The Maldives, in a stride towards sustainable tourism, has unveiled an ambitious Eco-tourism Framework and Roadmap. The initiative, a collaborative effort with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the USAID Climate Adaptation Project, is designed to identify unique sites, establish eco-standards, and diversify tourism options.

Minister of Tourism Ibrahim Faisal underscored the importance of diversification in the tourism sector at the launch event. “This project will enhance the appeal of the Maldives as a holiday destination,” stated Faisal. He further highlighted the project’s alignment with the growing global trend of eco-conscious travel.

The eco-tourism initiative is a testament to the administration’s commitment to sustainable practices and reflects the long-term vision of President Mohamed Muizzu, he added. The primary objective of the project is to catalogue locations of ecological and environmental significance, thereby earmarking them for eco-tourism.

A vital aspect of the project is developing a policy aimed at protecting and preserving ecologically vulnerable areas. This includes implementing a comprehensive management plan for environmental conservation within tourism establishments.

Speaking at the event, Minister of Climate Change, Environment and Energy Thoriq Ibrahim announced plans to declare three additional areas in the Maldives as biosphere reserves. “Within the Maldives, 90 sites have been officially designated as protected areas. Nevertheless, active protection and management measures are currently implemented in merely three of these locations,” he noted. These three areas are the Baa Atoll, Addu Atoll, and Fuvahmulah Biosphere Reserves, each boasting unique ecological characteristics and biodiversity.

The eco-tourism project envisions a future where tourists can explore and appreciate the ecological attractions of the Maldives, guided by a specific policy framework. The government also pledges to promote sports, medical, cultural, and educational travel, which signals a robust economic diversification and growth approach.