A conservation-based business model at our core

Wakatobi Resort has always been about more than just a great diving experience. From day one, our mission was to create a sustainable business model that would combine a superior guest experience with a source of funding to establish and maintain an environmentally and culturally sound conservation program. To this end we founded the Wakatobi Collaborative Reef Conservation Program, which is now one of the world’s largest privately-funded marine protected areas.

Wakatobi reef, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia

Committed to Protection, Education, and Sustainability

Wakatobi Resort has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most proactive eco-tourism resorts and has won numerous awards for operating the most conservation-minded tourism operator in the Asia-Pacific region. Based on the success of our programs, we now work with PADI’s Project AWARE to advise operators worldwide on programs and procedures that protect and enhance the marine ecosystem.

The goal of Wakatobi Resort’s conservation efforts are not just the mitigation of environmental impact caused by human activity, but to halt and actually reverse these impacts. Thanks to these efforts, we have been able to halt destructive fishing methods and unregulated exploitation of the area’s coral reefs and estuaries. Over the course of two decades, we have helped instill a newfound sense of ecological stewardship within the local community, which has led to marked improvements in the quality of the resort surroundings, seagrass beds and reefs.

Wakatobi Resort is proud of its efforts to counter destructive trends, to give back to the local communities, and to pioneer a lasting and mutually-beneficial cooperative conservation program. Here’s are some of the ways that Wakatobi Resort works to protect and preserve the reefs and the ocean environment:

Wakatobi Resort Actions

  • Implements strict rules to minimize divers impact. All guests sign a dive conduct agreement prior to diving, and non-compliance leads to exclusion from diving without refund
  • Installs and maintains moorings for dive operations
  • Conducts reef monitoring and cleaning when needed
  • All dive guides are fully committed to contribute towards conservation
  • Gives complete dive briefings by top notch senior dive instructors (with at least 2,000 dives) to enhance pleasure, increase knowledge, protect the marine environment
  • Sponsors regular marine biology and ecology presentations and discussions of the resort’s conservation programs
  • Offers village tours to further cultural understanding
  • Cleans a 1 km stretch of beach every day
  • Reduces, separates and recycles waste as much as possible
  • Treats wastewater in biological ways (microbiological decomposition under ideal conditions at 28 C/leach fields/other treatments to avoid nutrients entering the sea)
  • Uses local traditional skills to build and maintain the resort, sells locally produced products
  • Provides full-time employment to a workforce of about 100 locals, with equivalent salaries for men and women

Beyond the Ordinary

The marine reserve is just one of many unique social and environmental programs we’ve established over years. In addition to conservation efforts, our operation provides additional benefits to the community including:

  • Sponsoring electricity for the 500-person village on our resort island. This includes a 2 km power line to the village, transformers, electrical installations in every house and a 24 houe maintenance team. This is done in exchange for the villagers honoring a 3 km reef sanctuary on their traditional fishing grounds
  • Sponsoring waste management in the surrounding villages on the neighboring island
  • Sponsoring public moorings and harbor facilities to reduce anchor damage
  • Sponsoring public projects for all 17 villages in our subdistrict through the Collaborative Community-based Reef Management Program
  • Sponsoring area schools with education materials
  • Recognizing that the poorest need the most support to refrain from traditional but destructive practices such as reef gleaning. For this reason, we employ up to 50 widows to produce natural roof tiles made by sago palm leaves for use on the resort buildings. We alsowe sponsor scholarships for orphans
  • Sponsoring public sport events
  • Sponsoring public awareness meetings about conservation issues and employing staff to socialize conservation programs in all villages
  • Sponsoring a micro credit scheme for small businesses as an incentive for increased compliance with conservation standards
  • Sponsoring patrols of reefs and fishing areas performed by representatives of the local communities
  • Sponsoring reef patrols in the Wakatobi region conducted by police, military, and rangers

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“Barefoot Elegance. Exceeded all expectations! We were truly spoiled and enjoyed every minute. Wonderful food and staff. Our dive guide was fantastic. She showed us amazing things we never would have spotted… “Barefoot Elegance. Exceeded all expectations!”

Gary and Suzanne Chapman
,February 2023