Home / Seychelles / In Seychelles, nature is prized above mass tourism

In Seychelles, nature is prized above mass tourism

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”In a shady patch along a pristine white beach on Mahe Island, a radio spits out reggae and snapper sizzles on the barbecue, as Seychelloise Nareen tops up her rum and coke on time off from her job aboard a luxury yacht.” data-reactid=”31″>In a shady patch along a pristine white beach on Mahe Island, a radio spits out reggae and snapper sizzles on the barbecue, as Seychelloise Nareen tops up her rum and coke on time off from her job aboard a luxury yacht.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Her family is spending the weekend at the beach where a couple dipping their feet into the turquoise waters off in the distance are the only foreign tourists in sight.” data-reactid=”32″>Her family is spending the weekend at the beach where a couple dipping their feet into the turquoise waters off in the distance are the only foreign tourists in sight.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”We don’t have mass tourism in Seychelles, and that’s great. That is how we want it, says Nareen, 32, who asked for her full name not to be published.

” data-reactid=”33″>”We don’t have mass tourism in Seychelles, and that’s great. That is how we want it,” says Nareen, 32, who asked for her full name not to be published.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Nevertheless, like most citizens, she earns her living from tourism, which makes up more than 60 percent of GDP in the Seychelles, the only country in Africa considered high income by the World Bank.” data-reactid=”34″>Nevertheless, like most citizens, she earns her living from tourism, which makes up more than 60 percent of GDP in the Seychelles, the only country in Africa considered “high income” by the World Bank.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”The Indian Ocean archipelago, a chain of 115 islands, is a byword for luxury holidays, Instagram-perfect beaches and has gained a reputation as a honeymoon idyll.” data-reactid=”35″>The Indian Ocean archipelago, a chain of 115 islands, is a byword for luxury holidays, Instagram-perfect beaches and has gained a reputation as a honeymoon idyll.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”But it is confronting a tug-of-war over how to keep the economy growing, while protecting its fragile ecosystem.” data-reactid=”36″>But it is confronting a tug-of-war over how to keep the economy growing, while protecting its fragile ecosystem.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”More tourists means it’s better for the economy, but it’s not the only thing that comes into play, Nareen says.” data-reactid=”37″>”More tourists means it’s better for the economy, but it’s not the only thing that comes into play,” Nareen says.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”- One island, one resort -” data-reactid=”38″>- One island, one resort –

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”High-end tourism, from Europe mainly, helped pull the Seychelles from the brink of financial ruin after the 2008 economic crisis.” data-reactid=”39″>High-end tourism, from Europe mainly, helped pull the Seychelles from the brink of financial ruin after the 2008 economic crisis.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Visitor numbers almost doubled in the decade that followed, to around 360,000 in 2018, nearly four times the country’s population.” data-reactid=”40″>Visitor numbers almost doubled in the decade that followed, to around 360,000 in 2018, nearly four times the country’s population.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”But now the Seychelles is grappling with how many visitors it can realistically accommodate. An official study commissioned into the matter is due to begin soon.

” data-reactid=”41″>But now the Seychelles is grappling with how many visitors it can realistically accommodate. An official study commissioned into the matter is due to begin soon.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”In the meantime, the government placed a moratorium in 2015 on the construction of large resorts on the three main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.” data-reactid=”42″>In the meantime, the government placed a moratorium in 2015 on the construction of large resorts on the three main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”It wanted both to protect the environment and encourage the growth of smaller, locally-run hotels.” data-reactid=”43″>It wanted both to protect the environment and encourage the growth of smaller, locally-run hotels.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”On further-flung islands, the Seychelles practises a one island, one resort policy.” data-reactid=”44″>On further-flung islands, the Seychelles practises a “one island, one resort” policy.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”It’s about controlling the number of tourists that come here, through controlling the number of rooms in the hotels that exist, Tourism Minister Didier Dogley told AFP.” data-reactid=”45″>”It’s about controlling the number of tourists that come here, through controlling the number of rooms in the hotels that exist,” Tourism Minister Didier Dogley told AFP.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”The Seychelles has 6,000 hotel rooms, but another 3,000 are in the pipeline, having been approved before the moratorium took effect, Dogley said.” data-reactid=”46″>The Seychelles has 6,000 hotel rooms, but another 3,000 are in the pipeline, having been approved before the moratorium took effect, Dogley said.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”We believe that we can go up to 500,000 tourists, that is just an estimate for the time being, he said.” data-reactid=”47″>”We believe that we can go up to 500,000 tourists, that is just an estimate for the time being,” he said.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”- World heritage -” data-reactid=”48″>- World heritage –

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Nearly half of the Seychelles 455 square kilometres (176 square miles) are classed as protected areas.” data-reactid=”49″>Nearly half of the Seychelles 455 square kilometres (176 square miles) are classed as protected areas.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”By later this year, 30 percent of its 1.3 million square km of marine territory will have protected status too, under a special arrangement in which conservation groups agree in return to pay a small portion of Seychelles‘ national debt.

