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Hotels in the thick of action

Although the country's beaches are the responsibility of all Seychellois, hotels in particular should be at the forefront in protecting the sustainability of tourism in Seychelles.

Environment Minister Ronny Jumeau said this yesterday as he launched the ministry's National Beach Monitoring Programme. The programme will focus on providing hotels and other concerned parties with the capacity to collect information on the seasonal trends of erosion and accretion for beaches all around Seychelles. The information will assist in deciding the future actions that need to be taken to prevent erosion along the coastline.

Officially launching the programme at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Hotel, Minister Jumeau said: 'Our beaches belong to all of us, to be shared with our visitors from abroad. However, from a day-to-day business point of view, our beaches are in practice more (the hotels') beaches.'

A pilot group of seven hotels - the Coral Strand, Le Meridien Barbarons, Northolme, and Plantation Club hotels on Mahe, and the Marechiaro, Praslin Beach and Lemuria hotels on Praslin - will be the inaugural participants of the programme.

First on the programme's agenda is the creation of a national profile database for all the beaches in Seychelles. The participating hotels will collect data for their participating beaches, while the Ministry of Environment's Coastal Zone Unit, along with the Pollution Control and Environment Assessment Division, will help monitor the others.

The Seychelles Centre for Marine Research and Technology/Marine Parks Authority will be responsible for the beaches in marine park areas.

The information compiled by these organisations will then be entered into the database, which will be used by the Coastal Zone Unit to generate 'state of the beach' reports. The reports will in turn be distributed to the hotels to facilitate in the day-to-day management of their beach environments.

While Mr. Jumeau thanked the pilot group of hotels for 'boldly stepping forward' in volunteering for the programme, he said that more hotels were being urged to participate especially since the problem of coastal erosion could not always be isolated.

'What is the use of one hotel managing the beach in front of it efficiently and scientifically, if the next one just down the coast is hacking away all the patatran and other coastal vegetation on the pretext of giving its guests a better view, only to end up giving everyone along the coast an environmental migraine?'

Mr Jumeau said. Mr. Jumeau also noted that the monitoring instruments to be used for the programme were not expensive - less than R1,000 - and that UNESCO's Coastal Regions and Small Islands platform had already provided funding for the equipment.

Alain De Comarmond, project officer for the Coastal Zone Unit, said that although the ministry would like to see more hotels involved, the programme itself would be quite flexible, as some non-governmental organisations were expected to participate as well.

The ministry intends to organise more workshops to brief additional hotels and other organisations on how to monitor and manage their beaches.

Under the programme the Coastal Zone Unit will also publish a series of 'best practices' leaflets on coastal erosion, its causes and possible responses.

Seychelles Nation, 22nd July 2003

 

To get involved, contact :

 
 

National Co-ordinators
Mr Rolph Payet and Mr Alain De Comarmond
Ministry of Environment
PO Box 677, Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles
Tel: + 248 224 644
Fax: 248 322 945
rolph@seychelles.sc
a.deco@pps.gov.sc

 

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