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Atmosphere Resort Opens in the Maldives


Stretched across the picturesque Lhaviyani Atoll, the Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives resort presents 150 villas all with direct access to a pristine lagoon and the utmost privacy. The villas, which start at generous 100 square meters, are spaced at least four meters apart and are positioned so that each one has a stunning sunset view across the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. Created with natural materials including timber, marble, and granite, the villas’ look is inspired by traditional island and modern architecture.

To ensure guests are in want of nothing, Atmosphere is kitted out with fun activities including a PADI-certified dive center, two swimming pools, one located on the sunrise side of the island and the other on the sunset side, and the Akiri Spa by Mandara. The large garden spa has 12 treatment rooms and specializes in natural, holistic rituals, including Ayurvedic therapies. And if guests aren’t sure where to start, the resort has an entertainment and recreation manager, who can make suggestions or plans.

When it comes to food and beverages, Atmosphere treats guests to a wide array including the Maldives’ first vegetarian restaurant, The Veg, which serves Mediterranean, Arabic, and even Jain-friendly menus. There is also a teppanyaki grill and The Spice, which services international cuisine in a buffet style, complete with live cooking station. For drinks, there are two bars located in the pool areas.

For more information, visit the Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives (Lhaviyani Atoll Maldives; 960/662-0066; doubles from US$767, inclusive).

Qatar Airways voted ‘Best Long-haul Airline’ and ‘Business Airline of the Year’


Qatar Airways has been named as ‘Best Long-haul Airline’ for the second year running and ‘Business Airline of the Year’ at the high profile UK Business Travel Awards 2014 which were held in London at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

The sold out event with 1,300 industry representatives attended the 19th annual Business Travel Awards, organized by UK publication Buying Business Travel, which celebrate the achievements of the industry’s leading players. The gala evening is widely regarded as one of the highlights of the business travel calendar.   

The Judges commented; “we thought this was an outstanding entry, backed up by glowing testimonials from leading buyers and managers in the corporate sector. A dedicated business terminal at its home airport, cars that ferry first class passengers from aircraft to terminal and an impressive corporate client retention rate all made this the clear winner.”

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World tourism to grow 4-4.5 percent in 2014


Despite global economic challenges, international tourism exceeded expectations with a record 1,087 million footfalls in 2013 and would grow 4-4.5 percent this year, says the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

And it asked governments to set up national strategies supporting the sector that fuels growth and employment around the globe.

Despite global economic challenges, tourist arrivals grew by 5 percent or by 52 million last year, according to the latest UNWTO WorldTourism Barometer.

Demand for international tourism was strongest for destinations in Asia and the Pacific (+6 percent), Africa (+6 percent) and Europe (+5 percent), the report said.

The leading sub-regions were South-East Asia (+10 percent), Central and Eastern Europe (+7 percent), Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+6 percent) and NorthAfrica (+6 percent).

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TUI Travel India has commenced its retail expansion plan in Mumbai, with its first retail store in Bandra. The Mumbai store is TUI India’s sixth retail store in the country, with five stores present in Delhi/NCR region. TUI India plans to expand through retail and franchisee presence across key cities of India.

With this launch TUI India is now looking to accelerate its B2C presence in the country and looking to expand further through retail and franchisee presence across key cities of India in the coming years. Targeted cities will be Ahmedabad, Chennai and Hyderabad.

Visha Sinha, COO, TUI India said, “This one-of-a-kind store captures our commitment to serve our customers in Mumbai who we see as an evolved market by being a one-stop holiday shop.”


Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa wins Leading Dive Resort at Matato Maldives Travel Awards


Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa has been named the leading dive resort in the Maldives at the prestigious Matato Maldives Travel Awards. The combination of the Hadahaa 360 degree pristine house reef, world class dive sites and a highly knowledgeable dive team is the recipe for this recognition. The ceremony took place in the capital Malé on 21st December 2013.
The Maldives is known as one of the world’s leading dive destinations and the hotel is delighted to be awarded the best dive resort in the country. This award is a huge achievement and a truly great honour for the dive and activity team, Blue Journeys at Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa.  

The 5 Star PADI Blue Journeys team offer the very best dive and activity experiences catering for many nationalities including Chinese and Russian. The team is the foundation of what is an unparalleled diving experience for any level of diver from Bubble Maker to Dive Master. The Blue Journeys team also includes Ciara McCarten, the resident Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa Marine Biologist responsible for coordinating all EarthCheck practices, conservation initiatives, monitoring of the house reef and guest workshops on topics ranging from identifying marine life to estimating fish stock and preservation and nurturing of the environment to both guests and staff alike.
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa is situated on a private island, 55km north of the Equator in one of the largest and deepest atolls in the world, North Huvadhoo. The island is home to a pristine 360 degree house reef rivalling any spot in the Maldives. With no need for boats and being able to simply jump off the jetty, the house reef is a jewel in the Blue Journey crown. Why?
• Nationwide research has found the house reef to have the greatest coral cover in the Maldives, exceeding 100% cover
• Hot spot for biodiversity and home to an exceptional number of species
• Endangered species frequently sighted. Between 10-20% of the marine species are classified as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable by the IUCN

The natural composition of this Maldives atoll means there are numerous pristine dive sites and scuba diving regions filled with exciting features like caves, steep drop offs and beautiful underwater landscapes, not to mention the breathtaking coral formations and abundance of Maldives fish life.

Velaa Private Island Resort Boasts its Own Superyacht


Guests staying at a new ultra luxury resort in the Maldives can enjoy access to the resort’s very own superyacht.

