The Ministry of Tourism in Mauritius has launched a new Certificate Course in Tour Guiding to “help raise awareness about environmental issues and develop students’ commitment to sustainable tourism.” Will this make Mauritius a model of sustainability?
A small island nation in the Indian Ocean, 2000 km off the southeast coast of Africa, Mauritius is host to some beautiful marine wildlife. Land-based initiatives to create tour guiding programs in Big 5 Safari areas has become relatively commonplace. However, country-wide initiatives to standardize tour guiding in island nations is less common. That’s why the creation of the Sustainable Island Project is a needed innovation.
Making Mauritius, a Model of Sustainability and a Green Destination
At the launch, the EU Ambassador to Mauritius said this:
Since 1968 “Mauritius is independent for 50 years, 5 decades of economic growth with tourism playing a large part in that… [With] arrivals expected to hit 1.41 million tourists in 2018…these visitors translate into…foreign direct investment and job creation.” (photo – Xavier Coiffic-unsplash)
“But, we must understand both sides of the tourism coin: the economic side and the environmental side. The need to innovate and grow, and the need to preserve and protect. The need to go green, without going into the red…Badly planned tourism risks depleting biodiversity, degrading land and polluting the seas.”
The EU Ambassador to Mauritius is also ambassador to the Seychelles, the source of innovative funding for conservation, coined Debt for Dolphins, earlier this year. To read more about what it means to swap Debt for Dolphins, you can do that here. Will the overlap between ambassadorship and governance lead to just as promising innovation in this second Small Developing Island State of Mauritius?
What To See In Mauritius?
Officially called the Republic of Mauritius, the nation comprises the main islands of Mauritius and Rodriques plus the outer islands of Agalega and St Brandon. Together the islands have a land area of just over 2000 sq km (790 sq mi) situated across the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean.
Historically the islands were ruled by the Dutch, the French and then the British until attaining independence in 1968. The multiethnic, multicultural and multi-religious nature of the people reflects this diverse history. (photo – Jared Rice-unsplash)
Today nearly half of the 1,262,132 inhabitants (2016 estimate) are Hindu and the primary language is English.
Planning a Dive trip to Mauritius?
Mauritius is fortunate to already have a resource for qualifying the sustainability of tour operators, guides and accommodations. Mauritius Conscious is an internet platform and travel company created by two young professionals joining their skills in digital marketing and the development of sustainable tourism.
Romina and Gerald established the Conscious Travel Assessment that evaluates travel providers using 12 criteria covering environmental, social, economic and ethical aspects and “to validate their efforts towards sustainability.”
Mauritius Conscious publishes a blog asking important questions, such as the “challenges to sustainable tourism in Mauritius.” Including the island’s lack of adequate waste management. And what is the appropriate carrying power of the island’s tourism infrastructure? For a nation with a population just over 1.25 million, are 1.41 million tourists annually sustainable?
The travel side of Mauritius Conscious offers tour options as diverse as scuba diving, rock climbing and exploring the gastronomy of this diverse island. All these travel options adhere to their Sustainable Travel Policy. Romina and Gerald want you to know that they direct a minimum of 15% of revenue into local micro-enterprises and NGOs.
UN World Tourism Day
The goals of companies like Mauritius Conscious and government entities like the Ministry of Tourism with their Sustainable Island Project and Tour Guiding Certification program fit with the UN’s theme for this year’s World Tourism Day. What is the theme? “Innovation” with a focus on the transformative technology of the digital age to further growth with greater sustainability in tourism.
We encourage you to look to digital marketplaces, like Mauritius Conscious, that offer a more boutique and niche sustainable trip to match your lifestyle to your ideals. Also, remember that innovation in the form of relationship, how we create networks that share knowledge, best practices, and tools for becoming blue-green will help us all move into a better future. World Tourism website.
Find out more on this global event and how it was celebrated around the world at the World Tourism website.
By Robert Frerck and Caitlin Flannery, Blue Ocean Network
See These Related Blue Ocean Articles:
How To Get More Ocean-Hearted Intel Delivered To Your Inbox!
We believe ocean lovers can change the world. If you care about the health of the ocean and want to do something about it, then connect with the Blue Ocean tribe: Our growing community of ocean change-makers is turning ocean lovers into ocean leaders. It starts with you. Join us!