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Highly commended for protecting biodiversity: Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa, Maldives
Our 'hotel of the month' competition provides a way for accommodation providers who have achieved excellence in sustainability to be recognised for their work. Our theme in May is biodiversity and the 2021 winner was Nissi Beach Resort due to their excellent work to protect and rejuvenate sand dunes in Cyprus. However, we were also extremely impressed with the work Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa has done to educate guests about how to enjoy the beautiful beaches of the Maldives whilst protecting marine life.
Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa, located in South Ari Atoll, achieved their first Travelife certification in 2012. They are part of Crown & Champa Resorts, a group of Maldivian properties that understand the importance of the economic value of tourism to the country, alongside how critical it is to preserve and protect the pristine waters and stunning reefs the Maldives is known for.
Vilamendhoo Island undertake a number of sustainability initiatives in this area but we are most impressed with how well they engage their guests in helping them with marine conservation and generally educating visitors about how to travel responsibly. For example, they provide educational videos in their reception area and on guest room TVs about what guests should and should not do during their stay, such as avoiding sunscreens that harm marine life, how to safely dispose of litter and the importance of leaving natural areas undisturbed.
They have invested in reducing marine plastic waste by installing their own on-site water bottling plant that allows them to reuse glass bottles and produce their own potable water. This also reduces the carbon emissions that would normally be produced by shipping drinking water to the island, and by removing used plastic water bottles from the resort's waste stream that would normally need to be transported to another location for recycling. They organise monthly island and beach cleans to help maintain the health of the ocean and the reef.