Launch of 'Sustainable Seychelles Brand' |26 October 2023
Signals a new era in conservation and tourism
By Sunny Esparon
In an ambitious collaborative effort to preserve the natural beauty of the Seychelles islands with the ultimate goal of enhancing Seychelles’ international recognition as a sustainable tourism destination, a new initiative dubbed ‘The Sustainable Seychelles Brand’ was officially launched yesterday morning.
This initiative also marks the official transition from the previous Sustainable Seychelles Tourism Label, formerly used to recognise and certify tourism establishments that met required sustainable criteria. Therefore, current holders of the label will be presented with a renewed certificate, officially recognising them as certified Sustainable Seychelles businesses.
The mission and vision of this initiative is to nurture sustainability among the population, inspire a sense of ownership in the visitors, and make the world a better place, one green step at a time.
Along with this, the initiative aims to build a comprehensive sustainability programme that magnifies the value of Seychelles’ sustainability initiatives, forming a robust and impact sustainability brand.
At the launch ceremony yesterday morning at the Wild Flower Café, Botanical Gardens, it was discussed that ‘The Sustainable Seychelles Brand’ is motivated by the collective vision to protect Seychelles for future generations. The brand aspires to provide a comprehensive roadmap for adopting and promoting sustainable practices throughout the tourism industry and other sectors, with an emphasis on unity and shared responsibility. The brand wants to guarantee that Seychelles remains a clean and ecologically conscious destination by promoting cooperation and active engagement.
The brand operates under an umbrella model, focusing on three core pillars: monitoring and certification which recognises and certifies accommodations and tourism services dedicated to sustainable practises. Sensitisation and awareness, which promotes sustainable tourism practices through awareness campaigns and educational programmes. Finally, education and training, whereby collaboration with sustainability organisations, school clubs, and government ministries develop training programmes for individuals, tourism professionals, and students.
In her address, principal secretary for Tourism, Sherin Francis, outlined the importance of the day, as the launch also coincided with World Sustainability Day, celebrated annually on October 25.
“We chose to embark on a new chapter in our commitment towards sustainability. Our goal is to become a sustainable tourism destination, and this journey represents another step in that direction,” she said.
PS Francis mentioned that the Seychelles Tourism Label (SSTL) which was introduced by the Seychelles Tourism Board ten years ago served as an invaluable tool for the tourism establishments, promoting sustainable practices. The criteria were quite elaborate, preventing any “greenwashing”. She mentioned that although only 22 hotels in Seychelles are currently certified, they represent about 30% of the rooms. The SSTL created “champions” and “ambassadors”, with these properties housing knowledgeable staff who are willing to share their expertise with the rest of the industry.
However, while the SSTL excelled, she conveyed that it became clear that some properties might never meet its wide range of criteria. Furthermore, the board recognised a need for more support, education, and recognition within the industry for operators wishing to embark on the journey. “At the end of the day, it is the individual that makes the ocean.”
This realisation led to the creation of the Sustainable Seychelles, a natural evolution of the SSTL, which aims to mainstream sustainability across the entire industry, built upon the aforementioned three core pillars.
The tourism board will award blue, bronze and silver recognitions to those who start scoring towards the Sustainable Seychelles criteria, in order to encourage and recognise establishments.
In the next coming months, PS Francis announced that the recognition and certification will also extend to other tourism industry operators.
“Sustainability encompasses more than just environmental conservation,” she added, explaining that it includes themes like water, energy, waste management, and community engagement.
In his keynote address, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, conveyed that Seychelles is not merely a tropical paradise, but stated that it is a “beacon of hope” and a “promise to future generations” that they too will experience the natural beauty and vibrant culture that is treasured today. “We all understand that this delicate equilibrium needs safeguarding.” He explained that the very existence of Seychelles hangs on the fragile balance of the ecosystems and the rich cultural heritage.
The minister talked about the fact that the Sustainable Seychelles Brand is not just any ordinary programme, but rather a commitment to preserving what makes Seychelles extraordinary. “It is a mission, a call to action, a dedication to responsible tourism.”
He implored everyone to recognise the value that each person brings to the table, the sustainable practices that the country champions, the pristine environments that are preserved, and the rich culturally celebrated, that are testament to the Seychelles spirit.
Minister Radegonde stated the commitment extends beyond the government department and ministries and include the tourism industry partners, NGO partners and every member of the local community. He also stated that there is need to engage with the visitors to drive the sustainable initiatives that Seychelles requires to achieve its aims.
“Collective engagement is the force that will propel us forward and is our common love for Seychelles that unites us in this mission.”
He also presented a token of appreciation on behalf of the Tourism department to four partners for their unwavering commitment to the cause, namely Constance Ephelia Resort, Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort, Hanneman Holiday Residence and Kempinski Seychelles Resort.
The Sustainable Seychelles Team has presented the new Sustainable Seychelles certificate to all partners whose certification are still valid.
To conclude the launch, there was a special performance put on by Ryan Louise and Cresheila Ladouceur for the Sustainable Seychelles Brand song composed by Raymond Clarisse.
Photos by Sunny Esparon