SSTF and tourism department sign agreement towards sustainable tourism |29 October 2019
Efforts to establish Seychelles as an international best practice example for sustainable tourism through an integrated collaborative approach between public, the private sectors, academia and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were yesterday solidified through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF) and the department of tourism.
The MoU was officially signed by founder of SSTF Daniella Payet-Alis and principal secretary for tourism Anne Lafortune in the presence of Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Didier Dogley.
It aims to facilitate collaboration on projects that will raise awareness and foster engagement of the private sector, Seychellois workforce and tourist participation towards making Seychelles a sustainable tourism destination, in line with the United Nations General Assembly resolution 70/193 which declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism and the inclusion of the development of sustainable tourism on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The MoU is also expected to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are inscribed within the context of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) criteria for destinations and the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL) criteria for accommodation providers.
Minister Dogley noted that the signing represents the first agreement with an NGO in the tourism domain.
“It has been some time since we started discussions with SSTF and there are various actions that we have started including the Pristine Seychelles Campaign which was launched just over a year ago and there are other projects, where we would like to collaborate. In general, we have always worked with the private sector but the partnership will be interesting and provides an opportunity to bring everyone onboard and SSTF is an organisation that we consider as serious in its efforts so we look forward to their support and to work together for the development of tourism locally,” Minister Dogley stated.
Mrs Payet-Alis, who founded SSTF in 2017 as a platform for tourism stakeholders in Seychelles, spoke of the importance of involving not only the local community, but visitors as well to encourage more environmentally-friendly travel practices.
Among the projects that are expected to be implemented in the near future are biodegradable bag systems to encourage visitors to carry items they would typically leave behind such as cosmetics and beauty products back home as well as working with local manufacturers and artisans to make more local products available to visitors.
“I think even as a young foundation we have demonstrated that we can work towards addressing challenges in the tourism and environment sectors which is affecting our country as well as others. The MoU is a continuation of what we have already started and we are hoping that by 2022, at least 60 percent of our tourism establishments will have the label and Seychelles can be certified as a sustainable tourism destination, establishing a name for itself and maintaining its relevance,” Mrs Payet-Alis noted.
She further launched an appeal to other individuals and organisations who are also working towards environmental protection and conservation to join the NGO and department and to contribute their own ideas.
The ministry and the SSTF has already collaborated on a number of initiatives. These include the conference on sustainable tourism in small island developing states (SIDs) which was held in Seychelles in 2017, Pristine Seychelles campaign launched last year during the first tourism festival and more recently the tourism department has nominated a representative for the SSTF on the awards panel for the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL).