Sustainable Seychelles: Tourism label rebranded with commitment to preserve unique islands
New brand "Sustainibility Seychelles" for label certification (Tourism Seychelles)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL) has been rebranded as "Sustainable Seychelles" as a “commitment to preserve what makes Seychelles extraordinary,” according to the island nation’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism.
Sylvestre Radegonde made the announcement at the official rebranding of the initiative at the Wildflour Cafe in the Botanical Gardens on the main island of Mahe on Wednesday morning.
Environment enthusiasts and non-governmental organisations (NGO) were among those who attended the launch that also included the revealing of the brand’s new logo and video.
The western Indian Ocean archipelago has an economy that is largely dependent on tourism, with its key selling points being its pristine environment and beaches.
In a bid to protect its natural assets, the country’s authorities introduced a tourism environmental sustainable levy on August 1.
|Thirty percent of hotels in Seychelles are certified under the sustainable tourism label (archive-Gerard Larose) Photo License: All Rights Reserved
The rebranding of the SSTL is in a continuation of the small island state’s efforts to adopt a sustainable tourism approach.
Established in 2011, the SSTL, which is applicable to hotel accommodation establishments of all sizes, is a voluntary certification scheme that recognises and rewards tourism businesses that are implementing best practices in sustainability within their operations.
Internationally recognised, the SSTL also holds recognition status by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and aims at mainstreaming sustainability within the tourism sector so as to safeguard local natural assets as well as the industry’s future growth and prosperity.
There are 22 tourism establishments that have the sustainable tourism label, which totals 30 percent of hotels in Seychelles are certified.
The principal secretary for tourism, Sherin Francis, told the guests at the official launch that adopting the Sustainable Seychelles is a “natural evolution of SSTL”.
Sustainable Seychelles has three core pillars that it focuses on, namely monitoring and certification, sensitisation and awareness, and education and training.
The director for the Industry Planning and Development Unit, Sinha Levkovic, told the press that although certification was the first step taken through SSTL, there is also an area to address recognition.
“So depending on the various criteria that they are meeting, the establishments will be recognised under the blue, bronze and silver levels with gold being the highest they can achieve as this means they have certification,” she said.
Tourism Seychelles – the marketing arm of the tourism department – says it plans to also extend recognition certificates to other tourism operators such as restaurants and tour guides soon, as they are “inviting all tourism operators to join the tourism department in this sustainable journey,” said Francis.
At the moment joining sustainable Seychelles is a voluntary choice, something Levkovic said her unit wants to continue.
She explained that this way “we are assured of the establishment’s complete commitment, with no green-washing,” something she said would happen if they were to impose these measures.
Tourism Seychelles also admits that while tourism is one of the industries that has major impact on a country’s economy and ecosystem, having such a programme in place would “nurture sustainability among the people, inspire a sense of ownership” in the visitors all while making the “world a better place, one green step at a time”.
|Minister Radegonde presenting a plaque for a special mention to Hanneman Apartments for participating in the sustainibility programme since its inception (Tourism Seychelles) Photo license: CC-BY
Wednesday morning’s launching was also the time to hand over certifications to the various establishments that met the label's criteria.
Constance Ephelia Resort, Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort, Kempinski Seychelles Resort and
Hannemann Apartments were given special mentions as they are establishments that joined the label since its inception over a decade ago.