” data-reactid=”50″>By later this year, 30 percent of its 1.3 million square km of marine territory will have protected status too, under a special arrangement in which conservation groups agree in return to pay a small portion of Seychelles‘ national debt.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”The country has two UNESCO world heritage sites: the Mai Valley and its indigenous coco de mer palm trees, and the Aldabra Atoll, home to the Seychelles‘ famed giant tortoises.” data-reactid=”51″>The country has two UNESCO world heritage sites: the Mai Valley and its indigenous coco de mer palm trees, and the Aldabra Atoll, home to the Seychelles‘ famed giant tortoises.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”With a few exceptions such as the popular Beau Vallon Beach on Mahe or Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue, regularly named one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, tranquility reigns on the islands.” data-reactid=”52″>With a few exceptions such as the popular Beau Vallon Beach on Mahe or Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue, regularly named one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, tranquility reigns on the islands.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Most beachside resorts keep a low profile, blending into the jungle backdrop that reaches into the island’s interior from the white sands bordering the azure shores.” data-reactid=”53″>Most beachside resorts keep a low profile, blending into the jungle backdrop that reaches into the island’s interior from the white sands bordering the azure shores.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”It all depends on the standards that you want to maintain, said Nirmal Shah, executive director of environmental NGO Nature Seychelles.” data-reactid=”54″>”It all depends on the standards that you want to maintain,” said Nirmal Shah, executive director of environmental NGO Nature Seychelles.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”He believes that some of the more popular sites have already reached their full capacity.” data-reactid=”55″>He believes that some of the more popular sites have already reached their full capacity.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”The Seychelles, he said, really do not want to become an eyesore like some beaches in Europe, crowded by umbrellas and edged by concrete.” data-reactid=”56″>The Seychelles, he said, “really do not want to become” an eyesore like some beaches in Europe, crowded by umbrellas and edged by concrete.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”- Room to improve -” data-reactid=”57″>- Room to improve –

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”On Grand Police, in the south of Mahe island, locals have been angered by a Gulf company’s plans to build a new resort, approved before the 2015 ban.” data-reactid=”58″>On Grand Police, in the south of Mahe island, locals have been angered by a Gulf company’s plans to build a new resort, approved before the 2015 ban.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”The project is unpopular over concerns about the health of a local marshland but also because most large resorts are owned by foreign groups.” data-reactid=”59″>The project is unpopular over concerns about the health of a local marshland but also because most large resorts are owned by foreign groups.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”The government has promised to talk to those behind the new resort to explore how the proposal could be dropped.” data-reactid=”60″>The government has promised to talk to those behind the new resort to explore how the proposal could be dropped.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Despite environmental pledges and efforts, Dogley said that much still had to be done in Seychelles to ensure a sustainable tourism industry.” data-reactid=”61″>Despite environmental pledges and efforts, Dogley said that much still had to be done in Seychelles to ensure a sustainable tourism industry.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Large hotel groups have put measures in place to limit their impact on the environment, such as having their own vegetable gardens and reducing plastic and energy use.” data-reactid=”62″>Large hotel groups have put measures in place to limit their impact on the environment, such as having their own vegetable gardens and reducing plastic and energy use.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Smaller, Seychellois-owned establishments, though not leaving the same ecological footprint, sometimes lack the resources to match these efforts, despite government incentives.” data-reactid=”67″>Smaller, Seychellois-owned establishments, though not leaving the same ecological footprint, sometimes lack the resources to match these efforts, despite government incentives.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Given our small population, the number of tourists is huge, and it is difficult to absorb the footprint of so many visitors, said Shah.” data-reactid=”68″>”Given our small population, the number of tourists is huge, and it is difficult to absorb the footprint of so many visitors,” said Shah.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”More than a quarter of the workforce is foreign, he pointed out, especially in the tourism and construction industries — unemployment is only around 3.5 percent.

” data-reactid=”69″>More than a quarter of the workforce is foreign, he pointed out, especially in the tourism and construction industries — unemployment is only around 3.5 percent.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”The tourism industry faces other constraints, too.” data-reactid=”70″>The tourism industry faces other constraints, too.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”The small, hilly country is forced to import more than 90 percent of its goods, and most of the energy needed to keep the islands running is derived from oil-powered generators.” data-reactid=”71″>The small, hilly country is forced to import more than 90 percent of its goods, and most of the energy needed to keep the islands running is derived from oil-powered generators.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Still, the pursuit of eco-friendly growth over profit alone has struck a chord with some visitors.” data-reactid=”72″>Still, the pursuit of eco-friendly growth over profit alone has struck a chord with some visitors.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”We didn’t know much about the ecological side of tourism in the Seychelles..

. but once here, it really hit us, says Romain Tonda, a 28-year-old French tourist on his honeymoon on Cousin Island, fringed by coral reef.

” data-reactid=”73″>”We didn’t know much about the ecological side of tourism in the Seychelles..

. but once here, it really hit us,” says Romain Tonda, a 28-year-old French tourist on his honeymoon on Cousin Island, fringed by coral reef.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”It’s not perfect, but we can see that it’s something that is important for the Seychellois.” data-reactid=”74″>”It’s not perfect, but we can see that it’s something that is important for the Seychellois.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Seychelles is confronting a tug-of-war over how to keep the economy growing, while protecting its fragile ecosystem” data-reactid=”75″>Seychelles is confronting a tug-of-war over how to keep the economy growing, while protecting its fragile ecosystem

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Nearly half of the Seychelles 455 square kilometres (176 square miles) are classed as protected areas” data-reactid=”76″>Nearly half of the Seychelles 455 square kilometres (176 square miles) are classed as protected areas

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Nirmal Shah, executive director of environmental NGO Nature Seychelles, says that it is difficult to absorb the footprint of so many visitors” data-reactid=”77″>Nirmal Shah, executive director of environmental NGO Nature Seychelles, says that “it is difficult to absorb the footprint of so many visitors”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.

8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Tourism makes up more than 60 percent of GDP in the Seychelles, the only country in Africa considered high income by the World Bank” data-reactid=”78″>Tourism makes up more than 60 percent of GDP in the Seychelles, the only country in Africa considered “high income” by the World Bank

.