Sun Siyam Resorts, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Atlantic Holidays joined forces to host a group of sixteen influential travel media and influencers from the UK at two of their five resorts in the Maldives, at Sun Siyam Iru Fushi & Siyam World. This exclusive gathering unfolded in celebration of the highly anticipated launch of Virgin’s direct service between London Heathrow and Male.
The group included writers for some of the UK’s leading national consumer publications – Metro, The Sun, Reach, PA News, Evening Standard, i online, The Telegraph, House & Garden Magazine, GQ, Breathe and Good Housekeeping; B2B publication TTG Luxury and airline specialist writers from Head for Points and Upgraded Points. Popular travel influencers That Travel Couple also joined the group.
The press trip stayed at Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, where they were welcomed with traditional Maldivian storytelling performances, handcrafted wooden garlands and a traditional Maldivian island-life scene to showcase the group’s Maldivian roots. Additional activities included a spa experience at The Spa by Thalgo France, a sunset dolphin cruise, guided snorkelling at Nemo’s Reef, and an exclusive gala dinner at the island’s French signature restaurant, Flavours. In a poignant farewell ceremony, a fern, symbolising growth and memories, was planted, accompanied by a commemorative plaque on behalf of the Virgin Atlantic team.
The group was seamlessly transported to Siyam World, where the hallmark Maldivian hospitality of Sun Siyam Resorts continued to unfold. Exploring the resort’s diverse offerings, including the Siyam Horse Ranch and Siyam Water World, the group actively participated in the reef regeneration program alongside marine biologist Mariyam Thuhufa, contributing to coral cleaning and replanting efforts. While indulging in Maldivian delicacies from the resort’s latest culinary addition, Kaage, the group embarked on a culinary odyssey during a dine-around evening, exploring four of the island’s 17 exceptional restaurants and bars. The journey culminated with a beach banquet complemented by traditional Maldivian storytelling through dance, presented by the resort’s captivating entertainment troupes.
A focal point of the trip was a visit to Kudafari, where the Siyam family were raised. The media were met and accompanied by Ahmed Mahfooz, the Secretary General of Kudafari Council, Milhana Ibrahim from the Women’s Committee and the Siyam family. They were shown some of the projects funded by the company’s sustainability program, Sun Siyam Cares, including the construction of a new Mosque and school. The group were treated to true Maldivian hospitality and cuisine at the Siyam family home.
Commenting on the trip, Sun Siyam Resort’s Creative Director, Sara Siyam, said, “Our objective for this very special group was to showcase how Sun Siyam Resorts stand out in the Maldives both in terms of our heritage and our experiences. We want our guests to feel the culture of the Maldives, and this is what we wanted to get across to the media through music, dance and cuisine. The Virgin brand and its desire to step away from the ‘mundane and normal’ is a perfect fit for Sun Siyam Resorts as we strive to create products and experiences that are firsts in Maldives, in the Indian Ocean and in the world.”
Claudia Klingbeil, Global PR & Communications Director at Sun Siyam Resorts, added, “The UK is the number one market for Sun Siyam Resorts, and we were honoured to welcome such a high calibre of media to the Maldives and to partner with Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Atlantic Holidays. With a group of travel experts like this, it was very important to us to create a program that would make us stand out.”
Dom Kennedy, Senior Vice President of Virgin Atlantic Holidays, commented: “We are proud to have launched new flights between London Heathrow and the Maldives with our new seasonal thrice-weekly service as we continue to expand our growing collection of winter sun destinations. “Our Virgin Atlantic Holidays customers can now enjoy a seamless experience flying direct to Male on Virgin Atlantic and can personalise their journey by choosing to fly Economy, Premium or Upper Class. “We know our customers love the crystal white sand beaches and turquoise waters of the Maldives, and we look forward to bringing more UK guests to the region, staying in the wide portfolio of hotels that Virgin Atlantic Holidays offers, including, of course, the fabulous Sun Siyam Resorts properties.”