Reunion, special in every way


(Posted 30th September 2014)

Last Friday did fourty two hotels, resorts and service providers receive Reunion’s coveted quality label QTIR, which was developed and enhanced over the years to give qualified businesses in the tourism industry a seal of approval visible for tourist visitors.

Strengthening quality is at the very core of Reunion Tourism’s endeavours to position the island as one of the world’s great exotic destinations, to raise demand and to ensure that visitors leave in the knowledge they have received value for money and are happy with their vacation time.

The quality label, established in 1996, some 18 years ago, was back then created as Reunion Quality Tourism, RQT a tailormade solution to award best practice and services, and by doing so encourage others to emulate the market leaders. This made way last year when the scheme rebranded to QTIR and overall are now 113 hotels, resorts, restaurants and businesses providing essential services for the tourism industry recognized to belong to this elite group. ‘Members’ are subject to renewal audits at regular intervals to be re-certified while new companies, meeting the extensive criteria, are admitted to the scheme at intervals.

Last Friday it was IRT’s President Patrick Serveaux who presided over the award ceremony, held at Lodge Roche Tamarin and handing over the certificates and plaques for display to those who made the cut.

The full list of QTIR members can be accessed via the island’s main portal

Meanwhile will Reunion join the rest of the maritime world when across the island the ‘World Maritime Day’ is being observed. As the whale watching season draws to a close this year has Reunion Tourism emphasized the responsible practices in use for ocean excursions by boat, an activity most visitors to the island favour, to see whales and dolphins, often in close vicinity of each other. In line with the guidelines of the International Maritime Organization’s recommendations are regulations in place to ensure that whales and dolphins, both mammals and not fish, are safe and suffer minimal disturbance when they are being observed.

Among these guidelines are requirements which must be met, such as that

· the launch of swimmers with marine mammals in the presence of more than three boats, is tantamount to deliberate disturbance;

· speed boats must be adapted to the approach and departure when in an area where marine mammals are seen

The regulations, or charter in place, goes as far as certifying companies and guides, as reported here before, which meet all the various criteria vis a vis responsible ocean activities when near whales and dolphins.

Along the principles of this charter did Reunion add the Label Observation Certified Manager of Cetaceans in Reunion (O²CR). The aim of the label is to provide a sustainable framework of this activity, which does not affect cetaceans. The label also aims to help educate the general public about the safeguards taken for the marine environment.

Reunion Island is part of the thirty-four hot spots of global biodiversity.

Created in 2007, the Marine Nature Reserve of Reunion seeks to reconcile human activities, over seventy uses in total, and the preservation of coral reefs, to preserve the remarkable biodiversity as truly natural heritage of which the island can be proud of. The reserve extends over 40 km of coastline, including 20 km of coral reef, from Cap La Houssaye in Saint Paul to the Roche aux Oiseaux at Etang-Salé. This protected ecosystem is home to some of the most biologically rich waters around the island, an eco diversity hotspot of global importance, with more than 3,500 species on record..

Plans are underway to create a whale watching route and an eco-tourism circuit between the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands, which when coming to fruition are expected to boost whale watching and disseminate good practice of responsible tourism in the Indian Ocean.

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