CROSSROADS, a budding Maldives travel destination that spans nine islands is emerging as one of the region’s main advocates for sustainability. Located near the capital Malé and Velana International Airport, this mega project by Thailand’s Singha Estate PLC, a premier property development and investment holding company, has ambitious sustainability goals, seeking to closely involve the local communities in ensuring that sustainability values are exercised at every level, from recreational activities to environmental conservation and resort’s operation. CROSSROADS endeavors are paving way for it to become a model of sustainability for future projects in holiday regions of the world.
‘Building big, Protecting the small’
It is Singha Estate’s declared goal to create lasting values for all stakeholders – from locals and visitors to operators and partners in the supply chain – and CROSSROADS is making this a possibility. Conservation efforts are exercised to lives under the sea, and for the community that lives above it, promoting their cultures, lifestyles, and national pride is a major mission. ‘Building big, Protecting the small’ is about maximum harmony between people, the environment and the economy, where all parties involved could benefit from sustainable growth in the long run. It means that even with large, ambitious projects, every small detail that is in need of protection is taken into account. The balance of nature is at the center, and maintaining this is a binding requirement for everything that happens at CROSSROADS.
The Twin Island Project
To best protect the marine ecosystem, special marine biologist’ equipment records the underwater environment during the entire construction period, as well as before and after each transport to the islands to minimize impact to the environment. Singha Estate is also constructing a Marine Discovery Center that will recruit and rehabilitate corals on a large scale, and will be home to a coral nursery. Singha Estate practices a technologically advanced and environmentally safe coral propagation technique, which has enjoyed an immense success in propagating Thailand’s coral reefs around a Phi Phi Island. This is known as the Twin-Island project, where knowhow and successful practices learned in Thailand are being used to spearhead the conservation program in the Maldives.
Turtle Protection for ‘Emma & Co.’
CROSSROADS has a mission to save species threatened with extinction, in particular: sea turtles. During an early stage of construction, marine biologists came across a group of sea turtles on one side of the main island, and sent the footage to Singha Estate executives. In a matter of minutes, the blueprint of the Marina @ CROSSROADS was redrawn, and the development was ordered to be moved to the other side of the island so as to not interfere with the turtles’ habitat. A lone turtle that was once discovered during an underwater inspection near the coral reefs became CROSSROADS’ symbol of sustainability, and was thereafter nicknamed “Emma”, for Emboodhoo Lagoon, where the resort is located. A statue of Emma has been made to honor Singha Estate’s dedication to sea lives.
Hawksbill Turtle & Tuna Underwater Sculpture
Like many island destinations, the Maldives has been greatly impacted by coral bleaching and the rapidly growing marine industry. Since 2016, more than 70 percent of the vulnerable coral reefs have broken and died. To reduce the impact of tourism and rehabilitate coral reefs, durable underwater sculptures of the Maldives’ iconic sea creatures, hawksbill turtle and tunas, are being installed at CROSSROADS’ artificial diving site. This is a safe zone where novice divers are taught to not interfere with sea lives before they explore the open sea. The diving spot will also be used as a coral nursery area, and experienced divers can participate in the coral propagation activity at the Marine Discovery Center.
The development of the CROSSROADS project is set to redefine the Maldives’ vacation experience as the first integrated leisure and recreation destination that will attract and captivate the international family-leisure markets to the Maldives.
Inspired by cultures from the East and the West at the crossing of Maritime Silk Road, the project is situated within the 7 km-long lagoon just 15 minutes from Male International Airport by speed boat presenting an easy access and unique offerings for travellers as well as the residents of the capital city. Featuring a luxurious yacht marina and a rich combination of hotels, entertainment, one-of-a-kind lifestyle beach club, retail and fine dining, the project also houses a cultural centre that will promote the life and crafts of the islands nation and introduce global practice sustainable tourism schemes dedicated to preserving the bio-diversity of the Maldives’ prestigious marine ecosystem and enhancing the well-being of the local community.