Zurich' ETH University students share research on Seychelles' tourism sustainability
The beach of Beau Vallon was part of the beach based tourism. (Welcomematt22, Wikimedia Commons) Photo License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Research conducted by a group of students from the ETH University in Zurich will give the Seychelles' tourism department valuable insight into the areas that need to be addressed in terms of sustainability, said a top government official on Tuesday.
The students presented preliminary results of a Trans-disciplinary Assessment Study, which had the theme of "Sustainable Land Use II- Rethinking the Sustainability of Tourism" in a public meeting.
The group of students, who are studying for their master's degree at the Switzerland-based university, have been in Seychelles since early July for their field study.
The group, accompanied by degree students from the University of Seychelles, collected data based on seven different topics related to tourism. The data collected will be put together in a report that will be presented to Department of Tourism for further action.
"The theme of this study is very relevant for us, as our strategy is based on the sustainability of our industry, where we have already done some work that has put that into question," said the principal secretary for Tourism, Sherin Francis.
|The students presented the preliminary results of a Trans-disciplinary Assessment Study on Tuesday. (Department of Tourism) Photo License: CC-BY|
She said that "this research will help to give us valuable insight into the areas that we wish to address and so it will be the foundation for our future research works."
The topics covered were beach-based tourism, agri-tourism, cultural tourism, the social impact of tourism in the Seychelles, hotels and farmers linkages, terrestrial adventure tourism and tourism in Seychelles 2040 - assessment tool.
Each topic was worked on by one group and they took turns to present their work.
The group working on the linkages between farmers and hotels found out that there is a need for platforms to be put in place to ensure quicker trade between farmers and local hotels. Also that better standards such as labels, quality control, and grading need to be put in place.
In beach-based tourism, the group studied two of the most popular beaches on the island, namely Beau Vallon beach in the north of Mahe and Anse Source d'Argent on La Digue island. They found that the sea around this beach was quite polluted.
A seawater quality study was done which showed poor levels at Beau Vallon beach, due to more littering, than that of Anse Source d'Argent.
Present among the guests to follow the presentations, was the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, who took the opportunity to address the students after the presentations.
Radegonde spoke of the need for Seychellois to understand that tourism is everybody's business and everyone in the country needs to feel part of the sector.
"We need to look at other activities that can support the tourism industry," said Radegonde, who added that "people will always come to Seychelles, but there will come a time, where we will say enough is enough as we will not be able to receive everybody at once."
Two of the students who participated in the study told reporters that the experience was a great one, aside from discovering Seychelles, they managed to better understand research tools and methodologies that will be beneficial to them in the future.
This is not the first collaboration between Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, and ETH Zurich University. Students from the university have conducted other surveys on the environment and tourism since 2015.