Necessity is the mother of invention! The Maldives, ITB Berlin's Partner Country, needs to use drinking water and electricity sparingly, and because of that the islanders need good ideas. Its people have been seeking and finding new solutions for the careful handling of scarce resources since 1972. That was when the development of tourism began, said Hussain Afeef, Vice Chairman of the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry at ITB Berlin. The expert named a few examples: natural waste is turned into compost. Water comes mainly from desalination plants and energy comes more and more from the sun. Tourists also receive bottles for their water, which they give back upon departure. In the Maldives, every drinking container is to be used multiple times.
Many inter-island boats now run on solar power. An increasing number of resorts and hotels are taking advantage of this valuable energy source. Ironing or turning on the washing machine at night quickly drains battery storage and every family here now knows that such work is better done during the day. Tourists can now even stay on remote islands with the locals. This kind of contact brings everyone to learn from one another, also in terms of environmental protection and climate change, said Moosa Zameer Hassan, Minister of Tourism of the Maldives.
It has become clear at the Convention that many countries could learn a lot from the Maldives in terms of preservation of resources, protection of coral and prudent fishing – from the ITB Partner Country but also from other islands. A resident of the small Caribbean island of Anguilla had an exchange of views with Ahmed Zubair Adam, Executive Board Member, Liveaboard Association. There, where it seldom rains, many Caribbean islanders have mounted rain gutters and cisterns from stone blocks and cement under or next to the house. Some private cisterns can to store 60,000 or more litres of rainwater. In the Maldives, however, that tends to be more the exception. "Such large containers cost quite a bit, unfortunately. We are working on a solution to the problem," said Adam. The government does offer very cheap or even free smaller reservoirs, he said.
Hall 5.2, Stand 109