RESPONSIBLE TOURISM: MAKING THE CASE FOR SMALL ISLANDS

[Roche Caiman, 4 June 2009] In an enthusiastic response to a worldwide call for responsible tourism, the Seychelles chapter of the Worldwide Day for Responsible Tourism was launched with a great deal of interest from sector players, government and conservationists alike on June 2, 2009.

The event held in the Grand Hall of Eden Island was graced by the Vice President of Seychelles, Mr. Joseph Belmont. Other invitees who enthusiastically turned up were Members of the National Assembly including Mr. Waven William, the Chair of the National Assembly’s International Affairs Committee, Mr. Joe Morin, Executive Chairman of PUC, Managing Directors of tourism firms including Mr. Alain Mason of Masons Travel, NGOs, Wildlife Clubs and members of the press.

Nature Seychelles, a charter Member of the International  Coalition for Responsible Tourism, and the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), organized this event in collaboration with the Public Utilities Co (PUC) and Eden island. Worldwide events and celebrations are promoted  by the International  Coalition for Responsible Tourism and were held at the same time in other countries under the banner of this year's theme Tourism and Water Resources.

Nirmal Shah, the  CEO of Nature  Seychelles said that the main objective of the Day  for Seychelles “is to promote

Nature Seychelles CEO Nirmal Shah in an interview on the launch

Responsible Tourism to the trade and to local people, to bring together the conservation and tourism community and to partner in responsible tourism projects and programmes.” Mr. Alain St. Ange the Director of  Marketing at STB, insists that Seychelles has all the elements of Responsible Tourism at hand. “We need to showcase the fact” he said.

Mr. Stephen Rousseau , the  Managing Director of PUC Water and Sewerage presented an overview of demand and supply of potable water in Seychelles. Whilst demand was growing, supply, despite many PUC projects, could not keep pace. He therefore encouraged the responsible use and management of water in tourism establishments.

Seychelles is well on the way to adopting a Sustainable Tourism label through a project financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which would be an excellent entry point for promoting Responsible Tourism.

In an interview with SBC TV Shah said that Seychelles had a great competitive advantage in responsible tourism. “As an environment manager, I can really say we can sell this honestly and responsibly”  he closed with a smile.

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