Photo Credit: TN
We Love To See It: La Digue Is The Seychelles Island Resisting Urbanization & ‘Overtourism’
The popular travel hotspot La Digue is Seychelles’ island resisting overtourism and urbanization at all costs. The paradise island where bikes outnumber cars is the most accurate description for this African destination. Being only a 10-sq-km island, it is taking extra measures to preserve its pristine island and one rare bird species.
Of all the 115 islands in Seychelles, it is fair to say that La Digue is the most well-known. Anse Source d’Argent is even hailed as the most photographed beach in the world, it has all the elements to make it a haven for tourists and Hollywood filmmakers alike.
The true wonder though, is the lack of cars and the incredible way in which those local to the island have worked hard to resist a huge increase in traffic and urbanisation in general.
The island’s vehicle count currently stands at 60. This admirable small count is even a sizeable increase from the 1980s when the island had only 10. For many, traveling by bike has always been a way of life and so a car truly is unnecessary.
The minimal car count is largely down to the fact that it is illegal to own a car unless it provides a public service. The rise in tourism does correspond quite obviously to the rise in cars on La Digue.
“With more vehicles on La Digue, that aspect of tranquillity, quietness, relaxation will no longer be there. And that will definitely have a great impact on La Digue itself, its tourism, its environment, and its ecosystem,” shared Patrick Andre, the Seychelles’ Principal Secretary of Transport.
Protecting Tradition and Natural Resources in La Digue
Conservationists have also warned that potential further development could impact the natural habitat of endangered species on the island, such as the Seychelles Black Paradise Flycatcher, known as the Vev in Seychelles’ Creole.
La Digue has even instituted a moratorium on building new tourism establishments until 2023, in an effort to preserve the natural resources throughout the island. “If we really want La Digue to remain one of the gems of Seychelles, we have to be able to, at this point, start controlling, monitoring development on the island,” said Sherin Francis, Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board.
There are even conversations to further efforts to make the island the eco-capital of Seychelles by leaning into more traditional forms of transport such as ox-cart operator; there is currently only one left on the island.