I hope you stay safe and well in your lockdown wherever that may be.

As the saying goes “we are living in interesting times”, our world has been turned upside down but we have the opportunity to come together to remake it into something positive, something even better than before.

The Corona virus hasn’t yet reached Ilha De Mozambique but the pandemic is already having a negative impact on our business, on the lives of our employees and everyone else that we interact with every day. A state of emergency. It’s something we could never have imagined.

Ilha Blue has embarked on a strategy to keep our people safe, to use this time to create new experiences and to imagine and create the future we want – more women in our workforce, leadership on environmental issues, new more transformative travel offerings and increased connectivity with our global network of friends/volunteers/travellers

It’s time for a shot of optimism, and we invite you to join in.

We are going to begin by building a very special place. This was something we decided on long before the pandemic but to be honest we seriously thought of putting it on hold, now we’ve decided its better we press ahead and shine a light for others. So, an enormous amount of restoration and renovation is taking place to transform our ruin into a space that’s multi-faceted: kitchen, bathrooms, café lounge, room that can double up for meetings, art activity, presentations, classes and all round creativity. When finished, it will be a focal point as much for our workforce as it is for local community members and travellers wanting to settle in for a bit of social immersion.

Building developments on Video

Women’s Empowerment project

Through creation of an activity hub with women at the heart we’ll make a social space that is welcoming and attractive to young women. More detail in the next newsletter.

Environmental leadership

We are going to start with a project that is not so controversial, one made easy because we already have the boats and other resources we need, and most importantly, a project from which we can lever maximum awareness and use it to drive positive impact.

Right in front of the Palace, beneath the waves lies a beautiful underwater world with incredible coral, all types of fish and a very impressive population of nudibranchs, it even has regular visits from endangered humpback dolphins. I can’t believe that any other city beach in the world has so much wonderful nature going on and all within a very small area. But it’s under lots of pressure from pollution, destructive fishing with nets, inappropriate activities like jetskis – total neglect.

So, it’s our plan to show this marine world a little love, by cleaning up the seabed and showcasing its wonders to local officials and the business community who probably have no idea its even there. We are already involved in discussions about supporting a local business to maintain the area, earning an income through guided snorkelling activities for tourists and local school kids. We picture it as a recreational zone marked by buoys, with safe swimming and amenities that are open to everyone. A great cause that everyone can get on board to support.

Networking, our connected world

Ilha Blue would be nothing without our networks, in the year ahead we hope to expand them even further. Already we have regular contact with travellers, it is our business after all, but we also connect with artists, academics, activists and professionals from all fields, particularly environmental science. It’s how we stay inspired and a way to benefit from other people’s skills, knowledge and  passion for what they do while at the same time sharing a little of ourselves, all for the greater good. Once its safe to travel again we will resume our volunteer program of course, as well as our “Travelhadores”; industry exchanges that enable our workers to develop professionally by visiting and learning from other tourism businesses in Mozambique. We want to stay connected, so please, talk to us and send your friends.

New escapes

When all of this is over we predict that people will be in no hurry to return to where they were before. Having experienced life beyond the rat race and gained a new appreciation of what’s really important to them, many people will be setting more ambitious personal goals. Travel will become more connected, experiences longer, deeper and more transformative.

We are working on this, building our capacity so that we can add more open itineraries where the travellers feel free to follow their dreams. It’s a work in progress, and always will be.  Over the coming months we will be posting some videos of places nearby, places accessible only by dhow, places to wet your appetite for escape and adventure.

Stay safe

P.