Honeymooning in Maldives

Nothing can be closer to the idyllic honeymoons depicted in fairy tales than a Maldives honeymoon. Universally acclaimed for her pearly white beaches, spectacular seas, breathtaking under-waters and balmy weather, the Maldives is where you want to be on honeymoon. Secluded enough to give you that feeling of being alone in the world, yet equipped with all amenities to enjoy each other’s company in luxurious comfort while being spoiled with impeccable service, a Maldives honeymoon is guaranteed to be the best start to any marriage.

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Mauritius Awards Highest Order to President of the Maldives

President of Mauritius Sir Anerood Jugnauth has awarded the highest distinct order of merit in Mauritius, Grand Commander of the Order of the Star and the Key of the Indian Ocean (GCSK), to the President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed.

President Nasheed was conferred GCSK at the luncheon hosted by President Anerood in his honor today.

Among the few foreign dignitaries who has been conferred the award are Former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, and Former President of Guyana Cheddi Jagan.

As part of his visit to Mauritius, President Nasheed today visited Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, and laid a wreath at the Memorial of Former Prime Minister of Mauritius, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, who is also considered by Mauritians as the Father of the Nation.

Maldives – A Honeymoon and Dive Desitination

Chances are as you read this you are sitting in a straight backed chair, now just close your eyes and imagine you are laying back on a lounge chair holding a cool, sweating glass of lemonade with a cool breeze ruffling through your hair and looking out upon the see-through, shimmering waters and powder white beaches. Interested?

I have just described a vacation at one of the Maldives resorts. Maldives is a great place to take a holiday, located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is the Indian Ocean version of the Hawaiian Islands, except that it is much nearer to many more people. With its sparkling blue waters, its beautiful tropical climate, gorgeous beaches and interesting array of sea-life this is a perfect place for any trip regardless of the reason.

Just married? Searching for places to go on your honeymoon, I now declare your search officially over. With its many resorts, a honeymoon in Maldives is a great treat for a couple just starting their lives together. Been married for a while? The Maldives still has you covered, stir up a little romance by taking a second honeymoon.

If Nature is the thing that drives you, then you will be happy if you travel to the Maldives because of the fact that there are over 700 common fish species and many more still to be classified. You may encounter Frogfish, leaf fish, ghost pipe-fish, a multitude of nudibranchs and watch Grey Reef sharks hunting by night. If diving and snorkeling is up your alley then the Maldives should be right up there also because of its swift moving waters on the corners of the channels offer exciting drift dives, and since it’s many atolls give you relatively shallow depths of about 35 to 85 meters it is an excellent spot for beginners to dive alongside the advanced diver. Also its many complex reefs make for unsurpassable snorkeling.

By now you should be ready to leave that straight backed chair behind and enjoy yourself in the Maldives.

Honeymoon Offer at Velassaru Maldives Resort

Velassaru Maldives is located on a private coral island soaked in year-round Maldivian sunshine. Where legendary white dissolves into translucent turquoise, and lush tropical greenery conceals pristine natural beauty within. An island paradise and memories that last forever. Celebrate the romance.

Velassaru Maldives is a 45-minute scenic speedboat ride from Malé International Airport. Welcome drinks would be served as you step ashore. You’re greeted by name. Slip into something light, comfortable, island.

The Island Honeymoon Offer

from US$ 380 per night

Package Inclusions

  • Two way airport transfers
  • A basket of tropical fruits and wine
  • Daily breakfast buffet
  • Welcome breakfast in bed
  • Turn down service with enchanting bath set up
  • Candlelit dinner on the beach
  • Champagne sunset cruise on a small traditional dhoni

Minimum stay – 4 nights

Villa type – All

Valid till October 31, 2009

For further information and reservations, please contact
Tel: (+960) 6643042
Email: sales@velassaru.com

Maldives Showcased at the 13th Annual Unique Choice Road Show

Maldives Tourism Promotion Board participated for the first time at the 13th annual Unique Choice Road Show held in 6 cities of GCC countries namely Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Dammam/Al-Khober, Riyadh, Jeddah from 30th May till 3rd June 2009.

Unique Choice group is identified as one of the top wholesale tour operator in the Middle East region. These workshops are marked as one of the important events each year due to its success targeting tour operators/ travel agents in the GCC region. The main objectives of Maldives participation in the road show was to increase market share from the Middle East countries by providing the travel trade with the most updated tourism information on the Maldives and secure commitments for the future promotions of the Maldives among their clients. Furthermore, to ensure that as many travel agents and tour operators as possible have the tools they need to be able to effectively promote Maldives island resorts.

