SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 15, August 2016 - Page 127

oneva’s vision is inspired by nature’s magnitude, mystery and enchanting

beauty. We work hand in hand with the environment to craft beautiful, beyond bespoke experiences where discovery is a way of life. We are a strong believer that tourism can have a positive impact on the environment and social development. Many national parks have been created as a result of the tourism industry. We are proud that Soneva Fushi is part of the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

In 1995, award-winning luxury resort Soneva Fushi set the standard for all desert island barefoot luxury hideaways in the Maldives. We have always protected our own 50 ha island and 119 ha of house reef and are fortunate to be located in a region with fantastic marine biodiversity.

We have been actively campaigning against shark fishing in Maldives. By petitioning, educating and pressuring the government this goal was finally realised in March 2010 and the Maldives became only the second country in the world to implement an outright ban shark fishing.

Soneva Fushi led the way to form the BAARU organization – a collaborative platform between the Baa Atoll resorts – which meets on a regular to discuss sustainability issues in the Atoll. Inspired by the success of getting shark fishing banned, we worked with five other resorts to secure recognition for Baa Atoll as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Although the status was achieved in 2011, there are ongoing management challenges of the area. We work closely with the local authorities to support their work. Our marine biologist serves on the Baa Atoll Advisory Board and we have been engaging the minister of environment to increase support of the area.