Seychelles’ Tourism pondering new heritage project

SIGNAL HILL ON MAHE – REDISCOVERED

(Posted 14th August 2016)

(Many of the who is who of Seychelles’ tourism led by Minister Alain St. Ange)

The site of the old look-out and flag signalling station at the top of Signal Hill which overlooks Victoria has significant potential to become one of Seychelles most popular and visited sites alongside such other natural and cultural heritage sites as the Mission Ruins or Copolia. It has two of the most essential elements which make for a successful visitor attraction: The view and historical interest.

The popularity of a similar Signal Hill visitor attraction at Cape Town in South Africa as well as St. John in Newfoundland, Canada, is a good indication of how Victoria’s Signal Hill can also become one of the major heritage landmarks around the capital. Like the Seychelles own Signal Hill, the Cape Town and Newfoundland Signal Hill sites were also used as look-out posts and signalling station to communicate with port authorities below of the arrival of ships. Today both sites are landmark heritage attractions.

The interest of the local authorities of the district of Mont Buxton, of the Member of the National Assembly and the District Administration with the support and encouragement of the Minister of Tourism and Culture and the relevant affiliated bodies of the Ministry (Seychelles Heritage Foundation, Seychelles Tourism Board) as well as the involvement of Seychelles Port Authority can no doubt create a strong and necessary partnership to develop a sustainable and meaningful heritage project beneficial to the local community, to heritage preservation and to the further development of cultural tourism.

It was in this context that on Friday 5th August Minister St.Ange, the island’s Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture with a delegation of representatives of the relevant authorities made their way to the top of Signal Hill to have a first-hand view of what a successful project can entail and how a concerted effort involving the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Mont Buxton district authorities, the Seychelles Port Authority, the Seychelles Tourism Board as well as the Seychelles Heritage Foundation, can enhance the site into a main and long-lasting cultural tourism attraction both for our foreign and local visitors.

(View of Signal Hill on Mahe)

Following prior discussions with concerned parties including the Member of National Assembly for Mont Buxton, Miss Cheryl Vengadasamy and CEO of the Seychelles Port Authority, Mr Andre Ciseau, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture is confident that a very attractive but sustainable heritage project with a number of key components will be developed to bring out the historical significance of Signal Hill and the incredible views that it offers from the site of the old signal post.

It is felt that the following components can be integrated to make the project as meaningful and substantial as possible:

(1) Reinstallation of main features of the station: Signal masts/flags, look-out post, signalman’s accommodation etc…

(2) Enhancement of visitors’ trail from the housing estate area at the foot of the hill

(3) Development of visitors’ facilities and services by the Mont Buxton Community

(4) Possible provision for upgraded new access from the foot of the hill and above residential areas.

(5) Open photo exhibition on the history of Port Victoria including the role of Signal Hill at the Passenger Boat Terminal by the Seychelles Port authority.

Over the years there have been various efforts to maintain the site or its foot trail. However, as agreed by all concerned parties, more will have to be done in terms of visitor facilities and services, to make for a sustainable and popular attraction and promote Signal Hill as an essential landmark feature of Victoria to give visitors to the Seychelles yet another attraction to visit. For more information about Destination Seychelles click on www.seychelles.travel

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