A VIDEO REPORT BY BILL DIEM
The Republic of the Seychelles is a collection of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, 4 degrees south of the equator. The nation’s capital, Victoria, is located on Mahé, the largest island. Praslin and La Digue, the next largest islands, are nearby, and together they receive 350,000 tourists a year.
La Digue is a sort of country village. While Mahé has international flights and traffic jams and Praslin has a small airport, La Digue has a tiny port and a laid-back lifestyle. The country would like La Digue to be an exemplary example of ecotourism, where visitors enjoy the tropical environment without damaging it. Vision 2032, the government guideline for the island, says La Digue is prized by tourists and locals alike for its “pristine beauty, tranquility, culture and friendliness.”
In this mini-documentary, journalist Bill Diem focuses on the need for the government to be stalwart in its effort to exchange motor vehicles for electric vehicles and hybrids on La Digue, and to resist the entreaties of resort operators to motorize the roads that until recently were used by oxcarts and bicycles. The addition of many motor vehicles several years ago has changed the nature of La Digue and works against the goal of sustainable tourism. Commercial flights to the Seychelles are slated to resume on August 1 after being shut down for pandemic-containment measures.
Bill Diem, a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and Antioch College, contributes a weekly column to the Newberry News in Michigan, and he is learning to be a video journalist. For three decades, he was a print journalist best known for his coverage of technology and industrial strategy in the global automobile industry.