A UNESCO World Heritage site in Seychelles -- the Vallee de Mai -- has nabbed the Tripadvisor Travellers' Choice Award for 2020, putting the site among the top 10 global attractions.
The chief executive of the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), Frauke Fleischer-Dogley, said she is extremely proud of the team at the Vallée de Mai whose work led to such a prestigious award and which to her knowledge is a first in Seychelles.
"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 into more tourism opportunities for the Praslin community at large," said Fleischer-Dogley.
Fleischer-Dogley added that "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."
The Vallee de Mai, located on the second-most populated island of Praslin, is home to the world's largest nut - the unique coco de mer - and the endemic Black Parrot. It is the most-visited natural site in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
Tripadvisor's chief commercial officer, Kanika Soni, said in a statement that "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, but they are also a great source of inspiration for travellers as the world begins to venture out again," said Soni.
SIF said that although 2020 is a catastrophic year for global tourism, with the island nation being particularly affected, such news is heartening and hopefully helps attract tourists to not only the Vallée de Mai but Praslin and Seychelles as a whole.
The foundation added that with the site's new booking system going cashless, enhanced health and safety measures and safe tourism label, SIF feels that Seychelles' most-visited natural attraction is better prepared to navigate the uncertain times.
The Vallee de Mai 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."
Jean-Baptiste said that 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."
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