TOURISM ‘GREEN MASTERPLAN’ NOW ENTERING CONSULTATIVE STAGES
Information was received from Mahe over the weekend, that the new ‘green’ tourism masterplan, which is presently being developed, will go into the public consultative stages with a major public forum planned on the 18th of July at the International Conference Centre.
While a great deal of work has already gone into the draft document, with input from a cross section of experts coming from the tourism industry but also other sectors, society at large is now called upon to read the draft document and then make suggestions and recommendations to be taken on board by the ‘drafters’ before a final version is then launched later in the year.
The new tourism master plan is due to set the course and direction the industry is supposed to take over the next 10 years, with regular performance reviews in between to make adjustments, should that be found necessary. Tourism is together with the fishing industry and trade the main component of the archipelago’s economy and the sector has managed to translate global visibility into business success, as the country is posting new record figures for the first half of 2011 in terms of tourism arrivals. Several high profile campaigns to promote the islands, from ‘The Big Five to the Best Five’, over ‘Affordable Seychelles’ to ‘Seychelles – Another World’ has captured the imagination of travel publications and travelers alike. More airline connections have put the archipelago ‘just one stop away’ from most global destinations, and the recent addition of a third weekly flight by Kenya Airways from the African mainland is thought to be just a precursor for yet more flights, not just connecting Nairobi with Mahe but soon from other key African cities too.
The major turnaround of the Seychelles’ fortunes since the global economic and financial crisis however has also made it necessary to formulate a new masterplan to guide the growth of the sector while keeping ambitious targets in line with overall sustainability. The country will shortly expand the size of its protected areas to over 50 percent of the archipelago, giving notice that environmental protection and maintaining biodiversity has to go hand in hand with tourism developments along at times critically sensitive coastal areas. This unique approach sets the Seychelles apart from many of her competitors in the world tourism market where ‘development’ is promoted at almost any cost, while in the Seychelles the long term impact and sustainability ranks top on the agenda.
Watch this space.