Maldives dominates Indian Ocean travel awards, host and sponsors among winners

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By Neil Merrett -  The Maldives dominated this year’s Indian Ocean World Travel Awards (WTA) event, scooping a number of prizes during the ceremony hosted yesterday (May 12) at the country’s Paradise Island Resort and Spa – itself a winner on the night.
Maldives dominates Indian Ocean travel awards, host and sponsors among winners thumbnailThe Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture said the event, estimated to have cost around US$30,000 in shared expenditures for corporate sponsors and local authorities, will play a significant part in promoting the Maldives internationally this year.
Authorities have previously stated the ceremony would also provide a major boost to the reputation of the destination’s resorts for hosting events and conferences.
However, one senior local travel industry figure in attendance at yesterday’s ceremony told Minivan News that despite providing “great publicity”, concerns remained over the credibility of the WTA voting process – pointing to the high number of collaborators and sponsors receiving accolades.

The source, who asked not to be identified, said that without discrediting the night’s “worthy winners”, the announcement of certain accolades were met with “audible groans” by those in attendance during the ceremony.

According to the WTA website, the Maldives was awarded the accolades of the Indian Ocean’s leading beach, cruise and overall regional destination, beating competition from Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion Island and Seychelles.
However, the country lost out to Mauritius in the categories of the Indian Ocean’s leading dive and honeymoon destinations for the year.
Maldives-based properties including the Conrad Rangali Island resort, W Retreat and Spa, Gili Lankanfushi, Baros Maldives, Sun Island Resort and Spa andAyada Maldives all claimed accolades across a number of categories.  These categories included the ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Green Resort 2013′ and the ‘Indian Ocean’s Most Romantic Resort 2013′.
The evening’s winners also included Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) in Male’, which was recognised as the ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Airport 2013′. The Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC) was also honoured as ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Tourist Board 2013′, while Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Ahmed Adheeb was recognised as the ‘Indian Ocean’s Travel and Tourism Personality’, according to the WTA.
Other winners included the ceremony’s host venue, the Paradise Island Resort and Spa, which took several awards during the evening. Local operators including Atoll Paradise and Lets Go Maldives were also awarded. A new award in the category of ‘Outstanding services to the Tourist Industry, Indian Ocean’ was presented to Sri Lankan Airlines.
The WTA said in promotional material that Sri Lankan Airlines, Lets Go Maldives, the MMPRC and Jumhoree Party (JP) MP and presidential candidate MP Gasim Ibrahim’s Villa Group – operator of Paradise Island Resort and Spa – had all collaborated in bringing the awards to the Maldives.

Positive headlines
A senior tourism industry source present during the event said that the WTA ceremony would no doubt generate much needed positive headlines for the Maldives as a destination.
However, the source raised concerns about the credibility of some of the winners during yesterday’s ceremony.
“The nominees who put the most [money] into it often seem to get awards. Yet guests hang their hat on the outcome of such things,” said the senior industry figure.
The same source alleged that while there were winners on the night who deserved their accolades, the decision to grant awards to numerous key collaborators and sponsors of the event raised questions over the ultimate credibility of the event.
“I believe whichever destination is chosen has to pay to host the awards. This is part and parcel of such an event. It needs sponsors like airlines to cover transportation of staff and organisers and a place for them to stay. I guess this is how it works in terms of the economics, but this also creates a problem of credibility when the same groups win,” the industry insider alleged.
“Some of the the winners last night were certainly warranted, others not so much. I think most will take the awards with a pinch of salt.”
The source claimed that one award winner, alleged to be facing severe financial difficulties and failing to make substantial payments to creditors, nonetheless managed to scoop the top award in its category.

WTA response
A spokesperson for the WTA, which is this year celebrating its 20th anniversary, rejected any allegations of wrongdoing in its voting system.
“We are a totally transparent organisation and, in the last 20 years of World Travel Awards, have been regarded with the highest integrity in the tourism and hospitality world, hence our longevity,” the spokesperson stated.
The organisation added that details of how its voting system worked wereavailable on its website.  Minivan News was awaiting further response from organisation’s global business directors at the time of press.

