Maldives (Commonwealth Union)_ Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences has become the first Inclucare-verified resort in the world with the facilities and training to accommodate visitors with a variety of physical and sensory disabilities. Inclucare is a United Kingdom-based agency that provides complete and accessible travel training, evaluation, and accreditation to the tourist sector. According to Inclucare, one in five individuals across the world have a major mental or physical handicap, and the worldwide spending potential of the disabled market is around USD 10 trillion each year.
The island was opened in 2014 as an independent 5-star luxury resort owned by Maldivians and staffed by seasoned hoteliers who sought to build a lush private island paradise surrounded by natural beauty. There are very few villas and apartments on the island that feature gorgeous, unspoiled landscape and more room to play, relax, and explore. Amilla is located on a wonderfully verdant island. It was utilized as an agricultural island for several years and still maintains 70% of its natural forest. The island has 2500 coconut trees, and the coconut processing business, The Nut, uses this harvest. It also features 23.5 hectares and 67 villas, more than 40 of which lie overwater. Amilla provides big villas, space between villas, and outside space to play. The resort has a children’s club, a teen’s program, and the Baa-lletin, a comprehensive weekly activity session.
Amilla Maldives, a five-star resort on Baa Atoll, was honored by Inclucare at a special event hosted in the Great Scotland Yard hotel in London. The resort is now Inclucare’s first certified hotel. The event also had a panel discussion on how travel and hospitality professionals can push accessibility and inclusiveness to the forefront of the travel and media sectors’ agendas. Juliet Kinsman, sustainability editor for Condé Nast Traveler, presided over the panel discussion. Richard Thompson, the founder of Inclucare, was joined on the panel by Ed Warner, the founder of award-winning accessible design experts, Motionspot, as well as Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences and Great Scotland Yard Hotel representatives.
The panel discussed how handicapped individuals stay longer, spend more money, and frequently travel with assistance; however, the great majority of hotels globally do not comply with existing accessibility and inclusion regulations. The verification of Amilla Maldives and Great Scotland Yard Hotel demonstrates that if this can be implemented on a remote coral island in the Maldives and a historic structure in one of the oldest and greatest cities in the world, then it can be implemented anywhere.
According to Juliet Kinsman, Sustainability Editor at Condé Nast Traveller, “In a world awash with certifications, and hundreds in the travel sector alone, IncluCare stands for a really significant seal of approval – verified accessibility and inclusivity. We still have a long way to go when it comes to the hotel industry offering experiences that everyone can book, whatever their abilities, and this sets a really important benchmark in terms of sustainability and responsibility, which I hope will inspire more hotels to do the right thing when it comes to considering all the needs of every potential guest”.
The certification of Amilla Maldives Resort by Inclucare has attracted the attention of the Maldives government, which resulted in a visit by Aishath Mohamed Didi, the Minister of Gender and Family, who is also in charge of handicap rights. She is now advocating for legislative reforms to increase access and inclusion for Maldivians. There are approximately 2,000 disabled individuals in the Maldives who are extremely unlikely to obtain employment. Amilla Maldives is now investigating how they may make improvements in the Heart of House (staff area) to establish an inclusive workplace that would allow handicapped persons to obtain employment.