Seychelles halt construction of new tourist accommodation in La Digue after study


Stopping the construction of tourist establishments is one of the recommendations made after a study of accommodation capacity was carried out for the island of La Digue from 2019 to 2021. (Rebai, Flickr) Photo license: CC BY 2.0

(Seychelles News Agency) – A moratorium on the construction of new tourist accommodation in La Digue, Seychelles’ third most populous island, will come into effect on August 1, a senior tourism official said on Monday.

Stopping the construction of tourist establishments is one of the recommendations made after carrying out a study of accommodation capacity for the island of La Digue from 2019 to 2021.

The Ministry of Tourism commissioned an independent consultant – Sustainable Travel International – to undertake the study which was completed in February.

Carrying capacity study is carried out to establish the current state of tourism development with respect to a number of key indicators such as economy, environment, social welfare, as well as productive infrastructure.

The Director of Policy, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Tourism Ministry, Bernice Senaratne, explained that the study aimed to establish the number of changes that can occur on the island while remaining sustainable.

“It is recommended to shut down new establishments until 2023. The 2013 moratorium on the construction of new hotels had an impact on the type of accommodation that was built there and it did not slow down the rapid growth of new hotels. rooms on the island. , it is recommended that there be no new accommodation developments until the impacts of the pandemic on visitor arrivals are better understood, ”Senaratne said.

She went on to say that it is important that all parties involved understand that there is a plan to reopen development, but only until certain conditions are met.

“By 2023, it is expected that there will be more favorable conditions, that is to say that the occupancy rate of hotels would have recovered and that investments in productive infrastructure would have taken place. Other recommendations include the establishment of a recovery plan to respond to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on tourism, economy and business, both visitors and residents, ”Senaratne said.

Regarding the occupancy rate, it was pointed out that the figures for 2018 showed that large and medium-sized hotels had a higher occupancy rate than lodges and guesthouses. For large and medium-sized hotels it was 65% but lower for lodges at 63 and even lower for guesthouses at 59.

In 2019, there were 675 rooms available for tourists on La Digue. In addition, there are 105 rooms which have been approved by local authorities to be built or under construction. This represents an 18% increase in the number of rooms uploaded in the near future.

One of the results of the study shows that La Digue is heavily dependent on tourism, which is the main economic contributor to Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

The study also showed that tourism improved the quality of life of the inhabitants of La Digue but that it increased the pressure on infrastructure. (Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourist Office) Photo license: CC-BY

Senaratne added that this makes it vulnerable to external shocks, as seen with the Covid-19 pandemic where the majority of businesses and residents have been affected.

“The island’s 20 years of rapid development have seen only a one-sided focus on product development. The investment has been mostly in accommodation and there has been little innovation and others. activities that enhance the visitor experience, be it food and drink, specialty activities or activities that promote the culture of La Digue. As a result, there is a lack of activities and spending opportunities on La Digue, ”Senaratne said.

The study also showed that tourism improved the quality of life of the inhabitants of La Digue but that it increased the pressure on infrastructure. The risks include poor public services and an appropriate waste management system, which makes the situation more urgent on the island.

“These risks have reduced the quality of life of residents as they compete for the same resources as those needed to meet the arrival of visitors. This is seen in the number of power cuts on the island, as well as the limited sources of fresh water supply. found there, ”Senaratne said.

A number of constraints have also been identified for the environment. The landfill, located in a tourist hotspot in The Union, is currently operating at full capacity. Its proximity to Anse Source D’Argent means that it poses a threat to water quality.

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