CNN’s ‘Reconnect Maldives’ explores cultural traditions, culinary secrets and an unrivaled underwater kingdom

A week of special coverage airs Dec 6-10 with a 30-minute program airing Dec 11

HONG KONG, Dec. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Maldives’ world-class resorts invite visitors to bask in the sun, sand and sea. But beyond hotel shores lies a country brimming with cultural traditions, culinary secrets and an unrivaled underwater kingdom. This month, in a 30-minute special, CNN’s Reconnect Maldives goes beyond the familiar to connect with this island nation, through diving, deep-sea fishing and dance while celebrating the people who make the Maldives more than just a picture-perfect place. 

CNN’s ‘Reconnect Maldives’ explores cultural traditions, culinary secrets and an unrivaled underwater kingdom
CNN’s ‘Reconnect Maldives’ explores cultural traditions, culinary secrets and an unrivaled underwater kingdom

With ninety-nine percent of the Maldives’ surface covered by water, it is no surprise that this ocean nation harbors some of the world’s richest marine biodiversity. CNN visits the Baa Atoll, catching a boat ride with Beth Faulkner, who leads a team of researchers at the Manta Trust, a conservation charity researching the world’s largest manta ray population. Based in the north-western part of the country at the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, the team’s work so far has helped lead to legal habitat protection for mantas, and their inclusion on the Maldivian National Protected Species List.

The resort also partners with Reefscapers, a world leader in coral conservation. As one of the largest coral propagation facilities of their type in the world, they have planted over half a million pieces of coral over the 20 years that they have been in the Maldives. Simon Dixon, Marine Discovery Centre Manager for the Reefscapers shares the restoration process and how resort guests can be a part of it.

Diving into deeper waters, CNN meets up with Zoona Naseem, the Maldives’ first woman to be certified as a course director by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors – an impressive status only achieved by about a thousand people worldwide. For over 18 years, she worked as an instructor in hotels across the country. But eventually, she found a different calling: opening Moodhu Bulhaa Dive Centre, a dive school for primarily women and children, aimed at helping them learn to love the ocean.

The Maldives is just as bustling above ground as it is below sea – thanks to a centuries-old tradition called boduberu, usually performed by men. Aishath Hishma is a founding member of boduberu group Faiymini. Like most troupes, they perform at religious festivals, celebrations and community gatherings, but one major difference sets Faiymini apart from the rest – they are the only females performing as a group now in Malé. They hope to inspire other girls to join them.

Maldivian waters aren’t just a sight to behold – they’re also the most important source of food. But if fish is at the core of this cuisine, then local traditions are the secret ingredient. Chef Mohamed Adil is on a mission to revive Maldivian cuisine through the five restaurants he oversees at Dhigali, a resort in the Raa Atoll. His menus often include traditional recipes that rely on traditional methods such as pole and line fishing rather than the commercial use of nets.

Reconnect Maldives trailer: https://bit.ly/337TvFJ 
Reconnect Maldives images: https://bit.ly/3Gj4xGn 

Airtimes for 30-minute special:
Saturday, December 11 at 2:00pm HKT
Sunday, December 12 at 1:30am, 12:00pm and 7:00pm HKT
Monday, December 13 at 6:30am HKT

About CNN International 

CNN’s portfolio of news and information services is available in seven different languages across all major TV, digital and mobile platforms, reaching more than 475 million households around the globe. CNN International is the number one international TV news channel according to all major media surveys across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the Asia Pacific region, and Latin America and has a US presence that includes CNNgo. CNN Digital is a leading network for online news, mobile news and social media. CNN is at the forefront of digital innovation and continues to invest heavily in expanding its digital global footprint, with a suite of award-winning digital properties and a range of strategic content partnerships, commercialised through a strong data-driven understanding of audience behaviours. CNN has won multiple prestigious awards around the world for its journalism. Around 1,000 hours of long-form series, documentaries and specials are produced every year by CNNI’s non-news programming division. CNN has 36 editorial offices and more than 1,100 affiliates worldwide through CNN Newsource. CNN International is a WarnerMedia company.

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