Sustainable Tourism Development on La Digue Island, Republic of Seychelles

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master Thesis
Title Sustainable Tourism Development on La Digue Island, Republic of Seychelles
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2004
Possible trade-offs between pretensions of the tourism sector on tropical islands and societal
requirements of sustainable development are examined for the case of the Seychelles’ island
La Digue within this master thesis. Tourism is the main economic factor on the Seychelles,
thanks to a unique marine and terrestrial ecosystem. Its tourism marketing is based on an
exclusive, unspoiled, three to five star destination. However, even if the Seychelles
government recognized the risk of destruction of the ecosystem since already 1980, there is
still no sign regarding a stop in tourist infrastructure construction.
This study uses La Digue Island as a case study to assess the ecological, economical and
social dimensions of sustainability of possible future tourism development states, with a
focus on the impacts of tourist infrastructure development. An emphasis of this study lies in
the involvement of the knowledge of a broad range of stakeholders, especially tourists and
local stakeholders.
A combination of transdisciplinary methods is applied in order to generate and assess
different consistent scenarios representing a possible tourism development of La Digue for
the year 2013 (+/- 3 years). A formative scenario analysis is carried out in this study.
Relevant impact factors are first identified with corresponding characteristic levels through
expert interviews, working groups and literature review. The characteristic levels of the
impact factors are then combined to give four different consistent scenarios of a possible
tourism development on La Digue Island. The evaluation of these scenarios is done using
the Multi-Attribute Utility Theory (MAUT). Data-based and stakeholder-based evaluation point
out differences between the scenarios in respect to their contribution to a sustainable
development of tourism on La Digue Island, by means of sustainability criteria and attributes,
which are weighted and aggregated together in an overall utility.
The four scenarios are labelled as: 1. Free Development, is representing a continuous
development of tourism infrastructures, 2. Authentic Creole Style is reflecting the promotion
of the traditional features of La Digue Island, 3. Nature Preservation is focussing on the
preservation of the natural environment and 4. Five-Star-Eco-Tourism follows the trends of
the Seychelles and specialises on the high-price segment. The results of both the databased
and the stakeholder based MAUT, are that scenario 3 shows the best overall utility
and is followed by scenario 2. Scenario 4 is ranked third and scenario 1 shows the lowest
utility. This ranking is found to be independent on the normalisation procedure of the attribute
values. The results of the stakeholder based evaluation add up significantly differences in the
evaluation of scenario 1: the stakeholder group «local community» gives to this scenario a
significantly higher utility than the stakeholder group «tourists». The three ecological criteria
are weighted the highest by the two stakeholder groups.
It is an outcome of this study that the construction of tourism accommodations would have
enormous direct and indirect effects on both the natural environment and the society. The
scenarios 2 and 3 reveal the highest potentials to achieve an economic success, while
preserving both the society and the natural environment. These two scenarios could then be
merged together for the final tourism strategy. This latter would then focus on nature
preservation and the promotion of a wide variety of low impact traditional and nature
orientated activities. The transdisciplinary methods used in this study are appropriate to
achieve system knowledge and to generate understanding of the dynamics between the
main impact factors related to a complex system as tourism development on La Digue.

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