The Vallee de Mai special reserve is the most visited natural site in Seychelles. (Gerard Larose)
Two reserves on Seychelles’ Praslin island – Fond Ferdinand and Vallee de Mai – have won the Tripadvisor 2023 Travellers’ Choice Awards for August based on 2022 traveller reviews.
The coveted award celebrates destinations that have consistently received great traveller reviews on Tripadvisor over the last 12 months, placing them among the top 10 percent of all listings on the platform globally.
In a recent press statement, the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), which manages the two reserves, said that in 2022 Vallee de Mai welcomed 106,356 visitors while Fond Ferdinand Reserve received 17,110 visitors.
“These visitor statistics reflect the genuine appeal and universal allure of both sites, marking a significant step forward in the Seychelles’ journey towards post-pandemic recovery,” said SIF.
SIF’s chief executive Frauke Fleischer-Dogley said, “We are over the moon that both sites have been recognised with awards, specifically since this is the first Tripadvisor award for Fond Ferdinand. I will personally congratulate the team on this achievement. This is testimony that our team both on and off site possess the know-how to not only manage established tourism sites, but also to develop the tourism potential of a site.”
John Boris, chief growth officer at Tripadvisor, has congratulated the two reserves for their achievement.
“The travel resurgence we’ve seen throughout the past year has even further heightened the competition. Earning a Travellers’ Choice Award demonstrates that Fond Ferdinand and Vallee de Mai have provided great experiences to those who matter most: your guests. With changing expectations, continued labor shortages, and rising costs, this is no easy feat, and I am continually impressed with the hospitality industry’s resilience and ability to adapt. Cheers to another successful year,” he said.
|SIF assumed the responsibility for Fond Ferdinand in September 2020. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY|
The Vallee de Mai Special Reserve also won the 2023 Experts’ Choice Award, an accolade based on professional reviews.
Experts’ Choice Awards are based on more than one million reviews from travel guides, magazines, newspapers and other respected sources and less than 2 percent of venues and attractions globally receive an award.
“Having also been awarded the Experts’ Choice award for the Vallee de Mai recognises our commitment to professionalism in tourism. However, we will not stop here, our next step is to scrutinise our tourism operations towards sustainability, not only for our sites but to contribute to a more sustainable tourism industry for the whole of the Praslin community,” said Fleischer-Dogley.
With positive reviews from publications such as Lonely Planet and Atlas Obscura, the Vallee de Mai is featured on Tripexpert.com as one of the best attractions in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
The site manager of Vallee de Mai and Fond Ferdinand, Marc Jean-Baptiste extended his heartfelt congratulations to the hardworking staff of both sites for their unwavering dedication, diligence, and loyalty.
“These awards stand as a testament to their exceptional efforts. I am profoundly proud to lead such an extraordinary team that is truly making a positive impact in the Praslin community. Moreover, by providing our esteemed visitors with a once-in-a-lifetime experience at these two outstanding natural wonders of the Seychelles. Thank you for your commitment and contribution to these remarkable achievements,” Jean-Baptiste.
The Vallee de Mai special reserve is one of Seychelles’ UNESCO World Heritage sites and is where the endemic coco de mer grows in its natural state and is the most visited natural site in Seychelles. It receives around 115,000 visitors per year.
In September 2020, SIF assumed the responsibility for Fond Ferdinand and extended its conservation mandate to one of Praslin’s and Seychelles’ most cherished protected areas.