In what’s being hailed around the world as an agreement of historic proportions, officials from Mauritius and Seychelles recently signed a treaty binding the two Indian Ocean nations together in managing the continental shelf in their region. The agreement, which was signed during a March 12 ceremony, means the two nations will now work together to manage an area of the sea floor equivalent to just under 400,000 km2. What makes the agreement so significant is the fact that it is the first of its kind to be reached between the two countries without the need for arbitration or some other sort of assistance.
Present at the signing ceremony were Mauritian Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam and a Seychelles president James Michel. Both commented on the need for the two countries to faithfully manage the “blue economy” in order to conserve natural resources, protect the ocean’s wildlife, and properly develop the tourist economies of both countries without causing any adverse harm. They believe the joint effort will also be good culturally and socially, as the peoples of their two nations are bound together with a common goal.
In a related side note, Mauritian officials praised Seychelles for her political and social reforms aimed at encouraging Seychellois to take personal responsibility for their country. The Seychelles government has been working hard over the last 8 to 10 months to encourage private enterprise, private nature conservation, and so on. Mauritius hopes to adopt similar policies in the near future as a means of reaping the same benefits now being seen in Seychelles.
Despite the expressions of mutual admiration however, the two countries continue to be fierce competitors for tourism revenues. All inclusive Mauritius holidays have been the leader of the pack in region for a long time; a fact of life is not likely to change any time soon. Mauritius has not only beautiful natural resources like crystal clear waters, beautiful tropical gardens, and plenty of white sand, but she also has the strongest economy, best infrastructure, and most stable political environment. All of these things combine to help boost tourism.
Mauritius is a haven for both families and couples. Families come for their annual holidays to enjoy things like water skiing, deep sea fishing, biking and hiking, and so on. Couples love Mauritius because of the great beach weddings and honeymoon packages available from most of the luxury five star resorts. And recently resorts have been courting all types of travellers by promoting golf on the island. Mauritius has no fewer than eight championship level courses providing instruction and play in one of the most naturally stunning environments in the world.
All eyes will be on Mauritius and Seychelles in the coming years to see how their new treaty benefits them both. At the very least it should mean more care is paid to the blue economy which will end up befitting the entire area.