Event hosting
Deputy Tourism Minister Mohamed Maleeh Jamal told Minivan News that hosting the WTA regional event would send a signal around the world concerning the country’s ability to host events and conventions.
“Last night was very important for expanding event-based tourism in the country and we are proud to host the awards,” he said. “This is not about dollars and cents, the event is about goodwill. Through his network, WTA President Graham Cooke last night ensured efforts would continue to promote the Maldives.”
Maleeh said that the total expenditure behind hosting such an event, which was shared with several corporate partners, was “quite minimal”, focusing on areas such as the transportation of guests and printing promotional materials. By comparison he said the rewards for the industry such as international media coverage and global publicity would be significant.
Tourism authorities over the last year have looked to bounce back from theperceived negative impacts of political uncertainty in the Maldives back in 2012 – narrowly missing out on obtaining one million visitors to the country during the course of last year.
With a recent high-profile campaign by petition site potentially calling for a boycott of the country’s lucrative travel industry, Maleeh said events like the WTA award were an important means to leverage publicity.

He said that the event was especially important at a time when the country was officially celebrating 40 years since the inception of its tourism industry, helping authorities to overcome a limited promotional budget provided by parliament in the state budget.
Maleeh added that the success of hosting the WTA ceremony now paved the way for the country to host other high-profile events with a capacity of between 200 – 300 people in the future, as part of a planned expansion into meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE) tourism.

With a number of the country’s exclusive island resorts offering convention facilities on site, Maleeh added that MICE would allow the Maldives to attract an entirely different segment of travellers – many likely to be first time visitors – to help generate word of mouth about the country.

“What we need to work on is more resorts to cater for this market, this will include trying to ensure that such events can be hosted beyond the Male’ area,” he said.
Maleeh claimed ahead of the WTA ceremony last month that the emergence of new regional airports around the country would open up a wider number of properties and businesses to potentially benefit from demand for MICE tourism.
He added that senior representatives from the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) were also scheduled to travel to the Maldives in September for a special high-profile panel discussion.

Maldives resorts on the lookout for Chinese tourists on 'fake' honeymoons

Loading Maldives Offers.... At least two resorts have revised policies to thwart fake honeymooners.

Guangzhou newly-wed Sara had been hoping for a private holiday when she landed at a Maldives luxury resort with her husband in March. But when six other Chinese “couples”- among them a elderly woman and her adult son - showed up at a sunset dinner, Sara was outraged.

The dinner was advertised by the hotel as exclusively for newly-weds.

“How could they have been so shameless just for a free meal?” the woman who was identified only as Sara later vented on her microblog.

Sara told of one couple who were apparently vacationing with their child. They were later confronted by hotel staff.

“How can you possibly be on a honeymoon when your child is already so big?” they were asked, according to Sara's weibo post. The couple were asked to show their marriage certificate.

The husband produced a copy of their certificate, while shouting in Chinese: “Of course it’s our honeymoon. Can’t you read? You trash.”

The fake honeymoon story shocked thousands of China’s social media users, who criticised the “uncivilised behaviour” of the holidaymakers and even called for a "human flesh search" to locate the culprits.

The six “couples”, who Sara said appeared to be related, had booked their vacations through a travel agent, like a majority of Chinese tourists vacationing abroad.

To win customers, more Chinese travel agents are encouraging or even assisting their clients to fake marriage documents to qualify for honeymoon perks offered by Maldives resorts, said Jenny Wang, a Beijing-based Maldives vacation agent.

Offers include free meals, a complimentary visit to a spa, a basket of fruit or a bottle of champagne, depending on the resort. Most resorts require tourists to apply within six months of their marriage date. But marriage certificates can be easily manipulated on computers, and agents don’t have to break a sweat faking documents for clients.

