Oldest Denis Island resident turns 120: A Seychelles tourism attraction

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New Year’s Day on Denis island is not solely about ringing in another year – it also marks the birthday of one of our most famous island residents. Toby, the oldest giant tortoise on the island, celebrated his 120th birthday on 1st January, with a little help from Denis staff and guests alike.

The team from the kitchen and gardens prepared a giant tortoise-sized “fruit pie” for Toby to share with his family and friends in the spacious tortoise park where they reside. “The guests loved the chance to interact with the island’s oldest resident,” Denis Island Resident Manager Werner du Preez said. “Toby’s become a bit of a celebrity.”

Seychelles is home to the world’s largest population of giant tortoises, with at least 150,000 believed to be interspersed throughout the archipelago’s 115 islands. Most of the giant tortoises are native to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll.

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Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.