Located on a previously uninhabited private island in the northern Noonu Atoll region of the Maldives, Velaa Private Island resort boasts over 40 private accommodations, comprising beach bungalows and romantic water villas, each with their own dedicated butler and swimming pool.

For yachting lovers, the resort’s own superyacht means guests can arrange a spontaneous day cruise or an intimate dinner on board, prepared by the yacht’s on-board chef.

The brainchild of Czech entrepreneur, Jiří Šmejc, the resort also features an array of other lavish facilities including a high end spa, a golf academy, a dedicated diving centre, and a restaurant specialising in the Teppanyaki style of Japanese cuisine.

The cost to stay at Velaa Private Island starts at around $1500 per night, rising to $30,000 for the most luxurious rooms.


Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives wins Leading Family Resort award for second year running


Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives has been named for the second year in succession as Leading Family Resort in the Maldives Travel Awards 2013.

“The awards were started in 2012, when we entered in this category and won,” says Voytek Klasicki, general manager of Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives. “Winning for the second time is a tremendous triumph for us, as the competition was intense. Our team here on the island is thrilled. Our success reflects on each and every one of them.”

Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives is located in the South Ari Atoll, about 25 minutes by seaplane from Male International Airport, or 15 minutes by speedboat from the domestic Maamigili Airport.

The resort in 2013 launched a promotion with domestic carrier Flyme in which one child travelling with a family has a free flight from Male International Airport to Maamagili Airport. One child also stays at the resort completely free of charge, leaving parents with only the cost of the international flight.

Centara Hotels & Resorts is Thailand’s leading operator of hotels, with 47 deluxe and first-class properties covering all the major tourist destinations in the Kingdom. A further 18 resorts in the Maldives, Vietnam, Shanghai, Bali Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Mauritius Indian Ocean, Ethiopia brings the present total to 65 properties. Brands and properties within Centara ensure that specific categories such as couples, families, individuals, and meetings and incentives groups will all find a hotel or resort that is appropriate to their needs.

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Another postcard from paradise! Ronan Keating and girlfriend tweet more snaps from romantic Maldives break


Ronan Keating and his Australian girlfriend are having a blissful time in the Maldives – and they want the world to know it.

The X Factor Australia judge, 36, posted yet another photo of himself and his girlfriend Storm Uechtritz, 32, as they finished their latest PADI diving course on the island.

The couple look giddy with excitement and exhaustion in the snap, where both are sporting wide smiles.

Another photo from his social media profile shows their mouth-watering lunch.

Two whole red snappers are laid side by side on a large plate, and are seasoned with generous slices of lime and lemon.

The fish were caught on the couple’s fishing expedition the night before with the Irish native accompanying the picture by saying: ‘I kid you not these are the fish @StormUechtritz caught yesterday And now it’s time for lunch’.

A photo of the happy couple holding up a freshly caught fish was uploaded to Ronan’s Instagram on Wednesday.

The couple holidayed in the Maldives, where they are staying at the five-star Viceroy resort and spa.

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Blake Lively is make-up free, beautiful in Maldives with Ryan Reynolds


Blake Lively always looks amazing, whether she’s walking the red carpet, smoldering in advertising campaigns or simply make-up free and chilling out on holiday.

The Gossip Girl actress looked the picture of radiance as she enjoyed a New Year’s sunshine break to the Maldives with Hollywood star husband Ryan Reynolds.

Blake is following in the footsteps of stars including Eva Longoria, Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez by representing the iconic cosmetics brand, and has described her appointment as an “honour”.

“I grew up with the inspiration of their message: “We’re worth it”. What an important value to instill in women. That beauty is rooted in confidence. That is key. That is why I’m so proud to be a L’Oréal Paris woman,” she said.

Meanwhile, the star’s gorgeous husband Ryan posed for a separate picture with staff at the Maldives resort, which is no surprise really considering how private the duo are.

The couple – who met on the set of The Green Lantern - married in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina in 2012 but have largely kept their romance away from the spotlight, rarely being photographed together at red carpet events.


Maldives seeks Indian investment in tourism, hospitality sectors

maldives island

Maldives has sought Indian investment in sectors such as tourism, transport, energy and fisheries to enhance bilateral economic cooperation, as per a PTI report. “We are open to corporate India. Indian investments are welcome in Maldives. I assure Indian industry that we will provide a conducive environment for investment,” said Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, President, Maldives while addressing members of three industry chambers – Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) in New Delhi yesterday.

He said the strategic location of the island nation in the Indian Ocean makes it an ideal investment destination. “Areas such as fisheries, tourism and hospitality, transport and energy were some of the sectors for investments,” he said, adding that Maldives is more suited as a hub for the services sector.

Speaking on the occasion, EMS Natchiappan, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Maldives pitched for negotiations for a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) with Maldives. The agreement would help to protect Indian investments in that country. In 2012, Maldives cancelled its biggest foreign investment project, a USD 511 million deal with India’s GMR Group to develop Male international airport, raising questions about the future of Indian investment in the islands. The case is currently in arbitration.

Ambuj Chaturvedi, Member, FICCI outlined a five-point agenda to enhance economic engagement with the Maldives. He said both countries should sign BIPPA, increase exchanges of business delegations and improve air connectivity.

Subodh Bhargava, past President, CII suggested the two countries should explore new areas of cooperation such as IT, promoting Maldives as a location for Bollywood movies and the creation of warehouses, among others.