The launching ceremony took place at Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove Hotel, in the presence of ministers, senior government officials, the Chairman and members of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association, members of the GOS-UNDP-GEF Program Coordination Unit, Seychelles Tourism Board representatives, and tourism operators.
Opening the ceremony was the Environment Coordinator of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Betty Seraphine, who welcomed all the dignitaries and distinguished guests who were present at the important event; she was followed by the welcoming remarks of Mr. Alain St.Ange, the chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board.
In his remarks, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Mr. St.Ange reiterated the importance for Seychelles tourism industry to adopt the Sustainable Tourism Label.
“This label will be the Seychelles first ever sustainable tourism certification system to encourage the hotels and other tourism establishments to merge the principles of sustainability into their daily operations,” said Mr. St.Ange
Mr. St.Ange called upon the hotels and other tourism accommodation establishments in Seychelles to apply for the newly-launched label to establish their organizations’ commitment and to uphold the principles of sustainable tourism, but most importantly to play their part in safeguarding the sustainability of the tourism industry for the future generations. He stated that this step taken is a renewal of the government of Seychelles’ commitment to working with the tourism trade and its partners and stakeholders.
Also addressing the guests present, the UNDP Program Manager, Roland Alcindor, spoke about the necessity to understand the different perspectives and principles of sustainable tourism.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the logo for the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label, which was presented by the label manager, Mrs. Sinha Levkovic, after which she invited the designer of the logo, Catherina Bonnelame, to explain the concept. Ms. Bonnelame has designed the logo using the iconic giant land tortoise of the Seychelles, encased by three colors portraying the sustainability of the Seychelles islands. Ms. Bonnelame was also presented with her prizes of SCR15,000 and a one-night stay voucher for two at the Bird Island Lodge. She was presented with the prize as the winner of the national competition for the design of the logo.
A memorandum of understanding for the label program was then signed by Alain St.Ange and Didier Dogley, the Principal Secretary of Environment, followed by the presentation of the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label collaterals to distinguished guests.
This Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label is an important milestone in the history of the Seychelles tourism industry as it further affirms the industry’s unyielding efforts to promote sustainable tourism businesses in the country. This is line with UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai’s message to use the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism to guide tourism developments so that they become “sustainable, ethical, and responsible.”
This label is a voluntary initiative that will persuade the tourism establishments to recognize the three-tiered approach to sustainability, which includes the socio-economic values of tourism, as well as the environmental conservation principles. It will help to speed up the increase of sustainable tourism enterprises in what many claims to be the world’s most beautiful islands.