photo: Hazel Durand

It's the first time the BES-islands are included in the competion - photo: Hazel Durand

It’s the first time the BES-islands are included in the competition – photo: Hazel Durand

THE BOTTOM – Film crews from Germany’s TV show Terra X and a crew from the Discovery channel were on Saba this past weekend to gather promotional material. This serves as essential attention for Saba as the nomination of Saba for the status of Dutch National Park has sparked much needed interest in Saba again, following a decline in the local tourism industry.

Anticipating a big win for Saba the Saba Conservation Foundation, Saba Archaeological Center and the Public Entity Saba have already laid out a plan for what they intend to do with the 10,000 euros allocated as prize money in the “Most Beautiful Nature Area” of the Netherlands competition.

Saba Conservation Foundation Director Kai Wulf said in line with boosting tourism on the island major investments will be made to improving the overall infrastructure of Saba’s hiking trails and provisions in the marine industry.

He noted that suggestions from visitors to the island were very influential in coming up with a plan. He said visiting yachters for example have requested at the harbor water shuttle taxis, a small pantry, a standby mechanic and easier access to purchase fuel. Wulf noted that the foundation intends already to install additional, but larger and safer moorings for the super yachts.

The hiking trails have been a concern for hikers and already work has been done to improve the steps and this will continue. Also there are plans to set up a botanical garden.

In the diving industry Wulf said divers have requested for more diversified diving sites and the aim is to target niche markets for divers who enjoy tech diving and shark diving for example. Divers have also requested communal internet service on the harbor.

Saba’s submission into the competition was one of twenty entries that were submitted and was one of thirteen nominees who past the selection process. Now all efforts are being put into encouraging people near and far to vote for Saba. Wulf noted that Saba’s nomination is already serving as good publicity for the island. Wulf said amongst several calls, the team has been invited to the Dutch television program RTL to promote the island.

The other twelve nominees are: National Park Heuvelrug, National Park Oosterschelde, the Wadden area, NLDelta Biesbosch-Haringvliet, GrensparkLimburg, De Veluwe, National Park Drentsche Aa, Van Gogh National Park, the Frisian WIJlanden, Weerribben-Wieden, National Park Nieuw Land and National Park Hollandse Duinen.

The public voting closes on October 31, after which Dutch State Secretary of Economic Affairs Martijn van Dam will announce the three winners with the most public votes. The public can vote via this website.