It is always nice to receive an award, but it is from an international organisation with a fantastic reputation worldwide it takes on a totally different dimension. The Conde Nast Traveler magazine, consistently voted by readers and critics to be the best travel magazine on the market, presented Cousin Island Special Reserve with its Ecotourism Award for 2004.
Cousin won the Award in the category of Destination, one of three categories, the others being Lodge/Resort and Tour Operator. It was announced in the July 2004 issue of Conde Nast Traveler. Cousin Island Special Reserve, managed by Nature Seychelles, received international recognition for the work carried out there in successfully marrying conservation of wildlife with responsible tourism, the last accolade being the British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Highly Commended Award in 2003.
Cousin manager (middle) received British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Highly Commended Award © T. Vel
This is the 10th Anniversary of the Conde Nast Ecotourism Award, which lends added prestige to Cousin’s win. The Award is given to those who are’ committed to preserving the local environment, assisting and employing local people who live there and educating the guest who visit’. The objective is to showcase genuine ecotourism products, as distinct from marketing gimmicks and green propaganda.
Cousin was chosen from a field of nearly 100 contenders, screened by Conde Nast Editors. Voting was done by a panel of international experts including the Secretary General of the WTO, the CEO of the International Ecotourism Society and Director of Lonely Planet publication. The organisation then sent an undercover correspondent to visit the island, to report on the real visitor experience. The correspondent, Cristina Nehrig, quotes a visitor to Cousin in her article in Traveler magazine:
“I adore this island!” exclaimed the Greek-German Countess who stumbled out of the wooden boat at my side. “I’ve been to seventeen islands in the Indian Ocean and this is the real thing!”
The Conde Nast Traveler magazine focuses on up-market destinations. As one editor put it, anyone looking to do London on $15 a day should look elsewhere. The focus of this magazine is to provide the experienced traveler with an array of diverse travel experiences encompassing art, architecture, fashion, culture, cuisine and shopping. It also offers tips for general travel and travel savings. The award therefore fits very well with national tourism efforts to upgrade the tourism product of Seychelles and to attract up-market visitors. Cousin is a Special Reserve and not geared for marketing. It is now up to the tourism authorities as well as the destination management companies to take advantage of and build on this prestigious award. It should be used in marketing to set Seychelles apart from other sun, sea and sand destinations and to highlight the progress made in meeting international standards.