Press Releases

Soneva unveils voluntourism programme for resorts in Maldives and Thailand

April 2016

Guests can work alongside tropical ecologists and marine biologists to receive bonus nights on their stays

(April 01, 2016) Soneva Resorts and Residences, the world-leading luxury resort operator, has introduced a new ‘voluntourism’ programme at its resorts in the Maldives and Thailand. Guests have the opportunity to work alongside tropical ecologists and marine biologists to support the company’s sustainability and community engagement initiatives, and will receive bonus nights on their stays during selected periods between May and October 2016.

When staying at Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, guests can choose from one of three eco-programmes focusing on land, sea or the local community.  Activities include supporting the resident horticulturalists and gardeners to maintain the vegetable gardens, creating seed banks, snorkeling with Marine Biologists to monitor turtle populations and coral colonies, and registering fish caught by local fisherman. There are also opportunities to work with Soneva’s Community Engagement Managers on established projects on nearby islands, which may include helping to teach Maldivian children to swim, beach clean-ups and other educational initiatives.

Guests at Soneva Kiri in Thailand will work closely with the resort’s Tropical Ecologist to identify and register rare species of flora and fauna thriving in the tropical rainforest on Koh Kood.  Located southeast of Bangkok, Koh Kood offers a huge diversity of rare flowers and plants, with more than 100 different species of butterflies alone.

“This is a very unique opportunity to get close to nature and learn more about the complexity of the rich ecosystem of this beautiful island,” said Sonu Shivdasani, Founder and CEO of Soneva. “Similarly, the eco-programmes at Soneva Fushi are both interesting and educational. This activity is part of our efforts to create unique experiences for our guests while at the same time supporting our ongoing sustainability initiatives.”

Soneva owns and operates Soneva Fushi in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri in Thailand. Soneva in Aqua, an ultra luxurious yacht offering an experiential travel experience, was launched in the Maldives in 2015 and sails out of Soneva Fushi. For more information about the Eco Programme at Soneva Fushi click here, and for more information about the Eco Programme at Soneva Kiri click here.


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Editor’s Note:

About Soneva’s Sustainability Initiatives:


  • By adding a two per cent environmental levy to guests’ bills, Soneva has raised around USD 5.7 million towards environmental projects, which will mitigate one million tonnes CO2 over seven years; far exceeding Soneva’s carbon footprint including guest flights. So far, the projects have benefitted more than 150,000 people. Similarly, the company also banned imported water in 2008 and produces all required drinking water on site. This has reduced carbon emissions and also avoided the estimated 900,000 plastic bottles that would need to be disposed of.  The savings achieved from this have been used through the Soneva Foundation to give over 600,000 people access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.


  • Soneva convenes some of the world’s greatest minds across science, business, philanthropy and policy at its annual SLOW LIFE Symposiums. Described by one of the participants as a ‘laboratory of intent’, the event provides leaders with the time and space to address environmental challenges and to create tangible, collaborative solutions.  The events deliver real results. In 2011 the WHOLE WORLD Water initiative was conceived.  Scaling up the Soneva model of filtering and bottling water locally and donating a percentage of revenues to clean water initiatives, the model eliminates plastic waste and unnecessary transportation miles and allows the whole travel and tourism industry to unite.


  • Soneva also recycles over 80 per cent of its waste through its state-of-the art Eco Centro ‘Waste to Wealth’ programme.


  • Soneva is also a global influencer, as the company has pioneered the development of its own Soneva Carbon Calculator and environmental profit and loss tool in order to measure and further reduce the environmental impact of their operations and supply chain.


About Soneva Fushi:


In 1995, award-winning luxury resort Soneva Fushi set the standard for all desert island barefoot luxury hideaways in the Maldives. It has a pristine Biosphere UNESCO protected reef and is known for its legendary service.


Fifty-seven private villas with their own stretch of beach are hidden among dense foliage within touching distance of a pristine coral reef.  Intuitive service is provided by Mr./Ms. Friday butlers.


Highlights include the open-air Cinema Paradiso, counting Saturn’s rings in the high-tech Observatory, the home-made chocolate and ice cream rooms, five hundred wines to choose from and nine dining options.  If the experiences are magical, the philosophy is simple: No news, no shoes. No pretensions either.


About Soneva Kiri


Award-winning luxury resort Soneva Kiri sits on Thailand’s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood – just one hour by private plane south-east of Bangkok. It offers an unrivalled combination of luxury, an integral environmental approach, authentic Thai experiences and mouth-watering organic food.


Soneva Kiri Resort comprises 36 vast pool villas on beach level, hillsides or cliff tops, all overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. Available to rent or purchase, all have impossibly chic furnishings, personal electric buggies and impeccable service courtesy of Mr./Ms. Friday private butlers.


Highlights include the open-air Cinema Paradiso, a home-made chocolate and ice cream parlour, a high-tech Observatory, a manta ray shaped children’s Den and the spectacular Treetop Dining Pod.


About Soneva in Aqua

Soneva in Aqua, the pioneering new concept from Soneva Resorts and Residences, is now sailing from its flagship resort, Soneva Fushi in the Maldives. Soneva in Aqua elevates the guest experience by offering the option of a boat villa, which combines all the benefits of this iconic resort’s services with the freedom and exclusivity associated with a private boat charter.


An ultra-luxury and highly refined yacht, Soneva in Aqua measures 19.25 metres in length and 6.40 metres in width, with exceptionally spacious interiors. The onboard crew comprises a captain, a first officer, a Mr Friday butler, a Sous Chef, an interior steward and therapist, as well as a diving host and astronomer (on request).  Guests can charter the boat for one to seven nights and explore the untouched beauty of flung Maldivian atolls.


The two-cabin yacht combines Soneva’s iconic barefoot luxury with a sense of freedom and exclusivity of a private boat charter, while being at the price-point of a two-bedroom villa at Soneva Fushi.


For more information, contact:

Carissa Crowley
Communications Director

Soneva Resorts, Residences & Spas
19/F Two Pacific Place, 142 Sukhumvit Rd., Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Tel: 66 (0) 2631 9624 Fax: 66 (0) 2631 9699 Email: