In partnership with the Rowing Association of the Maldives and Rowing The World, a rowing travel tour operator, the Development Tour will pilot rowing tourism as a means to support the emerging local rowing programme. The Tour will run from 7 to 16 February 2015, offering 12 rowers plus several non-rowers the opportunity to experience these tropical islands in a way that no-one else has before. 

FISA has helped nurture the re-introduction of coastal rowing to the Maldives which have brought social and health benefits to the local community, especially for young women.  Generous donors have provided the equipment and volunteer coaches have developed programmes and introduced regattas.  However, long term sustainability requires funding.  Tourism has been pinpointed as one way to assist through the rental of the boats and the training of local guides. The Development Tour will lay the groundwork for future rowing trips in the Maldives. This approach also has the potential to be applied to other tourist locations that have emerging rowing programmes.

Guin Batten, FISA's Rowing For All Commission Chair, has spearheaded this initiative.  Batten has been working to develop rowing in the Maldives since 2010 and was the first person to row the 60km Zero Degree Crossing between the Maldives' Vadhoo Island and Fuamulak Island. Batten will lead the Development Tour and is eager to have the rowers work as a team to achieve the Zero Degree Channel crossing of the Equator, if conditions allow. This has only ever been done once by Batten. 

Rowing in the Maldives © Guin Batten © FISA

 “This is a really exciting opportunity to support the local rowing programme, and to bring rowers together from around the world to share in the beauty and extremes of one of the most remotest parts of the world," says Batten. "The Maldives rowing programme is at a critical stage of growth and the tour is an important opportunity for a community where there is limited youth employment. The tour will be both a learning experience and an adventure. We are looking for rowers with a passion for the sea and the people of the Maldives to join the group.”

Further information about the tour can be found at: http://www.rowingtheworld.com/trips/maldives-rowing-in-paradise/ .  The registration application process opens on 17 September and closes on 15 October, 2014.  Participants for the FISA Development Tour – Maldives 2015 will be announced shortly after.

For further information, please contact Ruth Marr, President, Rowing The World.  ruth@rowingtheworld.com +1-204-995-3496