 15,000 or more on a beach trip
  • Over 56 percent now consult magazines, travel sites and research for destinations and 60 percent rely on recommendations from friends, peers or family
  • Sixty-eight percent of Indian women look for a secluded beach environment. (IANS)
  • In recent years, Maldives has become a popular travel destination in the international market. It has emerged as the playground for Indian celebrities like Hrithik Roshan, Madhuri Dixit, Salman Khan, Pretty Zinta, Kareena Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Malaika Arora to name a few who regularly visits, while number of Bollywood film makers regularly shoot in Maldives.

The growth rate for travellers from India to Maldives increased by 20% i. e from 25,756 in 2010 to 30,978 in 2011. 2012 figures show a 20% growth in Indian tourists and MMPRC expects to attract 100,000 Indian tourists in the next two years.

Gaathafushi Private Island is yours from W Retreat Maldives

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W Maldives guests have their own tropical playground when reserving Gaathafushi.  The island is yours, for the day or for an overnight ‘Robinson Crusoe’ experience.

Indulge in exquisite serenity while exploring the surrounding silent lagoon or hang out on the signature W Bed under a thatched roof. Unwind like never before while your own private chef sets up a special candle light BBQ as the sun dips over the horizon. Wake up as the sun rises and sample Chef Nikolaj’s innovative breakfast cuisine.

Ku the retreat’s W Insider says “This is a once in a lifetime experience. Miles from everywhere and a short speedboat ride away from the main retreat our guests get to live like the jetsetters they are. An overnight stay on Gaathafushi allows you to recharge and prepare for whatever is next – like no other location in the Maldives can. As a true W Insider I recommend guests to download our W Hotels iPhone APP so that the latest beats from our DJ Lab artists are ready to amplify the island life and to bring along a volley ball as well as the latest best seller novel. Anything else – Just ask.”

W Retreat and Spa Maldives is a tropical playground in the Indian Ocean that’s perfect for relaxing, playing, and recharging for your next adventure. Connect with inner peace and go along with the pace of island life. Experience one of the 78 Retreats, either on the beachside or overwater which gives you access to endless Indian Ocean views. Succumb to an inviting concept of dazzling blue waters, spectacular reefs and pristine sands infused with style and soul. AWAY® Spa at W Maldives is a call back to nature with four overwater treatment villas, each with a private outdoor area.

W Retreat and Spa Maldives is located in Fesdu Private Island which is 72km away from airport, this Luxury Island features 78 villas and transfer to the island provided by Seaplane and approximately 25 minutes to reach the resort from Male International Airport.

Scaevola Travel acquires Atoll Explorer

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Scaevola Travel has acquired Atoll Explorer diving cruiser from Universal Enterprises. The Male’-based travel agent specializes in the inbound market and its executive management shares more than 30 years of experience in the travel industry between them.

Atoll Explorer is a 20-cabin cruise boat offering facilities and entertainment for divers and non-divers alike, whether you want to explore the underwater world, soak up some tropical sun on the deck or enjoy a picnic on a sandbank.

A Scaevola Travel spokeswoman said: “We’re thrilled to announce our acquisition of Atoll Explorer which has been providing first class live aboard cruises for more than 15 years with clients returning year after year.

“She’s a firm favourite because she is very different to other boats in the Maldives. She is more than a standard safari boat; she offers just as much for non-divers as she does for divers. With the wonderful Captain Fulhu and his crew on hand to make them feel very welcome and all the attention to detail, people keep coming back time and time again!”

In 1996 Atoll Explorer became the first live aboard to offer first class cruising in the Maldives. The laid-back atmosphere, friendly staff, comfortable facilities and all-inclusive meal plan are a winning combination. Guests love the on-board experience so much that many of them come back to repeat the experience time and time again. Some guests have even sailed on her more than 30 times.

There’s plenty to keep guests occupied on board including international buffets, picnics on uninhabited islands, fishing, snorkelling, visiting inhabited islands and local cultural shows.

She is also fully-equipped with a professional PADI dive team operated by Euro Divers. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, the team can offer a range of PADI courses as well as trips where you can spot turtles, rays, moray eels and all kinds of other colourful aquatic life.

Scaevola Travel was founded in 2009 and features more than 50 resorts in its portfolio. The company has its own exclusive agent in Shanghai (China) and also works with agents in Russia, Sweden, Belgium, Egypt, Germany and India. With the acquisition of Atoll Explorer, Scaevola Travel hopes to work with even more agents from around the world.

Maldivian – The National Carrier of Maldives welcomed its first A320 aircraft

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Maldivian is proud to welcome today our first Airbus 320 aircraft at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. The engineering and operations team have worked diligently in readying the aircraft for flight next month.

The aircraft interior was modified to a three class configuration: 14 business, 24 premium and 114 economy class seats and was installed with an in-flight entertainment system.

Training, maintenance and operation procedures needed to be adapted to the specific characteristics of the A320, while ensuring an efficient and effective implementation schedule that will facilitate safe, effective, and sustained operations.

The aircraft was ferried from Toulouse, France to Maldives via Doha. The aircraft arrived at 1030hrs.

