The Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA) has a received a fresh message from Nature. The message is simple: "protect what nature has endowed us with".The message was delivered to the executive board of the association during its meeting at Au Cap on Friday 13th January. Two divers, male and female, emerged from the lagoon where the board was meeting carrying the message in a bottle, which they handed to the chairman of SHTA Mr. Louis D'offay.
The chairman was accompanied by executive board members Alan Mason and Daniella Alis-Payet, the Executive Director of SHTA, Mr Raymond St Ange, the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board Mr Alain St Ange and Dr. Nirmal Shah Chief Executive of Nature Seychelles. Members of the press were on hand to witness the delivery of nature's message.
The setting for this exchange, although not spectacular by Seychelles standards, bellied the important message that was being delivered.
"Seychelles is endowed with an unspoiled natural beauty key to its tourism. It is the "wow" factor of the tourism package. So important is nature that half the country is now under some form of protection. Tourists come for the pristine environment, clean waters, beaches and wildlife, " said Nirmal Shah, who was SHTA's media point person on the beach.
This is evident in the numbers of visitors that come to its shores in spite of the factors affecting the trade such as economic difficulties in the key markets in Europe.
According to figures published by the Seychelles National Bureau of Statistics 194,753 visitors came to Seychelles in 2011 a growth of 11% since 2010. This figure is over two times the total population of Seychelles.
Visitors who come to Seychelles say it is a paradise destination and that they are impressed by its natural attractions. Nature's message was thus a timely reminder that this paradise has to be maintained.
"It requires that we keep the attractions intact. We wanted to make the point that even a minor beach as this one is a beautiful addition to the Seychelles' winning tourism formula of nature and people in harmony. This beach is probably as good as the principal beaches of so many other competitors. And our waters are safe as well," said Shah to the local media.
"The tourism sector is undertaking business for Seychelles and it wants to protect the environment. We want the help of everybody to do this," Shah concluded.