The workshops started in Abu Dhabi on the 30th May, with a networking session followed by a lunch at the Crowne Plaza in Abu Dhabi. More than 50 travel agents and tour operators were invited to the work shop, while majority of the visitor showed a keen interest in visiting the Maldives booth to collect information. Emphasis was placed on the warm welcome that GCC nationals and resident expatriates will receive when visiting the islands and the easy accessibility to the country in terms of flight connections and visa procedures.

The Maldives is currently the ultimate getaway for those who are attracted by private islands, stunning beaches and crystal clear waters. The Maldives provides the perfect backdrop for a relaxing, rejuvenating holiday, which is a welcome contrast to the frantic pace of life in the Arabian Gulf.

The workshop session was concluded by a raffle draw held among the visitors by giving away several free vacation prizes from the participating hotels/resorts. Among other participants include destination such as Malaysia, Singapore, Oman and a collection of resorts/hotels from these destinations.

Similar format was adopted for the event in Dubai on the same day, where more than 75 travel agents and tour operators were invited to the JW Marriot Hotel in Dubai which was concluded by a dinner.

Last year Maldives welcomed a total of 683,012 visitors while a total of 9,141 tourists represented the Middle East region. By end of May 2009 Maldives received 3,082 tourists from the region showing a growth of 2.5 per cent compared to the same period of 2008.

SriLankan Airlines Pro in the Maldives

Pat Gudauskas pulls first ever successful “Rodeo Clown” Aerial at SriLankan Airlines Pro in the Maldives

History created on day five at the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) PRIME 6-star rated SriLankan Airlines Pro in the Maldives with USA surfer Pat Gudauskas successfully executing one of surfing’s most difficult manoeuvres, the aerial “rodeo clown”, the first time ever at a high level ASP event.

Under extreme pressure Gudauskas was in third place and looking at elimination with 30 seconds remaining in his heat when he found a reasonable wave and chasing a 7.23 score completed some good turns but still required something special toward the final stages of the ride.

The powerful 23 year old Californian surfer then went for broke and launched into the air, rotating the 540 degree inverted flip and riding out of the manoeuvre.

Smooth and precise in execution, the ride was awarded a perfect 10 points and Gudauskas moved from 3rd to 1st to advance to the final 16 surfers remaining in the event.

“I knew I needed a very solid score on that wave and as that final section approached I could see it lining up ideally so I focused on going for the rodeo, it was there to be done and I had to do it” said Gudauskas.

“Riding out of it I was nervous as there were bumps to deal with and while the aerial rodeo was complete I had to ride free of the white water, it was a relief when I had realised the move was complete” added Gudauskas.

“It’s a move I regularly practice and I’m really excited to be the first to achieve it at ASP level.”

In excellent 4feet (1.5m) waves most of the final 24 surfers combined power surfing with aerials in a day of memorable performances.

Exciting 19 year old emerging surfers Owen Wright (AUS) and Jadson Andre (Brazil) were again dominant in their winning performances.

Andre continues to successfully perform multiple aerial moves on every wave while Wright focuses on power on face moves but is always ready to include aerials when the opportunity looks right.

“These waves are really ideal to drive powerful turns from start to finish and I’m trying to blend power turns and aerials to maximise my scores” said Wright.

“It’s exciting to see all the surfers really pushing the levels up and you enter every heat knowing that excellent scores are essential to progress.”

Veteran ASP World Tour surfers Cory Lopez (USA) and Travis Logie (South Africa) continued their charge and both surfers progressed to the final 16.

Other impressive heat winners today included Jonathon Gonzales (Canary Islands), Drew Courtney (AUS) and Daniel Ross (AUS).

With good clean waves forecast throughout the weekend organizers stopped the event today after round four was completed, leaving 16 surfers remaining in the event.

An early start is expected tomorrow and finals at this stage likely to run on Sunday.

Follow this event live at http://www.srilankanairlinespro.com/

Round five draw when event resumes tomorrow:

Heat 1: Pat Gudauskas (USA), Cory Lopez (USA),
Heat 2: Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
Heat 3: Shaun Gossman (AUS), Romaine Cloitre (FRA),
Heat 4: Travis Logie (ZAF), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 5: Owen Wright (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 6: Heitor Alves (BRA) ,Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 7: Leigh Sedley (AUS), Jonathon Gonzales (CNY)
Heat 8: Austin Ware (USA) Drew Courtney (AUS)

SriLankan Airlines Pro 2009 is made possible thanks to the following sponsors: SriLankan Airlines, John Keells Group, Chaaya Island – Dhonveli, Atoll Travel, Atoll Adventures, Ocean & Earth International, Dhiraagu, Maldives Tourism & Promotions Board, ASP Australasia.

