For those who know me personally or have been reading my blog for some time now, you would know that I’ve been working in the Maldives since 2016 and my thoughts on my Boracay visit would (probably) be interesting.
To be fair, Boracay is indeed a fantastic destination for beach lovers hence a separate post about it was published here. However, I can’t help but compare Boracay to Maldives although both destinations are quite different and beautiful on its own. I can’t help but whisper to myself what Boracay could have done better on some aspects even though I heard that it has improved a lot after rehabilitation.
Maldives has a one island one resort concept which is totally different from Boracay where all the hotels are located on the same island. Although a local island in the Maldives called Maafushi is very similar to Boracay already less the alcohol.
Maafushi Island is famous for guest houses suitable for travelers who seek budget accommodation in the Maldives. It can get really crowded during high season but not as crowded as Boracay. Travelers can get a room for a night for just about $60 compared to resorts ranging from $300 to $1000 or more per night. And in case guests would like to have alcohol while staying in Maafushi, there’s a way. Now that I thought of it, this post is about Boracay and I can just write a separate post about Maafushi Island since I know a thing or two about it and it can help those who would like to go to the Maldives on a budget.
Maldives resorts can be quiet or loud depending on the brand’s concept and you can only choose one at a time. You can’t have both but Boracay has it all. Nestled at the far end of Boracay’s Station 1 are the luxury resorts with private beaches and tranquil surroundings, best for those who seek a quiet and relaxing beach holiday. While Station 2 houses a mix of hotels from budget to 5 star, conveniently located at the center of everything (I hope my description is correct), best for the active travelers and those who seek night life.
Station 2 for me is quite noisy and this is not my idea of an island getaway. I am not saying that this is something bad though, it’s just a matter of preference and also, working in Maldives spoiled my concept of islands.
I have not seen Boracay before its rehabilitation so I can’t compare what’s then to now. What I have seen a few days ago was a clean version, with less crowd (although with Ncov effect) and a Boracay that have already taken steps towards sustainability such as having separate garbage bins for different items and use of paper instead of plastic bags in shops.
I don’t know what the government or the tourism department is doing towards becoming a sustainable country or tourist destination so I have no rights to say anything about what they did or did not do. I can only suggest here what I feel that they can possibly implement.
We stayed at Movenpick Resort and the first let down on the sustainability part is the water provided in the rooms, in plastic bottles. As a big international brand, I was somehow expecting to be provided with water in glass bottles instead of plastic. In Maldives, it is not a standard, but most hotels are sustainability driven now, whether it’s genuine or just green washing and most resorts have their own desalination plants to clean and process the water. This is what they provide in the rooms and I was sort of expecting that in Movenpick. Although, I can’t really blame Movenpick for not having desalination plants because I’m sure that having one will involve costs. But at least, there could be other solutions such as finding other suppliers that uses glass instead of plastic bottles (hopefully there are some).
Another thing is about environmental conservation awareness activities. Boracay could be the best place to raise awareness about climate change and what we as humans can do to help aide the fragile environment because of the amount of tourist arrivals. I understand that coral planting or reef cleaning may not be feasible. But there are other things that can be implemented such as Marine Talks, paper or soap recycling, or local outreach. Again, I don’t know what’s already implemented on the island, I’m just thinking out loud on what can be done. You might also think, that if you are going for a holiday, the last thing you’ll do is to recycle paper or listen to such eco talks. But you’ll be surprised about how effective these talks are and how these have changed people’s perception and how it can change more and how people are very keen into doing something to help save the environment.
I work for the Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, and I am proud to say that we have set the standards of Marine Conservation and Sustainability in the Maldives and each resort that opened have benchmarked their Marine Lab and Sustainability efforts against ours and have even improved and did better than us. Maldives resorts are somehow in a healthy competition on how one can be more sustainable than the other and they are becoming very creative on this aspect.
Our resort have also vowed to be plastic free in 2018 and by 2019, we have eliminated single-use plastic by about 90%.
See? It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
The Maldives government have started working towards a plastic free by 2023 and I hope that our beautiful country, would also realize that they need to start acting on saving the seas now before its too late. I know, I keep praising Maldives but with all honesty, we can learn a thing or two from them.
Boracay has improved a lot but it can still do more. Again, not that I know better. I just probably see things from a different perspective.
I have said a lot especially on sustainability more than my stay on the island. The husband and I enjoyed the short getaway and here I leave some photos.