Seychelles joins world in marking one billionth tourist record by STB
The Seychelles Islands
As Seychelles joins the globe on December 13, 2012 in celebrating the one billionth tourist mark, it is an apt time for reflection upon exactly what this means, not only for the world, but also for Seychelles.
To begin with, the one billionth tourist travelling the globe illustrates how very far tourism has come and how much the industry has grown since the end of the Second World War.
Today, it is the world’s fastest growing industry, and Seychelles is typical of many nations which have come to depend on tourism as a main pillar of their economy. We live in a world where very few countries on Earth are not striving for a share of the tourism pie as attendance at any reputable trade fair will demonstrate.
Indeed, to have reached the 1 billionth mark is a cause for celebration but it also gives us occasion to pause and reflect on the effects of so many people travelling on the environment and on the very ecosystems which tourism needs to prosper. Also, let us not forget the consequences of travel to the culture of any given country, to its sometime limited resources and, also to global health.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (WTO) has coined the phrase ‘I billion tourists – 1 billion opportunities’ to mark this watershed moment and has launched a global campaign to vote for the one tip that travellers believe will make a difference in ensuring that tourism remains sustainable, which is another way of saying that what we do today we do in such a way that we shall be able to continue doing it tomorrow.
This concept of sustainability is crucial for the continued prosperity of tourism because it is only sustainable practices that will allow us to properly manage and conserve our precious resources, protect our environment and fragile ecosystems as well as the integrity and authenticity of our unique Seychellois Creole culture.
The WTO’s reference to ‘one billion opportunities’ is appropriate because of the global advance in technology, knowledge and expertise and their combined potential for innovation, advancement and the achievement of great things for humanity.
As we celebrate this great milestone in tourism and prepare to meet the challenges associated with it, we need to ensure that we direct our energies, both individual and collective in positive, well integrated and visionary ways. The bottom line, however, remains that we each commit to better understanding the industry upon which our prosperity depends, to positively supporting it and to helping to create the right atmosphere it requires to prosper.