Sustainable travel tips for your journey to Seychelles
I’m sharing this article today I found that was written by The Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF). I thought it was a really great piece with lots of useful information for visiting Seychelles. I got in touch and they were happy for me to share it (the images I’ve added after). Enjoy!
As you step off the plane, you begin a trail of footprints in a hotspot of oceanic biodiversity and geographic uniqueness. It is no mystery that a biodiverse ecosystem of this kind will attract visitors from all over the world and thus makes tourism the economic pillar of Seychelles. This brings us to our vital role as travelers and visitors to help preserve this nation’s natural and cultural heritage for generations to come.
The Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF) presents a few ways and tips how you can make a difference:
1. Say no to plastic water bottles and be conscious about plastics
As you are getting yourself ready to start the day, filling up your reusable water bottle should be part of the routine. There are no public water fountains installed on the islands, but thankfully there are always other alternatives to prevent yourself from buying plastic water bottles. You can buy large bottles of five liters to refill your reusable bottle at your hotel/guesthouse or ask for filtered water at your accommodation or any restaurant. The quality of tap water varies depending on the island you are visiting and where you are located. To be on the safe side, bring a water bottle with an integrated filter so that you can fill up your bottle with any tap water, where ever you are!
Please note that as a small tropical island, Seychelles has very limited landfill space and very few recycling initiatives. Please carry around a reusable spoon for the typical local take-aways and become part of the local campaign, “The Last Straw Seychelles”, to reduce the use of plastic straws in the country. Bring along your own reusable straw or buy one locally through The Ocean Project!
2. Show off your beautiful reusable bags
Seychelles announced exciting news in July 2017: a national ban on plastic bags!
This is all the more reason to bring your own reusable bag to carry your groceries and souvenir shopping. This can even be part of one of your souvenir gifts to friends and family, as Seychelles has its own reusable bags for sale!
3. Tour wisely
Most cars are run on petroleum-based fuels in Seychelles, making it a significant contributor to greenhouse gases. TATA buses are the main mode of public transport and have become part of the Seychelles experience. Make sure to enjoy this affordable, typical ride!
4. Buy local, discover locals
There are so many reasons to why we should all buy local products, some more obvious than others: Buying locally usually means fresher and healthier food. The beauty of having such small islands means that local markets offer food originating from crop fields and trees only a few 1000 meters, or less, away. Buying locally leads to lower transport emissions, reducing the product’s carbon footprint. Buying locally supports less food packaging. All imported food needs to be well conserved, which means that most are wrapped in layers of plastic. Buying locally means supporting the local economy. This is money that Seychellois are directly benefiting from. Through this, jobs are also created. Buying locally invites you to meet more Seychellois and discover the Creole life. Showing interest in the culture stimulates cultural preservation, bringing us to the next tip.
5. Visit cultural heritage sites
By visiting important cultural sites, money is generated to help maintaining and preserving them. The act of visiting gives locals the initiative to preserve these sites.
6. Choose sustainable seafood
This is very important, as fish supply is the main source of local food in the country. Choosing sustainable seafood means choosing one that was fished from a healthy population, with minimal impacts on the marine environment and in a zone that is effectively and responsibly managed. It is hard to know whether a type of seafood respects that criteria, but it is good to at least know which are the most vulnerable and overfished. For example, in Seychelles you should avoid yellowfin tuna, certain groupers (blacksaddled coral grouper, brown-marbled coral grouper, camouflage grouper, roving coral grouper) and small-sized parrotfish. Also, the SSTF recommends refraining from eating sharks.
7. Be responsible sea explorers
Coral reefs are one of Seychelles’ most important tourist attractions, but also one of the most vulnerable ecosystems in the world. To become responsible snorkelers and divers, you need to remember never to touch anything underwater so as to not disturb wildlife and stir up sediment that could smother corals. Remember to use eco-friendly sun screen or cover up with a rash guard!
8. Keep an eye out for sustainable labels
When looking to book hotels, find out whether they are certified with a sustainable label. In Seychelles, 18 hotels are now certified with the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL).
Pick an establishment that takes environmental responsibilities seriously and ask the staff if they can tell you about some ongoing initiatives!