Velassaru Maldives Introduces Photography Lounge

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As part of the continuous care to offer its guests the best experience, Velassaru has introduced a new photography service in the resort in a special lounge area called “Photography Lounge”.

This Photography Lounge was officially opened on 15th October 2012 in cooperation with Digiphoto, a partner of Event Imaging Solutions – a Kodak company based in Orlando. They currently operate in 450 sites worldwide and offer different Imaging applications adjusted to operating location.

Different photo packages will be available to the guests, and all the high quality images will be delivered in a folder, on a CD or a USB drive.

Resorts’ guests will be able to enjoy photo sessions, capture their best moments on the island and then select the desired images in the viewing lounge with the help of professional photographers.

Secluded but not isolated, Velassaru Maldives is located on a private coral island, surrounded by the finest white-sand beaches and a unique turquoise lagoon. It is only 25-minute ride from Male International Airport. Find your hideaway in chic villas with sophistication and privacy in every corner. Dine overlooking the stunning turquoise lagoon, under candlelight or starlight and indulge all your desires. A holiday you will never forget.’

Velassaru Resort is located in Velassaru Private Island which is 37km away from airport, this Luxury Island features 125 villas and transfer to the island provided by Speedboat and approximately 25 minutes to reach the resort from Male International Airport.

Maldivian Air Taxi to start scheduled seaplane flights

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Maldivian Air Taxi (MAT) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Maldives to start scheduled seaplane flights to the local islands. At a special ceremony Minister of Transport & Communication, Dr. Ahmed Shamheed signed the MOU on behalf of the government and Lars Erik Nielson, Chairman of Maldivian Air Taxi signed the MOU.

Government have been discussing with MAT for a while and now they have agreed for to start the scheduled flights. Government agreed to waive navigation and concession charges. They also discussed on other concessions. “Very soon people living in remote corners of the country will start enjoying the flights. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Nielson for his personal efforts” Said Dr. Shamheed.

Lars Erik Nielsen said now they are making ground arrangements to start the flights and hope to begin flights within next month. “We have not decided on ticket fares as yet. Normally seaplane fares are expensive, but we expect to keep it at an affordable level for the people”. He further said they have enough seaplanes and crew for the new operation and will start as soon as the arrangements are done.

According to Dr. Shamheed, destinations for the flights are Fonadhoo Island in Shaviyani Atoll, Alifushi Island in Raa Atoll, Kaashidhoo Island in Male’ Atoll, Muli Island in Meemu Atoll and Kudahuvadhoo Island in Dhaalu Atoll. “These islands have no air connection. Seaplane flights to these islands will also connect to nearby islands. Our target is to start flight at the earliest possible” said Dr. Shamheed.

MAT is a privately owned seaplane operator and has been operating in Maldives since 1993. Until now they have only operated as a charter flight operator to the resort islands. This will be the first scheduled seaplane flights to start in Maldives. There are also seven airports in the country and they are serviced by Maldivian and FlyMe.

Explore the Unrivalled Underwater World of the Maldives with Four Seasons Resorts Maldives Dive Discovery Package.

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The Maldives is home to a biodiversity of marine life that will thrill even the most experienced diver. Whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, dolphins and grey, white tip, hammerhead and nurse sharks (among others) vie for space in the warm, nutrient-rich water and numerous caverns in channels between the atolls.
Four Seasons Resorts Maldives four-night Dive Discovery packageoffers added value to divers at both its Resorts through December 20, 2012. 

Located in the North Malé Atoll, just 30 minutes speedboat ride from Malé, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa is within five to 30 minutes of 30 excellent dive sites. Travel in a traditional dhoni – Maldivian boat – to sites including the renowned manta ray cleaning station at Sunlight Point (sightings through November) or the exciting 110-metre (360-foot) long cargo freighter wreck, just 45 minutes from the Resort.
A 30-minute seaplane flight from Malé airport, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru places guests in the heart of the Baa Atoll’s UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The Resort is surrounded by a host of newly discovered sites and pristine, untouched areas – many of which are also suitable for novice divers.
Both Resorts have Five-Star PADI IDC-licensed dive centres with multi-lingual instructors, extensive courses and daily dive trips. Dive equipment is available on a complimentary basis; high-tech digital cameras can be rented and professional videography is offered at a fee.

Zitahli Resorts & Spa Kuda-Funafaru

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Zitahli Resorts & Spa Kuda-Funafaru is located in Kuda-Funafaru Private Island which is 180km away from airport, this Luxury Island features 50 villas and transfer to the island provided by Seaplane and approximately 45 minutes to reach the resort from Male International Airport

Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef Resort & Spa

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Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef Resort & Spa is located in Hembadhu Private Island which is 32km away from airport, this Luxury Island features 62 villas and transfer to the island provided by Speedboat and approximately 50 minutes to reach the resort from Male International Airport.

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort

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Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort is located in Rangalifinolhu Private Island which is 90km away from airport, this Luxury Island features 150 villas and transfer to the island provided by Seaplane and approximately 30 minutes to reach the resort from Male International Airport.