Wang admitted that she had lost dozens of clients to her competitors simply because she wasn’t willing to “help”.

“Some people are ready to take any advantage they can,” she said.

She said resorts have had Chinese sisters posing as newly-weds because same-sex couples are also entitled to the honeymoon offers. But such couples are usually fake since it's no secret that gay marriage is not legal in China, Wang said.

Until recently, most resorts have appeared tolerant about fraudulent honeymooners, which account for about 50 per cent of all tourists on honeymoon packages, according to Wang's estimate.

But apparently some resorts have finally had enough.

In a letter issued to travel agents last week by luxury Maldives resort Niyama, obtained by the South China Morning Post, honeymoon bookings must now show proof.

“It has been brought to our attention recently that honeymoon bookings are being made and benefits requested for clients that evidently are not on their honeymoon i.e./ mother and daughters, sister etc,” reads the letter.

Agents must submit a copy of tourists' marriage certificates for future bookings. Wang said she had received similar requests from at least one other resort.

The Maldives, which reportedly receives its largest number of tourists from China, is becoming increasingly popular among China's burgeoning middle-class vacationers, who are said to be raucous and tend to travel in groups. Some tourists boycotted a Maldives resort this year after it allegedly withdrew electric kettles from its rooms to prevent Chinese visitors from cooking instant noodles.

This month China's Vice-Premier Wang Yang admitted that dire manners and "uncivilised behaviour" of tourists are harming China's image.


Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives Bagged 3 Top Awards At World Travel Awards 2013

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Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives, has been named as 2013 Indian Ocean's Leading Luxury Resort, Indian Ocean's Leading Spa Resort and Maldives' Leading Luxury Resort at the World Travel Awards 2013 Indian Ocean ceremony, held in Maldives on 12 May.
The industry’s elite, including CEO’s and SVPs of leading travel companies, President of the Maldives, government ministers and tourist board chiefs, attended the gala event hailed as “The Oscars of the Travel Industry”. World Travel Awards celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year and is acknowledged across the globe as the ultimate travel accolade, celebrating those brands that are pushing the boundaries of industry excellence in product and service.
An intimate coral island in a sparkling lagoon, with jetties threading across the water out to spacious villa accommodations, Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives, is an upmarket boutique resort that stands at the forefront of the eco-luxury sector and acts as a benchmark for luxury resorts. Hidden away on Lankanfushi Island, in a lagoon on the North Malé Atoll, all of its 45 over-water villas, crafted in a traditional style from natural materials, reflect the harmony of life by the water’s edge. All villas at this luxury resort offer a private water garden, open air bathroom, roof-top terrace and over-water sundecks. For ultimate privacy, guests can opt to stay in one of the seven Crusoe residences or the Private Reserve, accessible only by personal boat; all guests are personally taken care of by our Mr. Friday™, who will enrich guests' dream vacation into a truly unique and memorable experience.
“We’re thrilled to be recognised as the leading luxury resort in the Indian Ocean region,” said Iain McCormack, General Manager of Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives.  “Our hosts have worked extremely hard for this and their continuous dedication to reach the highest levels of services is great testimonies of what we have achieved so far,” continues Iain.
In celebrating the recognitions, Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives is offering an exclusive "Extended Escape" package. Guest will enjoy 1 complimentary night with minimum 3 nights stay at Best Available Rates, valid from now till 30 September 2013. Rate includes accommodation of choice, complimentary access to non-motorized water sports activities, Sunset cocktail party on Tuesday evening, regular Yoga and Tai Chi sessions, and unlimited access to Internet.
Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives marks the parent company – Hotel Properties Limited’s fifth property in the Maldives. The other properties within the group are Four Seasons Resort at Kuda Huraa and Landaa Giraavaru; Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma; and Rihiveli Beach Resort. Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives is the 12th hotel managed by HPL Hotels & Resorts.

