Tourism department and La Digue stakeholders discuss future of tourism on the island |21 November 2022
The Tourism department conducted a series of consultative meetings with the view of engaging La Digue stakeholders with particular attention to the sustainable growth of tourism on the island.
This follows the recommendations set in the Carrying Capacity Study for La Digue completed in February 2021.
The carrying capacity study aimed at establishing the current tourism development status with regards to economic, social, environmental and physical indicators and establish the amount of change that can occur while still remaining sustainable.
The recommendations from the study aimed at enabling the government to develop policies towards sustainable tourism growth on the small island.
The meetings were held on Wednesday, November 9, 2022, at the La Digue Island Lodge, attended by about 30 stakeholders from various tourism accommodation establishments and saw the presence of the member of the National Assembly for the Inner Islands, Rocky Uranie; liaison officer for the Inner islands, Loncey Micock and the district administrator for La Digue, Barbara Barallon.
The Tourism department was represented by the principal secretary for Tourism, Sherin Francis; director general for Destination Planning and Development, Paul Lebon; as well as Bernice Senaratne, director for Policy and Research at the Tourism department,who led the presentations.
In her introductory remarks, Mrs Francis explained that reopening the growth of rooms on La Digue needs to be done carefully with a clear roadmap and it has to be a model which is sustainable for the island.
She further stated that in parallel, it is very crucial that opportunities are opened and encouraged in other investment areas on the island that will further support the industry and provide spending opportunities for visitors.
The meeting, which aimed at sharing the current status of tourism on the island in terms of growth in visitor arrivals and occupancy, was also an opportunity for the department to shed some light on the productive infrastructural plans that are underway.
The discussions further allowed the team to gather the views of the Diguois regarding their vision for La Digue as a tourism destination.
During the meeting, the department informed the participants about the proposed extension of the current moratorium on room development on the island until June 2023. The moratorium was enforced on August 1, 2021 following the recommendations of the carrying capacity studies conducted on La Digue in 2019-2021.
The extension would allow a proper Accommodation Establishment Development Strategic Plan to be completed with due consideration on the effects on environmental sustainability, socio-economic implications, and other market opportunities.
The study is expected to be completed in April 2023 in time for the proposed extended deadline of the moratorium.
Another study currently being commissioned is the visitor use management plan which will be very important for managing the flow of visitors on the island.