One of Seychelles management companies, Elite Club, has financed a new award, which is geared towards encouraging students to promote the heritage sites of the Seychelles and develop an interest in heritage conservation.
The annual award was launched during the Seychelles heritage week, which kick-started on April 17, 2012 at one of Seychelles national monuments, ‘‘La Bastille,’’ built in the 1930s by Ange Pillieron. This monument presently houses the National Heritage division of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. The new award seeks to encourage and enable tomorrow’s decision makers to participate in heritage conservation and to respond to continuing threats facing the Seychelles’ heritage and cultivate a sense of respect for the country’s cultural and natural heritage.
The schools have a year to work on their projects and submit them for evaluation. The General Manager of Elite Club, Dereck Savy, present for the launching of this competition, has outlined the importance of the destination management companies (DMCs) to give their support to these projects of utmost importance to the Seychelles as a tourism destination. The emphasis is now centered on putting its heritage and cultural assets to the visitors in the forefront.
“Seychelles does not rely solely on its sun and sea, but that of its heritage assets. We want to offer a different type of tourism, which promotes different values that Seychelles has to offer, and this includes promoting and enhancing our cultural heritage,” said Dereck Savy.
The annual award is part of two national initiatives launched by the Heritage Department of the Ministry of Culture to spur the support of private stakeholders to promote, adopt, and rehabilitate Seychelles’ national monuments. The second initiative is the creation of a trust fund of the Seychelles districts of Port Glaud, located on the northwestern coast of the island of Mahe, and Cascade found on the east side of the island. It is believed that other districts are to follow suit.
The Seychelles islands, with its long history dating back to the seventeenth century from the first Arab sailors who anchored in the archipelago, continues to remain a land of great mysteries. Its national monuments like the Beauvoir Cemetery, with its more than a hundred tombs dating back to April 1883 when the Catholic missionaries were buried, are permanent reminders of the country’s past. Due to budgetary constraints, the rehabilitation of these sites has become costly. The Culture Department has devised a more cost-effective mechanism and a great way to protect these heritage sites. The agreement for adoption of heritage sites has been conceived and signed between the Culture Department and the parties concerned to support the restoration of the heritage sector. The latest to date is the Nageon Maussoleum at Au cap, adopted by the Au Cap district and the Puren Mausoleum at Ma Joie that of the Puren family.
The Seychelles Principal Secretary of Culture, Ms. Benjamine Rose, said in her opening remarks for the heritage week, that for Seychelles to “achieve sustainability in the management of our heritage, we need, among other things, appropriate funding, solid partnerships, appropriate conservation methods, and appropriate strategies.” Ms. Rose added that the Culture Department “has worked out a five-year plan to achieve that, but the efforts of the Culture Department alone are not sufficient. This is why the Culture Department is taking the opportunity to appeal to local entrepreneurs to join in the conservation effort of our heritage under the spirit of collective responsibility.”