Assisting with renewal of visitor engagement for World Heritage Sites
Last week Marie was in the Seychelles with staff of the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF). SIF is a government organisation tasked with protecting and engaging people with two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Vallee de Mai and Aldabra Atoll.
We have been asked to help staff of SIF identify improvements to the visitor experience at the Vallee de Mai site, which is an ancient palm forest on Praslin island and home to the Coco de Mer, which has the world’s largest seed. In just a couple of days, we reviewed the existing interpretation along several trails through the forest and held a workshop with staff to discuss options for developing additional interpretation. This will include the redesign of an education room, which will be developed into an interpretation centre open to all visitors, engaging them with the stories of the Vallee de Mai but also with the conservation work on Aldabra Atoll. Aldabra is home to the world’s largest population of giant tortoises. The island is so remote that only a handfull of researchers have access to it. The new interpretation will help to bring some of the special qualities of this second World Heritage site closer to the visitors on the main islands of the Seychelles.