Geschätzte Lesezeit: 12 Minuten

During our press trip to the 5-Star Hotel Velassaru Maldives, it became clear that the topic of sustainability is playing an increasingly important role. This prompted FrontRowSociety editor Andreas Conrad to interview General Manager Denys Hordiienko.

Velassaru - das exklusive Paradies auf den Malediven
Velassaru – the exclusive paradise in the Maldives / © Editorial Office

Andreas Conrad: Speaking of your guests, generally speaking people staying in exclusive resorts, do you have the feeling that they look for sustainable arrivals to their destination?

Denys Hordiienko: Thank you for your insightful question regarding the travel preferences of guests, particularly those staying in exclusive resorts. At Velassaru Maldives, we deeply value the evolving perspectives of our guests and recognize the increasing importance they place on sustainability when choosing their travel destinations.

In recent years, there has been a significant shift in the mindset of luxury travellers. Many of our guests express a genuine interest in sustainable practices, seeking accommodations that align with their values of environmental stewardship and responsible tourism.

Velassaru Maldives, cognizant of this paradigm shift, has taken proactive measures to integrate sustainability into our core operations. We understand that a sustainable approach not only benefits the environment but also enhances the overall guest experience. From the moment our guests arrive, they are enveloped in a setting that harmonizes luxury with a commitment to responsible and eco-conscious practices.

Our initiatives include minimizing single-use plastics, implementing energy-efficient technologies, and supporting local communities through responsible sourcing. We believe in creating a destination where guests can indulge in luxury while being assured that their stay contributes positively to the environment and the local community.

As sustainability continues to be a focal point for discerning travellers, Velassaru Maldives remains dedicated to fostering a deeper connection with nature and promoting responsible travel practices. We strive to provide an unparalleled experience where luxury and sustainability coexist seamlessly.

Andreas Conrad: So would you agree that sustainable travel starts with the actual travel itself or at the resort?

Exclusive Interview with General Manager Denys Hordiienko 5 Star Hotel Velassaru Maldives
General Manager Denys Hordiienko, 5 star hotel Velassaru Maldives / © Photo: Velassaru Maldives

Denys Hordiienko: It’s indeed a thought-provoking question regarding the commencement of sustainable travel, and thank you for that. At Velassaru Maldives, we believe that sustainable travel is a comprehensive journey that encompasses both the travel itself and the experience at the resort.

The journey towards sustainability begins with responsible travel practices, extending from the choice of transportation methods to the moment our guests arrive at Velassaru Maldives. We encourage eco-conscious travel decisions, such as opting for low-impact transportation and carbon offset programs, as part of the broader commitment to reducing the overall environmental footprint.

Once our guests set foot on our pristine island, sustainability seamlessly integrates into every aspect of their stay. Velassaru Maldives is dedicated to fostering a holistic approach to sustainable tourism within the resort. Our initiatives span from minimizing environmental impact through waste reduction and energy efficiency to actively supporting local communities and preserving the natural beauty of our surroundings.

By adopting a holistic perspective, we recognize that the entire travel experience plays a crucial role in promoting sustainability. This approach not only aligns with the expectations of modern travellers but also contributes to a more meaningful and fulfilling journey.

Andreas Conrad: In common sense most people connect luxury with wastefulness, of course, we know and agree that’s not always the case. So how would you reconcile luxury and sustainability?

Denys Hordiienko: Appreciate you for addressing an essential aspect of modern luxury travel— the perception of luxury often being associated with wastefulness. At Velassaru Maldives, we acknowledge this common perception and are committed to redefining the narrative by seamlessly reconciling luxury and sustainability.

Luxury, in its true essence, should be synonymous with refinement, responsibility, and a commitment to delivering extraordinary experiences while preserving the environment. Velassaru Maldives believes in elevating the standards of luxury by integrating sustainable practices into every facet of our offerings.

Our commitment to sustainability is evident in various initiatives, I’ve already mentioned above, such as minimizing single-use plastics, implementing energy-efficient technologies, and sourcing locally-produced goods. We are dedicated to providing an opulent yet responsible experience for our guests, where they can indulge in the height of luxury without compromising on ethical and environmental values.

By intertwining luxury with sustainability, Velassaru Maldives aims to set a precedent within the industry, demonstrating that conscious travel choices can enhance, rather than diminish, the luxury experience. Our guests can revel in the finest accommodations, exceptional service, and exquisite dining while contributing to a more sustainable and responsible travel ethos.