The Rise of the 'Surfari' Highlights the Luxury Maldives' Potential to Appeal to Active Holidaymakers

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Surfing expeditions in the Maldives increase in popularity as the country showcases its wilder side

The Maldives has long been associated with tranquillity and relaxation, and it's little wonder when this small island group in the middle of the Indian Ocean is littered with some of the most luxurious resorts in the world, some with an entire island to call their own. The palm-fringed beaches and crystal clear blue waters are straight from a picture postcard, and most visitors to the Maldives have very little on the agenda aside from sipping cocktails and soaking up the ambiance. It may surprise more active holidaymakers to learn, then, that surfers are flocking to the islands to embark on so called 'Surfaris', group excursions in search of the biggest and best waves the surrounding ocean has to offer.

Although the warm waters of the Indian Ocean don't match the size of the crests in traditional surf spots, enthusiasts cite the consistency of the waves as one of the key factors that makes the Maldives such an attractive spot for them. Of course this isn't just good news for surfers, it highlights the fact that adrenaline junkies can indeed get their fix in the Maldives, which is so renowned as a destination primed for doing very little. Water sports enthusiasts in particular are spoiled for choice here, with many Maldives Luxury Resorts offering a range of sea-based activities including windsurfing, snorkelling and scuba diving. Hayes and Jarvis are proud to offer customers some of the finest examples.

The Lily Beach Resort & Spa is located on the South Siri Atoll just 30 minutes by Seaplane from Malé airport. This five-star property offers the ultimate in Maldivian luxury with gourmet fusion dining and over-water spa. Water sports fans however can enjoy windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing and catamaran sailing, as well as tennis, volleyball, table tennis, pool and darts back on dry land.

Continuing with the luxury theme, the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa perfectly exemplifies the serenity of the Maldives with Water Villas featuring steps that lead right into the Indian Ocean, perfect for a paddle. For more active holiday makers, there are a range of water sports on offer as well as tennis and fitness centre. The Shine spa is on hand with a range of treatments for those who are in need of relaxation after a day of activities.

Meeru Island Resort based on North Malé Atoll is an ideal place to stay for those looking to explore all the Maldives has to offer. Holidaymakers can find great value-for-money stays here, as well as more luxurious breaks, with the option of upgrading to All Inclusive. Newcomers to water sports can take advantage of one-and-a-half-hour windsurfing lessons while those with more experience can enjoy free use of kayaks and surfboards.

Source: SACBEE

Centara Ras Fushi Maldives open only 6 weeks and voted No 1 resort in North Male Atoll

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Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa Maldives, which opened only on 15th of April this year, is ranking number one on TripAdvisor amongst a total of 31 resort hotels in North Male Atoll.
The adult-focused resort has gained most of its reviews from couples, and averages four-and-a-half stars out of five.

“For the resort to have been open for only six weeks, and to have already hit the top spot amongst all the other resorts in North Male Atoll, is amazing,” says Chris Bailey, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Centara Hotels & Resorts.

“Competition in the Maldives is intense. We are very proud indeed, both of the resort and of our staff there, several of whom have been singled out for mention in the reviews.”
The resort has gathered comments such as “fabulous experience”, “best value”, “nothing short of superb”, and “beautiful honeymoon in beautiful destination.”

“Anyone who is planning to visit this island is very lucky and in for a treat!” wrote one happy honeymoon couple.

Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa Maldives is just over 15 minutes by speedboat from Male International Airport and has 140 villas located on the beach or set above the island’s lagoon.
As an adult-focused resort, children under the age of 12 years are not accommodated on the island, with families instead being referred to Centara’s other Maldives resort, Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives, which is in South Ari Atoll.

Guests at Centara Ras Fushi Resort have the option of All-Inclusive or Half Board Plus accommodation programmes.

