The Seychelles National Botanical Gardens Foundation (NBGF) was created to develop, manage, maintain, and promote the growth of the country’s gardens. One of its functions is to promote the participation of the public in general in conservation work, with school children also as a core target.
In April last year, the foundation launched its first eco school holiday activities to encourage the use of the gardens as an outdoor classroom for learning. The foundation hoped that through these activities, students from kindergarten up to the post-secondary level can:
• explore and discover the different plants found in the gardens;
• enjoy and experience the importance of plants in our everyday life;
• understand the importance of plant protection and conservation; and
• provide a safe environment for children during the day while parents are at work.
The foundation also realized that few organizations cater to children during the school holidays, and, therefore, they designed a special program, which was both fun and educational. This year, Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort & Casino has agreed to be the Exclusive Partner of Foundation for the Eco School Holiday Program. Berjaya Resort is an established tourism establishment, which has been in Seychelles since 1994 and is currently one of the main players in the island’s tourism industry. Berjaya Resort says openly that it is championing the Seychelles eco-tourism initiative.
The launching of the partnership and signing of an MOU between Berjaya Resort and the foundation was held on Monday, April 23, 2012 at 11:30 am at the Botanical Gardens on the island of Mahe.
Minister Rolph Payet, Minister of Environment & Energy; Minister Alain St.Ange, Minister of Tourism & Culture; Minister Macsuzy Mondon, Minister of Education; and Ambassador Maurise Loustau Lalanne, Principle Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Foundation – NBGF; was in attendance to witness the signing of the MOU.
Ken Choo, General Manager of Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort & Casino, said as he addressed the invited guests and school children gathered at the Botanical Gardens for the occasion:
“There are several reasons why Berjaya is signing an MOU with NBGF today. Firstly, we support NBGF’s excellent initiative for developing a school Eco Holiday Program for students. Learning about our eco system is fundamental to appreciating what Seychelles has to offer to the world. This initiative forms part of our resort’s support for [the] Seychelles Tourism Board’s (STB) Sustainable Tourism Label Project. Private-public sector, smart partnership initiatives, such as this, provide the exchange of ideas, which are mutually beneficial to both parties.
“NBGF has the expertise and knowledge, which can be beneficial for us hotels to develop our Sustainable Tourism Label Project and the promotion of eco tourism. I thank Mr. Raymond A. Brioche, Chief Executive Officer of NBGF, and his team for their sincere efforts to make us feel welcome in this smart partnership initiative. I [would] also like to thank Minister Rolph Payet, who supports our partnership.
“Secondly, the tourism trade is taking very aggressive steps in our efforts into promoting Seychelles to the Chinese. Not all Chinese goes for purely sun and sea. There are many who would enjoy a visit to the Gardens. The Botanical Gardens is the ‘green lung’ of Victoria and has plentiful of good Chi (life energy). That is why exercise, such as Tai Chi, is practiced in many gardens around the world by the Chinese. I see the Seychelles Botanical Gardens as one of the potential venues that we in the tourism industry could market to the Chinese.
“Thirdly, Berjaya plans to work in partnership with STB (under the Ministry of Tourism) and NBGF (under the Ministry of Environment) to develop a Chinese language brochure for the Gardens. Leaflets of the Garden can be made available at our hotel lobbies. Cross-selling of our products benefits both parties. We need to identify specific locations such as the Gardens as part of a tourism diversification plan of what Seychelles has to offer. The development of new multi-language leaflets shall be beneficial to tourist who visits the Gardens 365 days a year, and it shall also boost the Garden’s global competitiveness.”