“We are very small. We have a very limited land mass and we need space for economic development,” said Sherin Francis, chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board. “But yet we manage to strike that balance and ensure that 50% of our land territory is protected.”
The ocean is not the only part of the Seychelles that is unspoilt. On land, the National Parks Authority oversees two main areas, Morne Seychellois Park and Praslin National Park, both of which are home to a long list of endemic animal and plant species. The Morne Seychellois park, located on the largest island of Mahé, covers 20% of the island’s surface, provides fresh water to the inhabitants and is crisscrossed with paths that pass historic ruins dating from the passage of French settlers and British and Indian and Chinese traders. the islands . Praslin National Park is home to the Vallée de Mai nature reserve, a palm grove listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The official designation of the parks was established once the Seychelles began to become a tourist destination, a few years after the construction of the first international airport and the independence of the island nation. Similar to the initiatives at sea, the national park status was intended to help protect the land while creating infrastructure for visitors to enjoy it by walking more than 15 km of trails and observing its rare bird species and plants. .
With all eyes on its historic conservation goals, Seychelles is gearing up to show how such a small nation can become an example to the many other island nations facing the effects of climate change. I hope it’s not too late.
Join over three million BBC Travel fans by liking us on Facebookor follow us on Twitter and instagram.
If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter called “The Essential List”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Worklife and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.