Source = Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa Maldives

Maldives' Soneva Fushi & Soneva Kiri Unveil New Wellness Programs

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Maldives Luxury Resorts Soneva Fushi and Soneva Kiri (Thailand) are making 'me' time a sublime virtue with the launch in May 2013 new Wellness programmes, including a pioneering Ayurvedic package, all tailored exclusively to individual guests tensions, tastes or body type (or dosha)!

In the tradition of its unique range of wellness treatments, Soneva Kiri and Soneva Fushi’s Six Senses Spas have designed the programmes to appeal to those wanting a truly holistic approach to healing both body and soul, starting with a gentle round of consultations with fitness and wellness consultants as well as the resort’s Ayurvedic Doctors, and culminating in refined contours and rejuvenated spirits. Guests will of course have ample down time to enjoy all SLOW LIFE activities on offer at the resorts. 

Leading the way is the Ayurvedic Wellness Programme where guests can, over a period of between five days and three weeks, have access to the Resident Ayurvedic Doctors and Wellness consultants and in Soneva Kiri’s case, the Ayurvedic kitchen too. Soneva Kiri’s specially trained Indian chef prepares calorie counted menus based on Ayurvedic principals but adapted for modern day, cosmopolitan palates. 

Naturally at both resorts, the menus revolve around produce grown in the onsite organic gardens, which guarantee a zero carbon miles feast!

Dosha-specific Ayurvedic treatments together with yoga and meditation sessions help guests detox and reduce stress, among the countless other benefits associated with this ancient Indian science of life.

The popular Sleep Well & De-Stress Programme includes specific spa treatments plus the opportunity for personalised yoga and meditation sessions, all designed to change lives by instilling a deep sense of calm and tranquillity. 

In addition, Soneva Kiri will offer Weight Loss Programmes which address every challenge, both physical and emotional, presented in the complicated business of losing weight. BMI (body mass index) and % body fat measurements will be taken on arrival and again on departure to showcase the end result! 
There are Puriti detox treatments, Yogic Intestinal cleanses and reams of simple nutritional information and even some soothing words, spoken in Thai naturally, if the temptation to veer off the rails proves too great.

This trio of tailored programmes is available from May 2013 with special low season rates guaranteed until October and available going forwards excluding Christmas, New Year and Easter periods. Prices are based on single occupancy and include domestic flights to the resort (from Bangkok/Male), three meals a day, no alcohol, and all the treatments detailed in the package summary.

Later in the year, the Sonevas look forward to launching brand new Adventure and Romance packages, aimed at adrenalin junkies looking to reconnect with nature and unfulfilled lovers of touch and togetherness. Another first for this side of paradise!

The Soneva Group is committed to its SLOW LIFE philosophy: 

A little bit about Maldives Luxury Resorts Soneva Fushi
There’s a reason why so many people choose to honeymoon in the Maldives, quite simply there is nowhere more beautiful or romantic. At any stage of your relationship life Soneva Fushi is the perfect to choice to relax, recharge and reconnect. Enjoy private sunrise breakfast on the Sandbank or night snorkelling, or try a candlelit barbecue, with wine and chocolate tasting. Or relax in a 60 minute spa treatment. Not to mention private sunset cruise.

Discovery Channel's Naked and Afraid Show in Maldives, Funadhoo Island

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Teal-Blehert Koehn and Klay are put to the test on Funadhoo Island, Maldives on 'Naked and Afraid'

Discovery Channel strips down its schedule with two 'Naked' shows that feature nude men and women putting their survival skills to the test

Hilton Worldwide announces termination of management agreement for Hilton Maldives Iru Fushi

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Hilton Worldwide has announced that its management agreement with Sun Travels & Tours Pvt. Ltd. in relation to Hilton Maldives Iru Fushi has terminated with effect from May 3, 2013. Accordingly, the owner of the hotel, Sun Travels & Tours Pvt. Ltd. is managing the property and this property will no longer be a part of the Hilton Worldwide portfolio or Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand. As such, the property will no longer participate in the Hilton HHonors program.

