How super-rich tourism may help the planet by Mark Easton
On a remote tropical island in the Indian Ocean, a man in a woman’s wig has been hiding in a bush for hours. Armed with an air rifle, he plans to kill the island’s last three surviving specimens of an exotic bird.
This, unlikely as it might appear, is the current front line in a conservation revolution.
“Normally, you see environment and development at each other’s necks,” the Seychelles tourism minister, Didier Dogley tells me. “Here we have pioneered an approach that turns it the other way round.”
The Seychelles model, as Mr Dogley calls it, claims tourist development doesn’t damage the environment, it positively improves it.
It sounds a little far-fetched. The demands of the global traveller can place a heavy footprint on the perfect white sands of a fragile eco-system like the Seychelles. For even the most responsible tour operator, it is usually a question of mitigating the damage…