Unesco World Heritage Site Vallée de Mai wins prestigious award | 09 September 2020
The Vallée de Mai, a Unesco World Heritage Site, has won the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Award for 2020, based on 2019 Traveller reviews.
This latest recognition builds on past achievements as bestowed by Tripadvisor and other travel reviewing bodies.
In light of this award the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), which administers the site, is already reflecting on World Tourism Day, celebrated on September 27, and is heartened by the high reviews of visitors to the Vallée de Mai.
In a communique, Kanika Soni, Tripadvisor’s chief commercial officer, stated: “Winners of the 2020 Travellers’ Choice Awards should be proud of this distinguished recognition. Although it’s been a challenging year for travel and hospitality, we want to celebrate our partners' achievements. Award winners are beloved for their exceptional service and quality. Not only are these winners well deserving, they are also a great source of inspiration for travellers as the world begins to venture out again.”
Although a catastrophic year for global tourism, with Seychelles particularly affected, such news is heartening and hopefully helps attract tourist to not only the Vallée de Mai, but Praslin and Seychelles as a whole.
Added with the site’s new booking system, refusal to accept cash payments, enhanced health and safety measures and safe tourism label, SIF feels that Seychelles’ most visited natural attraction is better prepared to navigate these uncertain times.
In receiving the news, Vallée de Mai’s site manager, Marc Jean-Baptiste, said, “This achievement reflects our team’s hard work and determination in protecting and managing this site’s outstanding universal values. It also shows the effort we are making to meet and exceed the expectations of our esteemed visitors while ensuring sustainability, as prioritised by ourselves and Unesco. So in all it’s very rewarding to receive and share this endorsement that signifies the team spirit and clearly shows that we are on the right path.”
Catherina Meriton, Vallée de Mai’s administration and accounts officer, added: “I am overjoyed by this major award that demonstrates outstanding team effort and diligence delivering an exceptional experience to our visitors. Chapeau to all of our team, we have truly made Seychelles proud!”
SIF’s chief executive, Dr Frauke Fleischer-Dogley, stated: “I am extremely proud of the Vallée de Mai team that is at the centre of winning such a prestigious award and to my knowledge this is a Seychelles first. At the same time we would like to share this award with our tourism partners in particular and I am convinced that the effects of the award will translate in more tourism opportunities for the Praslin community at large. This award is also testimony that in difficult times, as we are experiencing now, protected areas and their management have a crucial role to play in how to overcome crisis. This is also an opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to all involved and the guidance received that resulted for the Vallée de Mai to be certified a safe tourism operation, specifically from the Public Health Authority and the department of Tourism.”
The accompanying archive photos show visitors being guided on a tour of the Vallée de Mai.
Contributed by the SIF