Environment conservation efforts being made by Seychelles, and how tourists can join in the initiatives, were the focus points of a press conference organized by the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) during the Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin (ITB) fair that took place in Berlin, Germany.
Held as part of the STB’s participation activities at the 53rd edition of travel trade show, the press conference took place on March 6, 2019 at the Funkturm Restaurant within the ITB fair grounds and saw the participation of over 52 journalists from different German media houses.
Seychelles’ Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine, Mr. Didier Dogley, and STB Chief Executive, Mrs. Sherin Francis, headed the press conference.
The Seychelles Delegation was honored by the two representatives of Seychelles in Germany in the presence of Mr. Max Hunzinger Honorary General Consul Hessen – Baden-Württemberg – Bayern – Sachsen – Sachsen-Anhalt – Thüringen and Dr Vladi Farhad Honorary Consul for – Hamburg – Bremen – Niedersachsen.
Mrs. Francis stated that recent development on the international front, made the destination’s participation at the ITB an opportune moment to give more detailed information in term of progress and accomplishments made in those fields as well as the implications of these initiatives to Seychelles.
“As a nation and a tourism destination, we are committed to environment protection, as the marketing wing of the Seychelles Tourism, STB has tied this commitment to its objectives to ensure that we maintain our pristine environment and be able to protect our ocean as well,” said Minister Didier Dogley.
During the press conference, media partners present learnt more about the Spatial Marine Conservation Plan, where Seychelles has committed to up to 30 percent of its waters to marine protection. The minister explained that a comprehensive marine spatial plan has been developed to ensure the long-term protection of marine species and their habitats.
The session also saw the participation of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF) represented by Diana Körner, as the Pristine Seychelles campaign launched in 2018 was highlighted as one of the current significant sustainable initiative.
The Pristine Seychelles campaign is a call to all tourism stakeholders to promote the three pillars of sustainability, which are environment, Creole culture and local economy amongst tourists and locals.
“Through the various eco-friendly campaigns happening in Seychelles, we want to create awareness among our visitors on nature conservancy and sustainable tourism efforts being made by the country and encouraging them to join in and match our effort,” said Mrs. Francis.
The Aldabra Clean-Up Project was also underlined, informing the audience about the current presence of 12 volunteers on the island collecting ocean debris from the beaches of the UNESCO world heritage site, home to the endemic giant Aldabra tortoises and the nesting place for green turtles.
Several other local initiatives were also brought forward, namely the current ban regarding the importation and use of Styrofoam lunch boxes and plastic bags, plates, cups and cutlery, which was followed by a ban on the importation of plastic straws. In addition to the regular beach clean-ups organized by various to deal with plastic being washed up on beaches of the country.
The press conference was also a great platform for the STB Chief Executive to talk about the current numbers pertaining to visitor’s arrival. Germany remains the leading market with 17,354 visitors since January 2019.
“Germany is one of our healthiest and fastest growing market so far. It has been growing exponentially over the past few years and I believe that with the strong support that we have from the trade there, our office together with the various airlines connecting Germany to Seychelles, we will keep seeing the good performance,” said STB Director for Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Ms. Edith Hunzinger.
Germany, along with the German speaking territories, is one of the markets that is well connected to Seychelles.
The journalists also had the opportunity to meet “tête-a- tête” with the minister, STB Chief Executive and STB Directors present. The meeting was followed by a lunch with a touch of Seychelles cuisine.