ASP Australasia as the event managers will deliver a quality live Webcast along with Television News Feeds, complimentary Digital Images for newspapers and websites, Web highlight packages and a dedicated 30 minute international television program.

Windy Maldives sees big Flying Performances

Windy conditions in the Maldives for day three of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) six star PRIME rated SriLankan Airlines Pro and while the winds effected wave quality, the surfing remained superb as competitors utilized aerial manoeuvres in the 3 feet (1m) surf.

Jadson Andre (Brazil) is having a great season on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS), came into this event in 5th position on the season ratings and a strong result here is certain to enhance his goal of qualifying for the ASP elite World Tour for 2010.

He began his SriLankan Airlines Pro campaign in fine style taking an impressive round two heat win in the opening heat of the day by scoring the events highest scoring ride to date using his tremendous aerial skills to notch an outstanding 9 point score and his 16.60 heat tally was the highest for the day.

Andre at just 19 years of age is one of the youngest competitors on the WQS and narrowly missed qualification last season but believes he’s better prepared this year.

“Since last year when I just missed qualification I have prepared myself better and I believe I know what I must do to qualify for 2010.”

“My aerial surfing is a strength that I work on as aerials are probably the best way to really score big and I’m always looking for opportunities to fly” added Andre.

“Pasta Point is just the perfect wave for aerials and I think I will be flying in every heat I surf here, that’s definitely my plan!”

The large Brazilian contingent here mostly enjoyed a great day with former event champion Heitor Alves also very strong winning his heat with Kai Barger (Hawaii) also progressing while Miguel Pupo and Leonardo Neves both easily won their round two heats.

Strengthening winds through the middle part of the day forced the event to go hold as organizers waited for these unseasonal winds to abate.

When the action resumed late in the day 19 year old Australian young gun Owen Wright proceeded to put on his own aerial display to take an exciting win over Dane Gudauskas (USA) who advanced in 2nd place to join both his brothers Pat and Tanner into tomorrow’s round three.

Other heat winners to impress during the morning included Travis Logie (South Africa), Glenn Hall (Ireland), Bernado Mirandia (BRA), Jarred Howse (AUS), Autin Ware (USA) and Shaun Gossman (AUS) while surprise eliminations came from ASP World Tour pair Marlon Lipke (Germany) and Nic Muscroft (Australia).

Five round two heats will be completed first thing tomorrow morning before the event moves into round three with lighter winds expected tomorrow.

SriLankan Airlines Pro 2009 is made possible thanks to the following sponsors: SriLankan Airlines, John Keells Group, Chaaya Island – Dhonveli, Atoll Travel, Atoll Adventures, Ocean & Earth International, Dhiraagu, Maldives Tourism & Promotions Board, ASP Australasia.

ASP Australasia as the event managers will deliver a quality live Webcast along with Television News Feeds, complimentary Digital Images for newspapers and websites, Web highlight packages and a dedicated 30 minute international television program.

Follow this event live at www.srilankanairlinespro.com

Round two to be run when the event resumes tomorrow:

Heat 20: D Ross (AUS), A Riou (PYF), C Waring (USA), S Zeitz (USA)
Heat 21: B Simpson (USA), H Collazo (EUK), S Garcia (HAW), A Gray (USA)
Heat 22: M Polo (BRA), L Sedley (AUS), P MacDonald (AUS), D Graves (PRI)
Heat 23: J Da Silva (BRA), J Gonzales (CNY), N Webster (AUS), E Valiere (HAW)
Heat 24: D Courtney (AUS), D Fahrenfort (ZAF), S Ward (USA), M Giorgi (URY)

Maldives Government moves to Protect its Whale Sharks

In another step towards becoming environment-friendly, the cabinet unveiled plans yesterday to designate three whale shark habitats in the Maldives as protected areas.

Cabinet members allocated Baa atoll Hanifaru, Baa atoll An’gafaru and Alif Dhaal atoll Maamigili as protected areas to commemorate World Environment Day and World Ocean Day on the 5 and 8 June respectively.

“We welcome the whale shark sanctuaries,” said Ali Rilwan, executive director of environment NGO Bluepeace today. “We don’t need paper parks, we need monitoring and more research in these areas.”

