The Vanilla Islands play a major and essential role in terms of promoting the islands of the South-West Indian Ocean, and also in promoting and supporting the preservation of its environment and its authenticity.
Respect for the principles of sustainable development is an important challenge that is embedded in the values of the association. It is within a sustainable tourism development framework that we committed ourselves to performing such activities as the design and promotion of inter-island combined ecotourism product clusters.
Sustainable development – at the heart of the Vanilla Islands’ strategy
Respect for the objectives of sustainable development
The association subscribes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly and especially to Goal 13 on measures to combat climate change. They are at the heart of our thinking in order to promote the emergence of a more environmentally friendly method of operation.
Integrate sustainable development into its strategies
The islands are only accessible by air or by sea, however, carbon dioxide emissions for these modes of transport are extremely high, with this gas responsible for global warming.
In the context of ever increasing air and sea traffic, it is vital that the Vanilla Islands integrate the fight against climate change when orienting their strategies. The promotion of inter-island clusters is a concrete example of practices that reduce environmental impacts.
Lead by example
We adhere to the global code of ethics for tourism, a fundamental reference framework. http://ethics.unwto.org/content/global-code-ethics-tourism
In our day-to-day internal operations, efforts are made to comply with the medium- and long-term vision, which includes sustainable development. We also engage with other islands across the world and international authorities to disseminate information and actively participate in the sustainable development of small island states.
The Vanilla Islands, committed to the development of sustainable tourism
Encourage the creation of sustainable inter-island clusters
Travelling to long distance destinations results in significant impacts on the environment. The remoteness of the emitting markets thus represents an ecological brake which the islands of the Indian Ocean cannot do without. As tourism accounts for a very significant share of revenues, it was therefore vital to find ways to reduce the environmental impact while ensuring that the greatest number of economic benefits are available.
We took a gamble that customers would be interested in visiting several islands on the one trip. This allows for :
– people not having to travel there several times, thus reducing the carbon impact of their travels
– the benefits to be shared while being more strongly in favour of travel
– the economic benefits to be shared between the islands (the most well known or attractive ones help those that are less so)
Focusing on the creation of clusters based on sustainable tourism allows for :
– the promotion of a larger portion of actors in the tourism sector
– the discovery of nature, the environment, cultures and populations
– ensuring a minimum level of respect for the environment
For example, in partnership with the Union of Chambers of Commerce of the Indian Ocean Islands and the French Development Agency, we identified the existing ecotourism offering across the six Vanilla Islands. We then selected 11 responsive agencies which worked together to produce about thirty clusters, while respecting the values of ecotourism.