Heritage Resorts protects its lagoon - one of the most pristine in Mauritius

A study conducted by the NGO Reef Conservation and partially funded by Heritage Resorts has revealed that Bel Ombre’s lagoon is one of the best preserved on the island. As part of its sustainable development plan for the region, the hotel brand together with other seaside resorts have agreed to comply with the NGO’s recommendations in order to preserve the natural landscape.

For the last ten years, the coastline of Bel Ombre has undergone major developments, with the implantation of several hotel properties. Heritage Resorts has been active in environmental conservation for many years and through different initiatives. Jacques Charles, the COO of Group, points out: “We have been committed to the protection of our environment for many years now, with a double mission: raising our staff’s awareness within the group and conveying a culture of environmental friendliness in the neighbouring villages. We have also taken concrete steps such as the progressive elimination of plastic bottles, the installation of solar panels and the use of LED energy-saving light bulbs.”

 

Human-related threats

Preservation of the lagoon of Bel Ombre

 

The study provides a detailed survey of Bel Ombre’s lagoon, which will allow Heritage Resorts and other hotels to take more efficient actions towards its preservation. REEF’s research team has identified several major habitats, including four coral sites and 20 hectares of sea grass bed around the mouth of Rivière Citronniers, as well as 70 fish species and a high percentage of live corals. The collected data also include precisions on sea currents, water PH and saltiness, and the composition of the coral patches. While natural threats are small, those related to human activity are much more significant. The study highlights the damages caused by power boats, scuba-diving and people stepping on corals. The habitats (sea grass and corals) located near the shore and corals found around boat traffic areas are the most affected.

 

Heritage Resorts steps into action

Water based activities

 

Like every seaside resort, Heritage Resorts’ hotels mostly use the lagoon for their water-based activities. It was thus crucial to find solutions to reduce the impact of such activities on Bel Ombre’s marine ecosystem. For a better management of the lagoon, REEF Conservation has set goals, such as reducing the impact of watersports on undersea wildlife, developing environment-friendly leisure offers, and a better communication on how the marine ecosystems work. To meet these goals, Heritage Resorts and other hotels in the region agreed to follow the NGO’s recommendations: delimited speed zones, removal of waterskiing from their list of activities, permission for scuba-diving and motor boats on high tide only, the creation of undersea trails and a handbook on the lagoon for hotel guests to read…

Hotels in Bel Ombre are invited to comply with these best practices for the sake of the lagoon, the coast and all ecosystems in the region… while ensuring their guests the privilege to enjoy a natural, serene and preserved environment.

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