In March, the ministry of fisheries and agricultures extended the moratorium on reef shark fishing to cover the whole of the Maldives as part of a move towards a total ban on both reef and oceanic shark hunting.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Ibrahim Naeem, director of the environment ministry, said the main objective of the project was to protect the areas’ megafauna, namely whale sharks.

He explained the areas will be divided into various zones, in which different activities will be permitted. While diving and snorkelling would still be allowed, a set of guidelines would be provided to instruct on how to deal with encounters with whale sharks.

Further, boats will be subject to speed limits in certain areas, he said.

Naeem said the reaction of local residents was “very positive”. “They actively wanted this to happen and this won’t impact any of their activities so they have nothing to lose from this,” he said. “That’s the findings of the consultation.”

He added the decision would have a “global significance” and the areas were among the few in the world where whale sharks could be spotted.

The polka-dotted whale shark is the largest fish on the planet, but very little is known about their existence, according to the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme’s website.

While it is known they swim potentially vast distances across the ocean, eating only plankton, tiny fish and squid, how long they live or where they reproduce remains a mystery.

Guy Stevens, a marine biologist at Four Seasons Resort, said it was crucial to establish a set of guidelines to counter the impact that the growth of tourism would have on whale sharks in future years.

At present, it is estimated that whale shark excursions generate US$10 million annually.

According to Stevens, researchers have spotted 115 whale sharks in the Maldives, although the real number was probably higher.

“Some of these areas are important feeding grounds,” said Stevens. “And out of all of them, there are only two females, so the animals are only spending part of their lives here.”

He added the designated areas would also protect other animal species such as manta rays in Hanifaru and reef sharks in An’gafaru.

As part of its efforts to mark World Environment Day and World Ocean Day over the coming week, the government will also be introducing seven awards in recognition of efforts to go carbon neutral and launch two campaigns: “Walk to School” and “Back to Bicycle”.

NGO Bluepeace will be also hold an event to celebrate World Environment Day this Friday: a beach clean-up at Hulhumale’.

British Airways to start direct flights to Maldives

British Airways is to launch new thrice-weekly direct services from Gatwick to Male’ in the Maldives from October 25, 2009. It will also begin operations to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. This will be the first time British Airways has flown to the Maldives, but will be a return for the airline’s colours to the Red Sea resort.

These routes will be operated by Boeing 777 aircraft with a three-class configuration: World Traveller, World Traveller Plus and Club World.

Richard Tams, British Airways’ head of UK & Ireland sales, said: “These new routes will be great assets to the BA network and a real winner with customers. They are both perfect holiday destinations, known for their great beaches and fantastic diving. We’re particularly pleased to be serving a completely new destination, the Maldives and returning to Sharm El Sheikh. We expect both routes to perform well.”

A wide range of good value hotels from independent properties to luxury five-star resorts in both the Maldives and Sharm el Sheikh will be available to book on ba.com giving further choice and flexibility to all holidaymakers.

Judy Jarvis, British Airways’ regional commercial manager, South Asia, said: “It gives me great pleasure to announce the start of non-stop flights from Male to the UK. The Maldives offers sunny beaches and unspoilt lagoons, a perfect combination for the ideal tropical holiday destination. I am confident that it will be very popular with our customers.”

Lead-in fares from Gatwick to Male will start from £629 return including taxes, fees and charges. Flights to the Maldives will depart from Gatwick on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday at 7:10pm returning from Male’ on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 1:20pm local time.

Tickets will be on sale from Friday May 29, 2009 through ba.com and direct through BA reservations on 0844 493 0787.

Maldives ranked as the Best Beach and Rest & Relaxation destination

The Maldives has been ranked as the Best Country Brand for Beach and Best Country Brand for Rest and Relaxation for the year 2008. Maldives also ranked 2nd in the Best Country Brand for Natural Beauty and 3rd in the Best Country Brand for Resort and Lodging Options. The Country Brand Index was officially released during London’s World Travel Market in November 2008.

Country Brand Index is a comprehensive study of approximately 2,700 international business and leisure travellers from nine countries. It is conducted by FutureBrand, a global brand consultancy company and Weber Shandwick which is a public relations firm.

The main marketing slogan for the destination Maldives is “Maldives…the Sunny Side of Life”. The wellness and relaxation aspect is promoted under the theme of “Maldives…the Spiritual Side of Life”. Maldives was ranked number one in these two areas. Maldives emerged as the number one in both Beach and Rest and Relaxation categories after successfully competing with countries like Tahiti, Bahamas and Australia.

Maldives also won the ‘World’s Most Romantic Destination‘ award at the WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS last year.

Source: visitmaldives.com