Stuart Forster discusses the World Travel Writers’ Conference in the Maldives, held in September 2017.
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It was an honour to be invited to participate in the inaugural World Travel Writers’ Conference. The event took place in the Maldives on 17 and 18 September 2017.
The conference was held in the Orchid Hall at the Bandos Maldives resort. It is a mere 10-minute boat journey from Velana International Airport on Male Island, the Maldives’ principal entry point for air travellers.
World Travel Writers’ Conference
The Maldives’ Minister of Tourism, Mr Moosa Zameer, was a speaker at the conference’s opening ceremony.
Subsequent keynote speeches and panel discussions led to debates about the role of travel writing in tourism.
Blogger Elizabeth Carlson discussed the topic Sharing Experiences and the Art of Storytelling. Dr Sunny Umar later talked about the role of the Maldives’ archaeological history in driving cultural tourism.
After lunch in Bandos Maldives’ chic Koon Thai restaurant, I took to the stage to participate in a panel discussion. The theme was Storytelling Through Digital: every travel experience starts with a search. That lively discussion raised points relating to the impact of traditional travel writing and blogging on decisions regarding holidays and breaks.
Gina Samarato talked about bringing a destination to life through the use of immersive technology. Then Ahmed Ijaz gave a keynote speech on Maldivian travel trends.
The final keynote speaker of the first World Travel Writers’ Conference was Janet Newenham. She talked about the role of travel writing in retaining memories that would otherwise be gone.
A networking session followed.
Organised by Maldives TV
The conference was organised by Maldives TV, the country’s first international television channel. Maldives TV was launched officially on 9 March 2017 at the ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade fair.
Run by the Maldives’ Public Service Media, the channel transmits content about Maldivian culture. It is broadcast in English. Heritage, lifestyle and tourism-related subject matter feature on the channel.
Downloadable content is available online. This makes the channel a useful resource for people planning to travel to the Maldives.
Vacation in the Maldives
Participating in the World Travel Writers’ Conference gave me an opportunity to spend a few days getting to understand why the Maldives are such a popular holiday destination. The country consists of 1,192 islands scattered across atolls in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India.
The islands are known for their stylish accommodation. That includes the villas at upscale properties such as the Kandima Maldives and Coco Collection of resorts.
Affordably priced guesthouses, such as those on Huraa Island, are opening the Maldives to a new group of travellers.
From my base on Bandos Island, I took a sunset cruise. It provided an opportunity to see dolphins swimming alongside the boat. I also participated in a dusk fishing trip.
The Bandos Maldives’ Dive Centre offers PADI courses. I was able to walk into the sea to scuba dive and snorkel on the island’s house reef. Those experiences allowed me to get within an arm’s length of creatures including a hawksbill turtle, puffer fish and a moray eel.
World Travel Writers’ Conference gala dinner
The World Travel Writers’ Conference concluded with a gala dinner. The event was held on 18 September at the Adaaran Select Hudhuran Fushi resort, on North Male Atoll.
The reception was held on a beach of soft white sand and cocktails were served.
After helping ourselves to an expansive buffet featuring Maldivian and international cuisine, the evening event provided an opportunity for participants and organisers to mingle, chat and dance.
The conference was deemed a resounding success.
Hotels in the Maldives
Looking to book accommodation in the Maldives? Check out accommodation in hotels and resorts in the Maldives via Booking.com:
Travel to the Maldives
I flew from London Heathrow to the Maldives, via Doha, with Qatar Airways.
See the Visit Maldives website for tourism-related information and insights.
Photos illustrating this post are by Why Eye Photography.
Thanks for visiting Go Eat Do and reading this post about the World Travel Writers’ Conference. If you’re thinking about visiting the Maldives, please check out my post about staying at the Bandos Maldives resort.
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Claudia TavaniNovember 18, 2017 at 13:16
It was a great event. I attended the Maldives Tourism Board press conference at WTM London, Tom Grond was there too. It looks like a lot is happening in the country and that we may all go back soon!
Stuart ForsterNovember 21, 2017 at 10:06
Thanks Claudia, I certainly enjoyed my visit to the Maldives and had the impression that there’s plenty more to do there. Would I like to go back? Absolutely!
Gina SamarottoNovember 18, 2017 at 15:43
Great recap Stuart! Loved meeting and having the opportunity to explore the Maldives with you! Gina xo
Stuart ForsterNovember 21, 2017 at 10:07
Thank you Gina, I thought the attendees were a lot of fun to spend time with. And what a setting! Hoping to meet again!
AleahNovember 23, 2017 at 01:10
Hope I get invited again. I loved the diving there! It was also great meeting you. See you in a future trip!
Stuart ForsterNovember 23, 2017 at 12:39
It would be a pleasure to spend time with you again. You were great company over meals!
SuzetteNovember 23, 2017 at 22:12
What a great experience! Great networking and diving from the sound (and looks) of it. I hope to attend one day 😉
Stuart ForsterNovember 24, 2017 at 12:55
It was wonderful to get out to the Maldives and, yes, the diving was spectacular. I’d love to return to do more. Maybe see you there?
Geoff MooreNovember 30, 2017 at 08:59
Looks like it could be a great location for me to check out.
Stuart ForsterDecember 4, 2017 at 11:55
I’d certainly recommend it to anyone interested in photography and activities in or on water.