Miami, Punta Cana, and Italy all have beautiful beaches that are known throughout the world.
They do, however, have one more thing in common- they are overrun with tourists.
You may have given up on the private beach experience where you can walk along shores of white sand without tripping over a thousand people working on their tan, but there is still one place that has exactly what you’re looking for.
The Republic of Seychelles is an African country off the eastern coast in the Indian Ocean.
Each one of it’s 115 islands are exquisite, offering turquoise waters, white sand, and an authentic islander experience.
How have these islands not become victim to mass tourism like many other popular exotic destinations?
The government is conscious of tourism’s ecological impact and have put safeguards in place to prevent the destruction of their valued islands.
A delicate balance has to be struck, because tourism is a major source of income for the struggling nation, making up more than 60% of the GDP in the Seychelles.
Beautiful landscape and unique wildlife have given Seychelles an edge, which is why it is the only African country to be considered “high income” by the World Bank.
Nareen, 32, is a Seychelloise, and works on a luxury yacht when she is not spending the day at the beach with her family.
“We don’t have mass tourism in Seychelles, and that’s great. That is how we want it,” says Nareen, according to Yahoo News.
On the Mahe Island, where only a couple of tourists can be seen past where Nareen’s family is playing in the cool waters, you can hear reggae music on the radio as locals grill the popular snapper fish.
“More tourists means it’s better for the economy, but it’s not the only thing that comes into play,” Nareen says.
After the 2008 economic crisis, Europe brought in high-end tourism that rose Seychelles from the dust.
Now, 360,000 tourists, which is four times the country’s entire population, enjoy the sunshine not blocked by thousands of monotone umbrellas.
The small country thinks they may need to put a cap on the amount of visitors they continue letting in.
While they figure out how many tourists they can realistically accommodate they are prohibiting construction on large resorts on the islands of Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue; keeping the profits in the hands of the locals.
On some of the other smaller islands the government has placed a “one island, one resort” policy.
“It’s about controlling the number of tourists that come here, through controlling the number of rooms in the hotels that exist,” Tourism Minister Didier Dogley told AFP.
Later this year, 30% of Seychelles’ 1.3 million square km of marine territory will have protected status under arrangements with conservation groups who have agreed to pay a portion of their national debt.
Nirmal Shah, executive director of environmental NGO Nature Seychelles, said they are working to prevent Seychelles from becoming an “eyesore” like many European beaches, according to AFP.
It’s nice to find a destination that gives you the perfect getaway without all the tourist attractions that take away from the experience.
Getting to the beautiful MAIA luxury resort on the island of Mahe where you can wake to palm trees outside your window and the sound of waves crashing nearby may be just what you need during a dreary winter.