March 2017 – North Island, Seychelles has won the prestigious National Geographic World Legacy Awards in the category of Conserving the Natural World, announced at a ceremony at ITB in Berlin on 8 March 2017. This honour recognises North Island as a leader in sustainable tourism for 2017, highlighting its outstanding support for the conservation of nature, restoring natural habitats and protecting rare and endangered species.
North Island MD, Bruce Simpson (left) with Wilderness Safaris Chief Sales Officer, Dave Bennett (right) at the Wilderness Safaris stand at ITB Berlin; Bruce accepting the National Geographic World Legacy Award for Conserving the Natural World; and Bruce with the finalists in the Conserving the Natural World category (left) and Costas Christ, Chairman of National Geographic World Legacy Awards (right)
“We are thrilled to have received this significant endorsement from both National Geographic and ITB – it certainly inspires us to continue offering high-end ecotourism that is both authentic and sustainable at the same time. Whilst we are proud of our various conservation successes at North Island, there remains a great deal of work to be done and we remain deeply committed to driving our Noah’s Ark Island Rehabilitation Programme forwards”, said North Island MD, Bruce Simpson.
Since 1997, North Island has demonstrated that it is possible to operate a commercially successful, high-end tourism business in a remote and fragile environment in a way that not only actively rehabilitates the Island environment, but makes a positive difference to its indigenous biodiversity. Now well into its second decade, the Noah’s Ark project has seen substantial progress towards restoring North Island to its original natural glory, and safeguarding the granitic island ecosystem. According to National Geographic, “The Result: many indigenous wildlife species have returned or been successfully reintroduced, including the Seychelles Sunbird, the Endangered Seychelles White-Eye, as well as both green and hawksbill turtles”.
The National Geographic World Legacy Awards showcase the leading travel and tourism companies, organisations and destinations driving the sustainable tourism transformation of the global travel industry. This year’s award entries spanned the planet, representing 45 countries and six continents, showcasing how sustainable tourism has no boundaries. The multi-step judging process also included on-site inspections of each finalist.
Costas Christ, Chairman of National Geographic World Legacy Awards, said, “We have reached a tipping point as more of the travel industry understands that there can be no future for tourism without sustainability, including environmentally-friendly business practices, protection of cultural and natural heritage, and tangible social and economic benefits to local people in travel destinations. Those countries and companies that understand this today will be the travel leaders of tomorrow. The World Legacy Award winners and finalists are showing the way forward to a brighter future for people and the planet.”
Notes to Editor
About Wilderness Safaris: www.wilderness-safaris.com
Wilderness Safaris is Africa’s leading authentic and sustainable ecotourism operator, specialising in memorable wildlife experiences in some of the most remote and pristine areas in Africa. In this way it offers its guests private access to almost three million hectares of Africa’s finest wildlife reserves, while remaining fiercely committed to protecting our planet’s precious natural and cultural resources.
Wilderness Safaris operates camps and safaris in some of Africa’s best wildlife and wilderness reserves across eight countries: Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Wilderness Safaris is deeply committed to its 4Cs sustainability ethos of Commerce, Community, Culture and Conservation. It firmly believes that its single most important achievement to date is to have built a sustainable business model that does not compromise environmental principles and which provides jobs, training, skills, careers, adjusted horizons, hope and a realistic alternative to less sustainable development.
Recognising that conservation is as much about people as about the environment, the company has pursued important goals through its Children in the Wilderness programme, as well as through the Wilderness Wildlife Trust, which have helped change the face of nature-based tourism in Africa.
Wilderness Safaris is part of Wilderness Holdings, a group of responsible ecotourism companies that together endeavour to use responsible tourism to build sustainable conservation economies in Africa.
About North Island: www.north-island.com
North Island is Africa’s most exclusive private island, situated 30km from the main island of Mahé, Seychelles. Extremely secluded with only 11 spacious guest villas, North Island is renowned for its luminous white beaches, filigree reefs and azure Indian Ocean.
North Island offers an unrivalled experience where luxury, bespoke service and a generous all-inclusive offering combine to give guests the ultimate privacy and exclusivity. On land or in water, the choices on North Island are many and varied – from cool forest trails and mountain biking to snorkelling, diving, kayaking, fishing expeditions and romantic sunset boat cruises.
North Island is a sanctuary where natural habitats, long neglected, were rehabilitated so that endangered Seychelles fauna and flora could be reintroduced and given a place to grow and thrive.