Shangri-La, Viti Levu, Fiji*
Shangri-La is a large family-oriented resort designed for activities and engagement – the Shangri-La Marine Education Center (SMEC) is one space where families can connect. Two full-time staff and a museum facility, subsedized by per=patron environmental fees, make room for locals and tourists alike to learn about Fiji’s coastal ecologies. They sponsor local mangrove kayak tours, school group visits, and fish house building (for a fee). Recent complications with local tribal politics have made the nearby qoliqoli no longer taboo/tabu.
MERC & Gayana Eco Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia*
Gayana’s onsite Marine Ecology Research Center (MERC) is a conservation center that raises coral fragments and giant clams, both of which have suffered regional depletion and degradation. MERC is a full-service conservation center with a theatre, public restoration workshop space, private research facility, and small, well-managed aquarium. Non-patrons can still visit for a fee, or book the space for the Marine Biologist for a Day birthday/visitor program. Patrons can sponsor a coral and plant their fragment in concrete pucks. Local dive site quality is reasonable, and the dive shop staff take initiative in developing & maintaining their small artificial reefs.
Misool Eco Resort, Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Located within its own no-take Marine Protected Area, itself within the Raja Ampat Shark and Manta Sanctuary, Misool goes above and beyond to engage local residents in the protection of Indonesia’s reefs. It comes at a cost, though certainly not pushing industry limits: the daily package without diving at Misool is almost four times the full-package price of dive resorts in Mabul ($400/night minimum). Financially and socially, the resort encourages repeat visitors and forming a relationship with the local reef. They manage and fund the local ranger patrol and dive guide training program, report manta data, and have developed local school infrastructure. Their Reef Restoration Project is a basic patron engagement project with lectures and replanting.
MarineSavers & Four Seasons, Maldives
Four Seasons Maldives funded a subsidiary group from local consultancy Seamarc to develop MarineSavers. The program exclusively aids the Four Season in local restoration and conservation projects, looking at coral conservation, turtle rehabilitation, ornamental fisheries, etc. Nearby Kandooma Resort also uses Seamarc for coral frame development.