The Maldives is renowned for its paradisiacal isolation. But the sandy island paths, beaches, water jetties, villas and restaurants across the archipelago have for too long remained the exclusive domain of non-disabled visitors, excluding this as a dream-destination for guests with additional mobility, sensory or cognitive requirements, who would come if they only believed they could.
So Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences has made a commitment to embrace ‘total-guest-inclusion’ and is undergoing training and assessment from Inclucare, accessible and inclusive hospitality experts, to ensure that everyone will be able to enjoy the island to the max. This will upskill and empower every single member of the Amilla team to deliver inclusion excellence at every single moment of a guest’s experience.
Inclucare officials are auditing the entire resort island to identify any physical adjustments or adaptations that can be made to authentically establish Amilla, and the Maldives, as an accessible and inclusive dream-destination for all.
Amilla is now on target to soon become the first Inclucare-certified resort in the world. British TV personality and disability advocate, Sophie Morgan, will be a special guest at the resort and will host the Inclucare inauguration ceremony on July 26th. This special date happens to be Maldives’ Independence Day, and also the culmination of Amilla’s Maldives Cultural Week.
Sophie will be working towards obtaining her PADI Open Water certificate at Amilla’s dive centre with Dive Butler International, which is also working towards Inclucare certification.
Sophie said: “Knowing that disabled people are, for the first time, going to be able to experience the paradise that is the Maldives, and that our needs will be taken care of throughout our stay, is beyond transformative. Amilla is leading the way in inclusive travel, expanding our world as a result, and I’m delighted to be part of this momentous occasion.”
Amilla already had many easy-access ground floor villas, with wide doorways and accessible showers, as well as a beach wheelchair and a floating wheelchair for swimming and in-villa phones for the hearing impaired that light up when they ring.
New innovations on the cards at Amilla include deaf-alert systems, adaptive yoga and snorkelling adventures, and sensory touch, aroma and sound experiences through the jungle for vision-impaired guests. And there will also be another groundbreaking addition: ‘calming spaces’, for regulating sensory input. They will allow guests on the Autism spectrum, with learning difficulties, or dementia, to control their emotions, reducing anxiety and stress.
Director and proud Maldivian, Gahthan Halleem commented, “This is something close to our hearts; differences are welcome and we aim to make everyone feel at home here. We hope that this collaboration, including the learning by our local team members, will also translate back into the local community.”
Inclucare is the vision of Richard Thompson, himself spinal cord injured, and for decades a leading authority and advocate of ‘total-guest-inclusion’ in global travel, hospitality and leisure. Together with the team of travel, technology and education experts at Inclucare, Richard and his colleagues have created a complete ecosystem of services, solutions and support that is set to transform the landscape of travel opportunities for disabled people – who make up one in six of the earth’s population.
Richard says “Inclucare is the culmination of more than two decades of endeavor in removing barriers to travel freedoms, equity and inclusion for disabled people across the globe.
We are therefore excited, proud and privileged to partner, support and certify Amilla’s commitment to creating a genuinely inclusive island paradise in the Indian Ocean. And in doing so, position themselves as world leaders of inclusion in luxury… and the Maldives as a destination that now everyone can dream about”.