Under the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Program, the workshop focused on how the Blue Economy can be integrated into the tourism industry, supporting the conservation of the ocean, a mission Seychelles has heavily invested in over the years.
Seychelles, with its limited landmass of only 450km2, has an exclusive economic zone of 1.4 million km2, highlighting how its mother ocean should play a crucial role in the structure and direction of the tourism industry.
One of the key points of the workshop emphasizes challenges related to tourism development such as the loss of biodiversity, pollution, resource consumption and changing socio-economic patterns. Although Seychelles’ tourism industry has increasingly become more sustainable in the recent decade, the workshop shed light on the likelihood of COVID19 responses being less sustainable due to their rapid implementation.
In his speech, Minister Radegonde states:
“Long gone are the days when tourism might have been viewed as a stand-alone entity…”
“ …oblivious to other economic activities and to the need for balanced, synergistic integration with other economic sectors, and with the dynamics of the fast-changing world in which we now live.”
He adds that “Blue Economy bottom line is to find the correct balance between conservation and socio-economic development. Ours is both a fragile economy and an equally fragile environment, neither of which can withstand under or over-exploitation of resources. From our national standpoint, implementing a Blue Economy can be employed to mitigate threats such as climate change, pollution, and overexploitation – all of which are increasingly impacting on our tourism – while providing innovative solutions for our nation’s socio-economic advancement.”
The One Planet Sustainable Tourism Program’s mission is to support integration of concrete and operational solutions towards more circular tourism value chains. Within the context of the COVID-19 crisis, the Program offers and promotes solutions that anchor the recovery on sustainability to underpin the resilience of the sector to future crises.
Forecasted to become one of the largest ocean economies by 2030, Seychelles has adopted Blue Economy since 2015, acknowledging its unique dependencies on oceans and their vulnerability to environmental and economic risks.