2022 sees a double celebration for local tour company Secret Paradise Maldives. Not only will they be joining the celebrations for the Maldives Golden Jubilee Year of Tourism but they are celebrating 10 years of operation!
Formed in 2012 at the advent of local tourism, Secret Paradise regards people, communication, and education as the three pillars of sustainable tourism, all of which it puts at the heart of its operation. Co-Founder Ruth Franklin states that 'in a destination whose existence depends on the protection of its fragile environment, we believe it is our responsibility as a tour company to make travel more ethical, inclusive, and eco-friendly. Traveling with Secret Paradise means as a responsible traveler you support steps to limit the impact of travel on the destination.'
Traveling with award-winning Secret Paradise isn’t just about exploring the Maldives and enjoying the beautiful beaches and tropical waters. It’s about discovering authentic experiences and off-the-beaten-path locations that you didn’t even know were there to discover. Secret Paradise local guides enable travelers to connect safely with both Maldivian culture, local communities, and the environment, going beyond the realms of a traditional Maldives holiday.
“What makes Secret Paradise different and should appeal to the responsible traveler is that we offer educational and hands-on learning opportunities while the traveler is out exploring the ocean and local tropical islands,” Ruth added. Qualified guides teach travelers about corals, marine life, mangroves, and ocean plastics pollution through presentations and story-telling. The team also works with local NGOs to focus on environmental and social issues and support coral planting and reef rehabilitation programs, seagrass protection, and local island clean-up events among others. Travelers can also gain insight into local Maldivian life, culture, history, traditions, food, and language from the perspective of local experts.
The concept was born out of Ruth's desire to allow travelers to engage with locals and experience local life in the way she had been fortunate to do so in the preceding 10 years, during 30 visits to the Maldives as a tourist herself. At the time the company was launched, sustainable and responsible travel were not the buzzwords that they are today in the tourism industry, even more so now in the world of travel post the pandemic.
Ruth sums up that she believes Secret Paradise is more than just a business, '... We are a community of guides, guesthouses, activity providers, NGOs, and marine-life charity organizations, passionate about making a difference. We are fortunate to have the support of both local and international partners who share our values. Without them and without our guiding team Secret Paradise would have remained just an idea discussed over coffee!'