Throughout 2017, Hotelier Maldives has been bringing to the spotlight, some of the top properties in Maldives, whose commitment to promoting sustainable tourism practices are nothing short of exemplary. In this last issue for the year, we shine the light on Park Hyatt Hadahaa, a multi-award winning property that has been steadfast in its dedication to sustainable eco-tourism practices even from the initial design of the resort.
As evident by the 2017 Green Globe Gold certification, the 2005 Green Globe certification for Building, Planning and Design Standard, and the 2008 EarthCheck Building, Planning and Design Standard Certification, the early devotion to running an eco-friendly, sustainable resort has helped Park Hyatt Hadahaa maintain an economically beneficial and self-sustaining property in one of the most remote tourist destinations in the Maldives.
For many resorts, which display the “eco-tourism” badge, it is only the presence of a marine biologist on sight, but at Hadahaa, the sustainable practices run on all levels of operation and guest experience. Park Hyatt is Gold Certified by Green Globe
From the drawing board to the building and an initial extensive Environmental Impact Assessment helped the resort preserve its natural ecosystems, thereby sustaining the rich marine life. Today, the house reef of Hadahaa continues to be home to resident turtles, black tip sharks, barracudas, and spotted eagle rays in a thriving marine environment, taking their guests experience to unbeatable heights right at home.
The resort’s planning and design prioritised cultural integrity and environmental protection. The first structures built were the two jetties to get building materials on the island without having to dig channels into the reef for the ships to land directly on the beach and ensure that the coral reefs surrounding the island were protected.
The resort takes pride in keeping the island as natural as possible. Vegetation on the island has been kept as is, with only necessary paths cleared to construct villas and the main public area.
Fallen leaves are kept on the sides of pathways, allowing it to decompose and create natural mulch for the trees. This practice, leads to the conservation of soil moisture, improving fertility and health of the soil. Fauna on the island is abundant with a large family of Flying Foxes, Blood Sucker Lizards, Ghost Crabs, Hermit Crabs, Brown Noddies and Grey Herons to name a few.
The design of the hotel preserves and reinforces the existing native foliage of the island, promotes rainwater harvesting and minimises the disruption of the corals.
While having a resort with a rich ecosystem aides in providing guests with an unforgettable holiday experience, the true magic of running a sustainable resort happens at the back of the house. With thorough audits by EarthCheck and now, Green Globe, the resort’s operations run with a keen eye on conserving energy, water and fuel, along with strict policies on reef and waste management.
Some of these practices include the reuse of heat produced from generators for hot water instead of investing in expensive boilers, reducing fuel and energy consumption significantly; using glass bottles instead of plastic bottles, cutting down an average of 120,000 plastic bottles as waste each year; the substitution of the outdoor air-conditioning units with ocean water significantly reducing energy consumption; and the substitution of coffee capsules used on the island to biodegradable coffee capsules, made from 100% plant fibre and selected from bio-sourced vendors who meet Fair Trade standards.
Majority of guest activities on the island are led by Blue Journeys, the resort’s Dive and Activity Centre. Blue Journeys is not only a PADI five-star dive centre but have also been awarded the PADI Green Star™ for its outstanding performance in initiating green business practices and supporting responsible conservation.
By earning this award, Blue Journeys has established itself as a business that is both commercially and environmentally viable.
Sustainable tourism is not just about running a green resort, but it is also about giving back and involving the local communities. Special consideration is given by Park Hyatt in employing and empowering local residents and wherever possible, sourcing local and fair trade products and services.
With this in mind, the resort has formed a committee of elected ‘Hyatt Thrive Ambassadors’ to represent the different communities. Through better connectivity, shared knowledge, development of business skills, and encouragement and participation from both sides, it leads to mutually beneficial programmes that inspire sustainable development projects, aids the resort to in gathering supplies and recruits from nearby islands, and ensures the local communities develop and prosper.
Hadahaa’s Hyatt Thrive has so far contributed over 304 hours of community service in 2017, almost doubling the team’s efforts from last year by 178 hours.
Other activities lined up include but are not limited to; a diving course for local fishermen to ensure that they are equipped with the proper knowledge and skills to dive safely, blood donation drive, and swimming & snorkelling sessions with school children to share with them the beauty and importance of the coral reefs.
As plastic waste is a major problem faced by many islands and the costs of transporting plastic to recycling collection points are costly, the resort, in collaboration with an international non-profit organisation, arranges its Dhoni to collect plastics from participating islands in North Huvadhoo Atoll – Dhandoo, Kondey, Nilandhoo and Gemanafushi, on a bi-weekly basis. The collected plastics are shipped via the resort’s supply dhoni to Malé and onward to the city’s plastic collection point.
The resort also organises a Global Month of Service as an annual programme to reach out and engage with the local community. Activities that are organised are designed in support of one the Hyatt Thrive pillars: Environmental Sustainability, Economic Development & Investment, Education & Personal Advancement and Health & Wellness.
From its inception, environmental and socially sustainable initiatives have been an integral part of the resort’s operational culture. Being in a pristine environment, the team at the resort constantly strives in cultivating the value of eco-consciousness and improving its day-to-day sustainability practices.
Creativity and resourcefulness are encouraged at the resort to help inspire imagination in efforts to promote a greener innovative mind, setting the ultimate standard of the eco-tourism in Maldives.