The cessation of Hilton Worldwide’s management of that resort was unforeseen and due to factors outside its control.

Hilton Worldwide remains committed to the hospitality and tourism industry in Maldives and currently manages Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, an award-winning luxury resort.

A Honeymoon Dream in Maldives Luxury Resort

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Imagine being in your lovers arms, without a worry in the world, looking into the distant horizon as the sun sets. Imagine the azure sky changing into beautiful shades of orange. Picture the smile on your beloved’s face, as the waves playfully wash away at your feet. Think of the cool ocean breeze encircling both of you into a moment of bliss. That is what this tiny tropical paradise offers you. Honeymoon in a Maldives’ resort will undoubtedly give you memories that you would cherish for the rest of your lives.

Honeymoon in Maldives is perfect for multiple reasons. The warm sunny climate, the unparalleled amount of privacy, the award winning service, the overall romantic environment, all of these make the Maldives one of the most sought after honeymoon destinations in the world.
Maldives has the perfect honeymoon climate. The brilliant sunny days, the refreshing and peaceful nights, the lustrous sunsets will make your honeymoon nothing short of a dream. It is sunny all year round in the Maldives and so the temperature rarely drops below 25’C. This tropical climate is the powerful aphrodisiac that draws honeymooners from all over the world to the Maldives’ resorts.

Tropical warmth isn’t all that is offered to you in the Maldives. It is also one of the most secluded hideaways in the world. Unlike in other countries where you would have to mingle with the locals, tolerate the commotion and haste of civilization, Maldives’ resorts give you and your lover the luxury of being completely unplugged from the world. Maldives Resorts will make your honeymoon a clandestine journey that you share with your special one as you explore nature and relax and as the two of you begin a new season of being married.

Being completely unplugged from the world doesn’t mean that you won’t be taken care of. Maldives’ resorts boast of its award winning service. You and your lover would definitely be pampered. Allow yourself to be spoiled after the strenuous wedding celebrations by letting the resort staffs cater to your every need. Enjoy the couple’s massages that would definitely soothe your muscles. Or experience the art of fine dining with your spouse and savor various cuisines from across the globe. Maldives’ resorts also offer many unique opportunities. One of such is the chance to enjoy a completely private dinner on sandbanks that occasionally appear in the crystal lagoons. Just picture yourself on a sandbank with the love of your life, enjoying the best food of the world as the ocean plays its music and stars twinkle in the night sky. It is experiences such as these that make Maldives the most romantic place on earth.

If you are the more outgoing type, Maldives has a lot of activities in store for you too. From various water sports, adventurous diving spots and fun filled fishing trips are all for you and your partner to enjoy together. Whether you want to swim with friendly manta rays or explore underwater gardens, or surf the crystal clear waves, there is always something for you to do in the Maldives. Whatever you are looking for in your honeymoon, you will find it in this tropical paradise.

Romance, privacy, adventure and world-class service made Maldives’ resorts one of the best honeymoon destinations in the world. Maldives has won multiple awards when it comes to honeymoon and romance. Maldives won the World Travel Award for Indian Ocean’s leading honeymoon destination in 2010, 2011, 2012. Maldives was also selected as the world’s most romantic destination in 2011.

When visiting the Maldives, you should be careful to choose your tour operator wisely. Using an automated online booking service is a common mistake that honeymooners make. If you are looking for a wonderful resort for your honeymoon, my advice is that you pick a luxury holiday provider that is located in Maldives. A local luxury holiday provider would normally visit the resorts and inspect the standards and make sure that you receive the best service you deserve. A Maldives luxury tour operator will give you an expert advice and a custom tailored holiday that would cater to your specific needs. If you pick Maldives as your honeymoon destination, and choose a luxury tour operator, your honeymoon would indeed become a dream come true.

Click here to contact Maldives Honeymoon Specialist.