The overwater villas at the luxury resort are in high demand
The overwater villas at the luxury resort are in high demand..  / © Editorial Office
... oder doch lieber eine Wasservilla..
… with breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean / © Editorial Office

Andreas Conrad: Speaking of those refinements and ideas, does your resort have, for example, a two-year plan to operate more eco-friendly or sustainable? If so, are you comfortable sharing some with us?

Denys Hordiienko: Thank you for your insightful question regarding our resort’s plans for operating more eco-friendly and sustainably. At Velassaru Maldives, we are proud of our ongoing commitment to sustainability, and we recognize the importance of proactively planning for the future.

Currently, we are in the process of developing a comprehensive two-year plan that outlines our strategic initiatives to further enhance our eco-friendly practices. While the details are still in refinement, I am pleased to share a few key aspects that will be central to our sustainability agenda:

Energy Efficiency: We aim to implement advanced energy-efficient technologies and explore renewable energy sources to minimize our carbon footprint.

Waste Reduction: Our plan includes the continued reduction of single-use plastics, comprehensive waste management strategies, and the exploration of innovative solutions to minimize environmental impact.

Community Engagement: Velassaru Maldives is dedicated to fostering stronger ties with local communities, supporting socio-economic initiatives, and promoting cultural preservation.

Biodiversity Conservation: We will actively contribute to the preservation of the surrounding marine and terrestrial ecosystems through conservation programs and initiatives.

Guest Education: Enhancing guest awareness and engagement in sustainable practices will be a focal point, empowering our visitors to make eco-conscious choices during their stay.

As we finalize and implement these initiatives, we look forward to making meaningful strides toward a more sustainable future. Our commitment to transparency and accountability remains unwavering, and we are eager to share more details as our two-year plan progresses.

The finest delights are served at the resort ...
The finest delights are served at the resort … / © Editorial Office
... bis hin zum Dessert
… brought to the plate / © Editorial Office

Andreas Conrad: In order to reach your goal, to what extent do you involve the local population in your sustainability strategies, and is there government support for sustainability programs?

Denys Hordiienko: Your inquiry about our involvement with the local population in our sustainability strategies is highly appreciated. At Velassaru Maldives, we firmly believe that sustainability is a collective effort, and that engaging the local community is integral to the success of our initiatives.

Our sustainability strategies place a strong emphasis on collaborating with the local population, ensuring that our efforts not only benefit the environment but also contribute positively to the socio-economic development of the Maldives. We actively involve the local community in the following ways:

Local Employment: We prioritize hiring locally, providing employment opportunities, and fostering skill development within the community.

Sourcing Locally: Velassaru Maldives is committed to sourcing goods and services from local businesses, supporting the economic growth of the surrounding communities.

Community Outreach: We engage in ongoing dialogue with local communities to understand their needs and concerns, tailoring our sustainability initiatives to align with their values and priorities.

Regarding government support, we are fortunate to have a collaborative relationship with local authorities. The Maldivian government is actively promoting sustainable tourism, and we work in tandem with their guidelines and initiatives. Their support reinforces our commitment to sustainable practices and enhances the impact of our efforts.

We see sustainability as a shared responsibility, and our collaboration with the local population and government authorities reflects our dedication to creating a positive impact on both environmental and community fronts.

Excursions are also on the programme, as sustainable as possible
Excursions are also on the programme, as sustainable as possible / © Editorial Office

Andreas Conrad: Due to our profession, we are at multiple exclusive resorts around the world. Sometimes we have the feeling that the thought of sustainability is only important for European or German-speaking guests. Would you agree?

Denys Hordiienko: Thank you for sharing your perspective and raising an insightful question about the perception of sustainability among guests. At Velassaru Maldives, we recognize the global significance of sustainability, and our commitment extends to embracing a universal perspective.

While it is true that sustainability has gained prominence among European and German-speaking guests, we believe that the awareness and importance of sustainable practices transcend cultural and geographical boundaries. At Velassaru Maldives, we have observed a growing consciousness among our diverse international guests, irrespective of their origin.

Our commitment to sustainability is rooted in the understanding that environmental responsibility is a shared global concern. We actively engage with guests from various regions, tailoring our initiatives to resonate with the values of a diverse clientele.

