Tourists don't know where they've been, travellers don't know where they're going.

Paul Theroux

The Tourism Conundrum 🇸🇨

Seychelles

The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands that lies 1600km off the east African coast. The central islands are Mahé where we stayed, Praslin and La Digue.

The Seychelles arguably has some of the best beaches in the world: long stretches or small coves of extremely fine, whiter-than-white sand which has enticing ctystal clear, azure blue seas. Swimming in the Indian Ocean is akin to taking a warm bath… I have never swam in such warm sea! Swansea’s Langland Bay is surely a poor relation! 
The photos that you see in the brochures are the real deal; they really haven’t been “touched up”! Palm trees against a painted vivid blue sky completes the picture (also grey and thundery on some days!)

So here a few of my thoughts:

It’s no surprise that the Seychelles is a top choice for people on honeymoon or perhaps significant milestone birthdays and retirement.

There’s great competition between hotel resorts to compete for the tourist euro, pound and dollar. Consequently there’s an abundance of four and five star luxurious hotels complete with spas, individual infinity pools and in some cases your own personal butler!

Paradoxically there’s a lack of the tourist trappings to accompany these luxurious resorts. Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles, is one of the world’s smallest capitals and is home to a third of the country’s population. Yet Lonely Planet guide to the Seychelles doesn’t recommend a single restaurant! Instead it says that “it’s better known for quick snacks and fast food”. There are no shopping malls and there’s little variety in the type of shop available and no entertainment venues such as cinemas etc

The villages at the beaches are small, somewhat run-down and ramshackle and contain little apart from a few restaurants, souvenir stalls and a handful of small shops. 
Where we stayed there was a couple of small corner shops, we had to walk on the road due to lack of pavement. At the beach there were the stalls selling coconuts, fruit, some beach ware and a few restaurants.

But herein lies the conundrum: if the government and the economy could support development of a more glamorous, amenity-rich infrastructure for both the local and tourist market this would in turn attract more visitors. 
Not necessarily a good thing?
Surely the islands would lose its current laid back vibe, its slightly run-down and “rustic” environment in return for over-priced, consumerism from which we have sought an escape.

After all, isn’t it the superlative beaches, beautiful turquoise ocean, the myriad boat trips, diving and fishing that attract people to the Seychelles?

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