Sus­tain­able Travel … to the Sey­chelles

Premier Magazine (South AFrica) - - Contents - Text & Im­age © Sup­plied

Last year was of­fi­cially des­ig­nated as the In­ter­na­tional Year of Sus­tain­able Tourism for De­vel­op­ment by the United Na­tions. This was done in or­der to raise global aware­ness about re­spon­si­ble tourism.

Now, here we are in 2018, and global cam­paigns like #Strawssuck and #Ban­the­bag are in full swing, and, ac­cord­ing to Book­ing.com, 65% of trav­ellers want ecofriendly ac­com­mo­da­tion. Ho­tels, re­sorts, cruise lines, and air­lines have pledged to phase out their plas­tic con­sump­tion, while en­tire cities like Mumbai, and coun­tries like Kenya, have im­ple­mented com­plete bans on plas­tic.

One eco-friendly des­ti­na­tion that is lead­ing by ex­am­ple in sus­tain­able tourism is the Sey­chelles.

Tucked away in the In­dian Ocean, this na­tion con­sist­ing of 115 is­lands con­tin­ues to level up with on­go­ing sus­tain­abil­ity ini­tia­tives. It was on the ball well be­fore the of­fi­cial year of sus­tain­able tourism, ban­ning plas­tic bags, cups, cut­lery, and Sty­ro­foam pack­ag­ing in 2016 al­ready, while the Tourism Min­istry of the Sey­chelles started crack­ing down on large ho­tel de­vel­op­ments for their prac­tises that harmed the en­vi­ron­ment.

What about plas­tic straws in the Sey­chelles? Re­tail­ers have been given un­til Jan­uary 2019 to dis­con­tinue the sup­ply.

This year, North Is­land won gold at the African Re­spon­si­ble Tourism awards, while De­nis Is­land is set to be­come the green­est, most sus­tain­able is­land in the Sey­chelles – the is­land re­cently im­ple­mented the first of a four-phase pho­to­voltaic so­lar power sys­tem to re­duce de­pen­dency on fos­sil fu­els.

The Sey­chelles has a vast num­ber of nat­u­ral as­sets: pris­tine beaches, trop­i­cal forests, moun­tains, and wa­ter­falls. The bio­di­ver­sity of the is­lands can be ac­cessed through its many pro­tected ar­eas, and the lat­est pi­o­neer­ing marine con­ser­va­tion ap­proach is the first ever “debt-for-na­ture swap”. This am­bi­tious project – en­sured with the help of The Na­ture Con­ser­vancy NGO, and world-fa­mous ac­tor and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist, Leonardo Di­caprio – aims to es­tab­lish two new pro­tected ar­eas in ex­change for some of the na­tional debt of the Sey­chelles. These new marine parks are set to cover a to­tal sur­face area of just over 200,000 km², roughly the size of Great Bri­tain.

If you are a glo­be­trot­ter look­ing for your next sus­tain­able hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion, or are sim­ply crav­ing a well-de­served beach break, there is no rea­son why you can­not tick off both with a trip to the Sey­chelles. There are few places in the world where you can take a 30-minute hike to dis­cover breath­tak­ing views and en­demic flora and fauna, then an­other 30 min­utes later, find your­self in the wa­ter among green tur­tles, rays, and charis­matic crus­taceans.

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