The Alphonse Atoll is one of the outlying islands in the Seychelles archipelago. It is also one of several atolls in the Seychelles formed almost entirely from coral. The Alphonse Atoll belongs to the Alphonse Group, which also contains the St. Francis Atoll. The total population of the Alphonse Atoll is just over 100 permanent residents, all of whom live on Alphonse Island. The residents are primarily employed by the island's tourism industry and the Alphonse Airport. Alphonse is one of the Seychelles' tourist-friendly islands, and most visitors who stay there go to the Alphonse Hotel. The atoll is also a naturally beautiful place, and its unique plant and animal life and ecosystems have prompted conservationists to set aside sections of land for preservation.
Like other Seychelles atolls, Alphonse has been largely uninhabited by humans throughout history. However, it is one of the most accessible of the Seychelles islands, which has made it a frequent stopping area for expeditions. Portuguese explorers documented visits to the atoll in the mid 1500s, and they were followed shortly after by the French. British expeditions discovered the area in the 1700s, and the British government eventually laid claim to the Seychelles. After falling under British rule from 1794 to 1810, the Seychelles became an independent nation in 1976. The various groups stopping through the island over time have created an ethnically diverse population on Alphonse with East African, Indian, French, and Creole bloodlines. While Alphonse no longer attracts tradesmen and explorers, it attracts visitors wanting to experience an exotic tropical vacation. Today, tourism has joined fishing and business on Alphonse as a prosperous economic activity. A resort was built on Alphonse in the late 1990s, and the island's sole plantation, once privately owned, was purchased for development of a luxury hotel in 2007.
Alphonse is one place in the Seychelles where human and natural life peacefully co-exist. The Island Conservation Society, which is the atoll's active conservation organization, manages the preserved lands and monitors ecosystems across the island. Alphonse is one of the most popular destinations in the Seychelles for migratory birds, and it is therefore an attractive vacation spot for birders. House sparrows, tufted ducks, red knot, common waxbill, and wedge-tailed shearwater are some bird species that reside on Alphonse.