We see sustainability as a collective endeavour that goes beyond regional or linguistic distinctions. It is a shared commitment to preserving the beauty of our planet for present and future generations. Velassaru Maldives is dedicated to creating a space where guests from all corners of the world can participate in and appreciate the importance of sustainable living.

Pure relaxation on the 5-star island of Velassaru
Pure relaxation on the 5-star island of Velassaru / © Editorial Office

Andreas Conrad: Speaking of your personal opinion, how do you think travelling and staying at luxurious destinations will change in the future? And where do you see the limits of sustainability in the luxury hospitality industry?

Denys Hordiienko: Appreciate your insightful question indeed about the future of luxury travel and the limits of sustainability in the hospitality industry. At Velassaru Maldives, we believe that the evolving landscape of luxury travel will be characterized by a heightened focus on meaningful experiences, personal well-being, and a deeper commitment to sustainability.

Shift Towards Meaningful Experiences: We anticipate a shift towards curated, authentic experiences that resonate with the discerning traveller. Luxury will be defined by unique and immersive encounters, fostering a more profound connection between guests and their destinations.

Emphasis on Personal Well-being: The future of luxury travel will prioritize the well-being of guests, both physically and mentally. Resorts, including Velassaru Maldives, will continue to integrate wellness programs, eco-conscious activities, and holistic offerings to enhance the overall guest experience.

Advancements in Sustainable Practices: Sustainability will become a non-negotiable element of luxury hospitality. Velassaru Maldives is committed to advancing our sustainable initiatives, integrating cutting-edge technologies and innovative solutions to minimize our environmental impact.

As for the limits of sustainability in the luxury hospitality industry, we acknowledge that achieving absolute sustainability is an ongoing journey. While significant strides have been made, challenges such as balancing luxury expectations with environmental responsibility and sourcing sustainable materials in remote locations persist. However, these challenges inspire us to push boundaries and explore innovative solutions to redefine the limits of sustainability within the industry.

At Velassaru Maldives, we view sustainability not as a constraint but as an opportunity for continuous improvement and innovation. We are committed to pushing the boundaries of what is achievable while delivering unparalleled luxury experiences for our guests.

Einen tollen Blick auf den türkisblauen Indischen Ozean haben Gäste von der
Guests have a great view of the turquoise-blue Indian Ocean from the „Chill Bar“ / © Editorial Office

Andreas Conrad: There are lots of environmentally conscious trends; which ones have you noticed in recent years?

Denys Hordiienko: Thank you for your insightful question regarding environmentally conscious trends. At Velassaru Maldives, we are proud to be at the forefront of sustainable hospitality, and we have observed several impactful trends in recent years.

Plastic Reduction Initiatives: A significant trend involves a heightened awareness and commitment to reducing single-use plastics. Velassaru Maldives has implemented comprehensive measures to minimize plastic usage, including the introduction of reusable alternatives and eco-friendly materials.

Local Sourcing and Community Engagement: The emphasis on sourcing locally and engaging with local communities has gained prominence. Velassaru Maldives actively supports local businesses, artisans, and farmers, ensuring that our operations contribute positively to the socio-economic development of the Maldives.

Renewable Energy Integration: The adoption of renewable energy sources, such as solar power, has become a prevalent trend. Velassaru Maldives continues to explore and invest in eco-friendly technologies to reduce our carbon footprint and promote sustainable energy practices.

Wellness and Sustainable Living: Guests are increasingly seeking wellness-focused experiences intertwined with sustainable living. Velassaru Maldives responds to this trend by offering holistic wellness programs that align with our commitment to environmental responsibility.

Biodiversity Conservation: Preserving and protecting local biodiversity is a growing priority. Velassaru Maldives actively participates in marine conservation efforts, including coral reef restoration programs and initiatives to safeguard the diverse marine life surrounding our resort.

These trends reflect a collective commitment to fostering a more sustainable and responsible approach to travel and hospitality. Velassaru Maldives remains dedicated to staying abreast of these trends, implementing best practices, and continuously innovating to redefine the standards of sustainable luxury.

Von jedem Platz aus und von jedem Blickwinkel ist Velassaru einzigartig
Velassaru is unique from every spot and every angle, even Georg the heron feels at home here  / © Editorial Office

Andreas Conrad: Lastly, we are curious! There’s a current boom of luxurious hospitality facilities all over the world. Everybody wants to go higher, further, and faster, chasing the sky. What does a luxury resort or hotel need to survive the tough competition?

