Seychelles is blessed with one of the most beautiful environments. The Seychellois people live, work, play, and invest in this most beautiful environment. Seychelles welcomes some 250,000 tourists per year, and when analyzing the fact that these islands only have a total population of some 90,000, it brings out that Seychelles is today welcoming over two-and-a-half times the number of visitors to its total population. When one looks at the working population or the productive workforce of the islands, it stands at about 45,000. The total visitor numbers is today well over 5 times the island’s workforce.
Seychelles has been fortunate to have leaders in the tourism sector who believe in their country and in preserving what these islands have been blessed with. The government of Seychelles is also managing this key industry with a vision for them to be remembered as good custodians of what Seychelles has been blessed with.
This is why in Madrid at a discussion panel on the question that touched sustainable tourism, Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, said that Seychelles was conscious that its sustainable tourism approach was the way to go. The Seychelles Minister, when questioned by Stephen Sacqur of the Hard Talk BBC program, said that currently Seychelles was carrying out a detailed Land Use Plan and a comprehensive carrying capacity to ensure that the tourism development of the Seychelles was one that could be sustained for the long term. A further question by the BBC journalist brought the Minister to further state that following the carrying capacity study, Seychelles would be in a position to cap the construction of its large hotels and in so doing cap the arrival figures.
“We want to be seen to be good custodians of what we have been blessed with,” said Minister St.Ange who went on to say that the Seychelles government wanted to ensure that the key USPs that continue to attract visitors to Seychelles, i.e., the white sandy beaches that are clean, the turquoise blue seas that are clean and clear, the rich and diverse culture, and the protected nature of the islands where today 52% of the total land is listed as protected nature parks, would still be there in the future and be in the same state as they are today.
The people of Seychelles and the tourism trade as a whole have been saying that it was time for the government to relook at the growth in hotel beds, and this is today why a comprehensive carrying capacity for the islands is being undertaken as the government also looks at the product side of things through a classification or hotel grading process. The product side will look at the tourism establishments and at the country as a whole, inclusive of the cost of operations as this also has a direct effect on the Seychelles product.
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP).