Eco is the buzz word in world tourism travels, and expectations are intensifying on destinations expected to be considered serious in that area. The Seychelles leads the pack in many areas in the field of eco-tourism and conservation.
Mr. James Michel, the President of the Seychelles Republic, has been one of the strong advocates for protection of the environment, and he has been personally involved in having over 50% of the total land area of Seychelles declared as protected reserves. This is no easy feat for a small island nation, but the island’s President has said that his government will be seen as good custodians for the natural wonders the mid-ocean islands of the Seychelles has been blessed with.
President Michel has recently named Prof. Rolph Payet as the island’s Minister responsible for the Environment. The enthusiasm of this new Minister as an environmentalist will help ensure that the Seychelles remains the jewel it is today. Prof. Payet is an expert in climate change and the problems of small islands states and sea level rise. He is a frequent speaker at international forums and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for some of his works.
The Seychelles conservation approach was highlighted by their Tourism Minister in discussions with the press in Brazil. He went as far as to explain the importance being placed on not only protecting the environment, but also on the new regulations being implemented to right areas where the islands had moved in the field of development. The island of La Digue in the Seychelles group was cited as an example by Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture.
“The Seychelles government wants the islands to not only retain the spectacular natural beauty it has, but wants to also regain grounds of areas we allowed development to gain an upper hand,” the Seychelles Minister said.
Minister Alain St.Ange explained that one area that is now the focus of attention on La Digue is transport, and this includes cars and pickup trucks. He said that President James Michel of Seychelles is personally monitoring progress in this area, as the island would lose its charm if the number of petrol vehicles on the island were not tackled to make way for eco-friendly, battery-operated vehicles. The Seychelles government has already made necessary arrangements through Minister Pierre Laporte, the island’s Minister responsible for Finance, to encourage the La Digue island inhabitants to move to eco-friendly vehicles by removing all duty on such imports.
“The Minister responsible for Transport, Minister Joel Morgan is working on the details and time tables for this move, and it is believed that this move is set to make La Digue island even more eco-friendly than it is today,” the island’s Tourism Minister said when answering questions from the press.
Seychelles believes that such moves as will be taking place with petrol vehicles on La Digue will enhance the island’s tourism industry and safeguard the investments in tourism made by La Digue islanders themselves.
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP).