Increase in fees introduced at two Seychelles' nature reserves on Praslin Island
The entrance fees for individual tourists visiting the Vallee de Mai and Fond Ferdinand nature reserves on Praslin Island will increase as of Monday, March 6, the Seychelles Islands Foundation said on Thursday.
According to the foundation, the entrance fees for the Vallee de Mai, one of Seychelles' UNESCO World Heritage Sites, will increase to SCR450 ($35) while for Fond Ferdinand it will increase to SCR 300 ($23).
Although the price for individual tourists will increase, Seychellois and residents will continue to benefit from free entrances to all of SIF's managed properties. Destination management companies (DMCs) will also continue to operate under the previous pricing for a grace period of 10 months.
As of Monday, March 6, SIF will also launch an online ticketing platform, where visitors of the Vallee de Mai and Fond Ferdinand can benefit from a 10 percent reduction in entrance fees when purchasing an online ticket.
The SIF's chief executive, Dr Frauker Fleischer-Dogley, said, "This price revision will allow SIF to further invest in Seychelles natural heritage by increasing its management and monitoring of visitor activities to understand the long-term impact of tourism across all our sites."
She added that "this is crucial for all of us to ensure that the necessary measures are taken to reduce the vulnerability and increase the resilience of these sites of not only national but international importance."
Both nature reserves are located on the second-most populated island of Praslin of the archipelago of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean and are places where the world's biggest nut, the coco de mer, grows naturally.
The Vallee de Mai nature reserve is the most-visited natural site in Seychelles and was heavily impacted by a downturn in travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2020, SIF said the site saw a 97 percent drop in visitors, amounting to a $2 million loss in direct revenue.
The Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) is a Public Trust mandated to protect and manage Seychelles' UNESCO World Heritage properties, the Vallee de Mai and the Aldabra Atoll, as well as the Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve.
In over 20 years, entrance rates have not been revised to reflect the contemporary market, with increased operational costs being steadily sustained by the foundation for two decades.
The SIF says the update in fees is necessary to ensure that tourism activities are assessed continuously and align with Vallee de Mai's Outstanding Universal Values that allow for its prestigious designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The revision will also enable the development of Fond Ferdinand's tourism capacity through facilitating self-guided visits for visitors as well as expanding facilities. Additionally, it will also help to initiate much needed research and to facilitate community engagement and initiatives, thus elevating its status as Seychelles' natural and cultural heritage.
SIF plans to apply for a destination certification under the Global Sustainable Tourism Council to develop long-term sustainable policies and a sound visitor management system for all its managed sites.