Tourist establishment in Seychelles supporting community initiatives in fight against climate change

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Seychelles, a tiny archipelago of 115 islands, has once again been featured worldwide. An international news channel has thrown the spotlight on how communities in Seychelles, including a tourist establishment, are working to mitigate and fight the effects of climate change.

The visit of a filming crew to the Indian Ocean islands earlier in May, has led to the production of three segments aired on Cable News Network (CNN)’s Inside Africa program. The first airing was on Friday, July 7.

The first two segments entitled Seychelles: 115 islands vs climate change and After the storm: How to rebuild a coral reef highlighted the threats of climate change to the islands, including changing weather patterns, coastal erosion and the effects of rising sea temperatures on the coral reefs.

The direct impacts of these occurrences on the lives and activities of the locals and several initiatives being conceived, including underwater coral gardening to help restore the reefs were also showcased. Augustin Desaubin — a local fisherman residing at Anse Forbans on the southern coast of the main island, Mahé, is one who got to compare the harvest of his fishing trips as a young boy and now that he is almost in his 50s.

In the third segment entitled Seychelles is making a difference, Inside Africa shows that it’s not only the government coming up with initiatives, but that ordinary citizens are also taking action to combat climate change.

Producers got to film work being done by the Cerf Island Conservation Program and the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles to clean the coastlines and rehabilitate the reefs. They also spoke to Lisa Laporte Booyse, the Marketing Manager of a local tourist establishment — Chalets d ‘Anse Forbans – who was inspired by such conservation efforts to join with people in her neighborhood to set up the Anse Forbans Community Conservation Program. The non-governmental organization, which was launched in February this year, is already working with other partners to develop its own coral restoration and wetland restoration programs as well as mapping out new hikes and trails for the local community and tourists.

Commenting on her appearance on the program, Mrs. Laporte Booyse explained that the international new channel had approached the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS) for community groups to discuss climate change effects on the environment and their livelihoods. The efforts of the various groups to educate tourists holidaying in the Seychelles about climate change, its effects on the archipelago and what is being done to mitigate the impacts were also featured in the program.

Mrs. Laporte Booyse who is also the Chairperson of the Anse Forbans Community Conservation Program said: “Such global reach impacts not only Chalets d’Anse Forbans exposure, but the Seychelles internationally. It has highlighted how communities are doing something to combat climate change, how the Chalets are a part of sustainable tourism, how they care for their environment and want to make a change.”

Chalets d’ Anse Forbans is a self-catering beach establishment built on a former coconut plantation. Boasting 12 beach chalets and 2 family chalets, the establishment owned by the Jumeau family has been in operation for 23 years. It is described as a quiet tourist area offering peace and tranquility to visitors also wanting to be in touch with nature.