Paradise Island Resort prepares to welcome Oscars of the travel industry to the Maldives

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Paradise Island Resort, Maldives is preparing to host the World Travel Awards Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony on May 12th.

A world “first” for the Maldives as it prepares to host the World Travel Awards Indian Ocean Ceremony. This prestigious event acclaimed globally as a premier networking platform in the travel and hospitality industry will hold an elegant and glamorous island-style event, synonymous with the idyllic Maldives. The Gala ceremony marks a double celebratory year of 40 years of Tourism for the Maldives, and World Travel Awards 20th Anniversary.

Paradise Island Resort & Spa part of the Villa Group, will host an array of personalities and leaders from the region and has the full support of the most important and influential tourism bodies in the Region. Hosting the ceremony will be internationally acclaimed TV and Film personality Shereen Mitwalli who has hosted world class events around the world and brings her experience, warmth and glamour to the evening.

Shereen Mitwalli will host the 2013 World Travel Awards 2013 Indian Ocean Ceremony.

“Lets go Maldives” a leading consortium of experienced travel professionals who passionately promote the marketing of this exquisite region fully support the global event. Mohamed Riyaz, Managing Director “Lets go Maldives says”we are honoured to be part of World Travel Awards; an event that truly celebrates the spirit of travel and tourism worldwide.”

Mohamed Adam, Acting Managing Director, Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation said “We are extremely privileged and proud to be hosting the most prestigious event of the travel industry, the World Travel Awards (Indian Ocean) in the Maldives this year. Being the celebratory year of the 40th year of tourism in the Maldives, it brings us extra pleasure in extending a warm welcome to the delegates of World Travel Awards to the sunny side of life.”

Over 58 Awards will be presented and categories including Indian Ocean’s Leading Beach destination, Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline, Indian Ocean’s Leading Family Resort, Indian Ocean’s Leading Cruise Line, Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel Brand and the others will be hoping for top Awards on May 12th.

Soneva Fushi Resort & Spa plans to offer guests Luxury Yacht stay at Maldives Resort

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Soneva has revealed plans to offer guests the chance to stay in luxury yachts at their Soneva Fushi resort in the Maldives, which will include on board spa treatments and activities.

The Soneva In Aqua concept will accommodate groups of up to four on a 19.25m (63ft) yacht, tended by a captain, sous chef, dive instructor, housekeeper and concierge.

A target launch date of 1 January 2014 has been set.

Spa treatments and wellness activities will be administered by a Six Senses Spa therapist and can be had at sea or on a secluded stretch of island.

A lower level sun deck space can be used for treatments.

The boat will consist of a master suite, including sunken glass bath and shower facilities, and a second cabin with ensuite bathroom.

Features include a sun and dining deck, bar, daybeds, lounge seating, library and hot tub.

Prices per night for boats will start at US$4,375 (3,346 euro, £2,823).

Soneva describes itself as a sustainable luxury resort operator and has properties in the Maldives and Thailand, as well as a majority stake in Six Senses Laamu.

It is committed to decarbonising Soneva Fushi by the end of 2014.

Little bit about Soneva Fushi Resort & Spa
There’s a reason why so many people choose to honeymoon in the Maldives, quite simply there is nowhere more beautiful or romantic. At any stage of your relationship life Soneva Fushi is the perfect to choice to relax, recharge and reconnect. Enjoy private sunrise breakfast on the Sandbank or night snorkelling, or try a candlelit barbecue, with wine and chocolate tasting. Or relax in a 60 minute spa treatment. Not to mention private sunset cruise.

Soneva Fushi Resort offers 65 private villas on Kunfunadhoo Private Island. It is a 25 minutes seaplane trip across 113km from the Airport. At this eco friendly resort, all the villas and rooms are extraordinarily spacious and enjoy direct private access to the beach. Enjoy the outdoor cinema on the beach, an observatory, a wonderful spa and free guided snorkelling lessons with the marine biologists. This unparalleled luxury Maldives resort offers a complete various experience only Soneva can give.