Denys Hordiienko: Thank you for your intriguing question regarding the evolving landscape of luxury hospitality. During a global boom in luxurious facilities, Velassaru Maldives believes that enduring success in this dynamic industry requires a harmonious blend of unparalleled experiences, a genuine commitment to sustainability, and a relentless pursuit of innovation.

Authentic Experiences: In a world where travellers seek more than just opulent accommodations, a luxury resort must offer authentic, immersive experiences. Velassaru Maldives is dedicated to curating moments that go beyond expectations, creating lasting memories for our guests through unique and personalized encounters.

Environmental Stewardship: The discerning traveller increasingly values eco-conscious practices. To stand out, a luxury resort must prioritize sustainability. Velassaru Maldives takes pride in its unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship, integrating sustainable initiatives that resonate with the values of modern luxury travellers.

Innovative Design and Technology: Continuous innovation in both design and technology is essential. Velassaru Maldives embraces cutting-edge technologies to enhance guest experiences, from state-of-the-art amenities to eco-friendly advancements that contribute to our sustainable practices.

Culinary Excellence: Culinary offerings play a pivotal role in the luxury hospitality experience. A resort must boast diverse, exceptional dining options. Velassaru Maldives takes pride in its array of culinary delights, offering guests a gastronomic journey that complements the overall luxury experience.

Personalized Service: Exemplary service remains a cornerstone of luxury hospitality. A resort’s team should not merely meet expectations but surpass them with genuine warmth and attentiveness. Velassaru Maldives places a premium on personalized service, ensuring that each guest feels valued and cared for throughout their stay.

Surviving the tough competition requires a delicate balance of timeless elegance and contemporary relevance. Velassaru Maldives navigates this dynamic landscape by staying true to our commitment to authenticity, sustainability, innovation, culinary excellence, and personalized service.

Enjoy time on the beach or in the villa / © Editorial Office

Andreas Conrad: Finally, we would like to know what unique selling point your resort has in terms of environmentally friendly tourism.

Denys Hordiienko: Thank you for your concluding question, which allows us to highlight Velassaru Maldives‘ distinctive aspects in the realm of environmentally friendly tourism. Our commitment to sustainability is woven into the very fabric of our resort, providing a unique and enriching experience for guests seeking responsible luxury.

Comprehensive Sustainability Initiatives: Velassaru Maldives takes pride in implementing a comprehensive range of sustainability initiatives that go beyond the ordinary. From minimizing single-use plastics to supporting local communities and engaging in marine conservation, our commitment is holistic and multifaceted.

Carbon-Neutral Operations: As part of our dedication to mitigating our carbon footprint, Velassaru Maldives actively explores and invests in eco-friendly technologies and renewable energy sources. Our goal is to achieve carbon-neutral operations, setting a benchmark for environmentally conscious practices in the industry.

Innovative Eco-Friendly Practices: We continuously innovate in the realm of eco-friendly practices. Velassaru Maldives is at the forefront of pioneering sustainable initiatives, such as the reduction of energy consumption, water conservation programs, and the incorporation of environmentally friendly materials in our operations.

Engagement with Local Communities: Our resort is deeply committed to engaging with and supporting local communities. Velassaru Maldives actively involves local residents in our sustainability efforts, ensuring that our initiatives align with their needs and contribute positively to their socio-economic development.

Educational Programs for Guests: We believe in empowering our guests to make informed and sustainable choices. Velassaru Maldives offers educational programs and activities that raise awareness about environmental conservation, fostering a sense of responsibility among our visitors.

These unique selling points underscore Velassaru Maldives‘ position as a leading destination for travellers seeking an unparalleled blend of luxury and environmental responsibility. We are honoured to be a beacon of sustainable luxury in the Maldives and beyond.

Here you will find our article about our press trip “ Velassaru Maldives – das ultimative Inselparadies“

Velassaru is part of the Universal Resorts group – click here to go to our article


Andreas Conrad, Herausgeber des Magazins FrontRowSociety ist Advokat von Prevented Ocean PlasticFrontRowSociety editor Andreas Conrad conducted the interview with the General Manager Denys Hordiienko, 5-Star Hotel Velassaru Maldives, in March 2024. These are the original, unedited answers.

Here you can find the interview in German

Velassaru Maldives
Male / South Male Atoll
Republic of Maldives

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