Victoria, Mahe (Seychelles) – August 1, 2017 (travelindex.com) – Whether the masses realize it yet or not, Seychelles is facing challenging economic times. The latest commentary from key individuals about the state of our country’s economy is that we are “on the road to a recession”. In a recent edition of the Today Newspaper of Seychelles, the respected financial personality, Malika Jivan, took the trouble to address the situation on hand. She was quoted stating, “…our economy has been contracting. A slowdown in various sectors, no FDI, has had a domino effect on the economy. In text book terms, we are in a recession. Consumers cut spending, business cut payroll to cope with falling earnings.”
No Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in the country is a serious problem. Construction companies have confirmed the lack of big projects at the moment in Seychelles. At the same time, our cost of living has not been adjusted to improve the lives of those in the lower wage bracket. On the contrary, the cost of living is increasing.
This year our Nation’s budget was approved by the National Assembly, after a series of drawn-out and exhaustive debates. For the first time in Seychelles’ political history, the majority of seats in the Assembly is held by members of the Opposition. The budget for 2017, therefore, has had the blessing of our elected representatives. We are now midyear and patiently waiting to see results.
Malika Jivan proposes a series of measures, including a commitment to business, to stimulate FDIs, and for Government to be a facilitator of business. She notes that FOREX earning businesses and exports should be encouraged. One such FOREX earning business in Seychelles is undoubtedly tourism. Are we ensuring they have their needed staffing contingent? Are we running to ensure the marketing of the islands is receiving all the budgetary assistance required? The goose that lays the golden egg needs to be nurtured with care and attention. Negative political agendas must be left out of tourism if we want this vital industry to succeed.
Last week we saluted the youth of Seychelles for being committed to saving Seychelles from itself. The positive feedback we have since obtained from the youth has been overwhelming. You are a force to be reckoned with and must continue to make your voices heard. We also need to acknowledge the efforts of those who have launched campaigns to collect accumulated rubbish from Grand Police and the beaches. You are not just talking, which is easy to do, but you are actively striving to protect and preserve our environment, and to keep our beaches as pristine as the holiday brochures say they are.
The tourism trade fair season is just around the corner once again, and as visitor arrival figures show, Italy and France need special attention. The tourism industry’s survival in Seychelles largely depends on air connectivity, but it also depends on our efforts in tapping into key markets. We may find ourselves witnessing sporadic cancellations of flights or discontinuation of air services if our target markets start fading away. The French Tourism Trade Fair will need a special push with private sector participation now that French elections are over and done with. The ball is very much in our court.
Turning Tourism Blue
Small Island Developing States (SIDS), like the Seychelles, rely enormously on tourism for economic growth. Particularly, travelers choose to visit SIDS mainly because of the ocean which surrounds these places, and the many activities associated therewith. The oceans also provide sustenance, protection, and financial income through fishing to the habitants of these places. The oceans give SIDS their identity. Seychelles, like many other SIDS, are considered as ‘ocean states’ mainly due to the fact that they have an Exclusive Economic Zone exponentially larger than their land mass. This fact also makes SIDS much more vulnerable to overfishing, pollution, and climate change.
For this reason, ‘sustainable’ methods are now being embraced by SIDS. Seychelles, in many ways, has taken the lead in sustainable development. Many local touristic establishments have taken it upon themselves to introduce sustainable initiatives, such as using glass bottles instead of plastic, recycling organic waste from their kitchens to produce compost for in-house vegetable gardens, embracing research and science to promote coastal protection and attractions through activities, such as coral growing, and offering a hands-on approach to visitors through nature tours, both on land and underwater.
Tourism competitiveness in the long term is closely linked to the ‘sustainable’ way in which it is developed. Moreover, being a transversal sector, tourism is interrelated with other economic sectors and other maritime activities, which is why it is necessary to consider tourism from an inter-sectorial perspective. Tourism establishments that promote sustainable tendencies are fast becoming one of the most sought-after enterprises by travelers. Sustainable development in the tourism industry is not only showing economic benefits, but also community and socio-economic linkages being formed, cultural preservation being established, and educational awareness to both local and international visitors being promoted.
2017 marks the international year for sustainable tourism. Let the world know how your tourism establishment is being sustainable by contacting our Consultancy team for your chance to be featured in our Report.
Sea Planes in the Indian Ocean
Countries in the Indian Ocean which are so dependent on tourism to bolster the economy recognise the importance of finding ways to increase the yield from tourism. However, a country’s yield from tourism will always be through activities and facilities available for tourists to enjoy over and above the hotels where they stay and the meals they eat.
Riaz Nassurally, an E-Tourism Consultant and Social Media Marketing Director of Mauritius, posted an article recently that should open the eyes of Seychelles and other tourism destinations which have not yet embarked upon the seaplane crusade.
“Experience the overwhelming play of colours in the lagoons, with a little luck, discover turtles, rays, barracudas or outside of the reef dolphins and whales. All the beauty of Mauritius opened you up through the lagoons. See a play of colours that you will not forget.”
Mauritius, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Mombassa and Zanzibar are all capitalising on the ocean surrounding them to increase their yield from tourism. Maldives has the biggest fleet of sea planes in the world, but Seychelles has none at all.
A few years ago, a company called ‘Sea Wings’ approached Seychelles to set up shop there and offer excursions and guest transfers to and from hotels and the airport. Seychelles at the time did not have any regulations in place to accommodate this innovative attraction to the island’s tourism industry, and accordingly turned down the exciting offer.
Island States must use their resources to increase their yield from tourism. Today we speak widely of the Blue Economy; sea planes form part of activities arising from the Blue Economy. I was fortunate enough to fly in a sea plane in the Maldives. It was an unforgettable experience, and one which I will not likely forget in a hurry. Likewise, tourists too would undoubtedly cherish a similar experience in other island nations, including Seychelles.
Reunion Tourism Federation meets the Seychelles Tourism Board through the Vanilla Islands
The Vanilla Islands organised a meeting recently between the Reunion Tourism Federation and the Seychelles Tourism Board to discuss a joint project in areas of cooperation between the two sister islands.
Points discussed centred on knowing and understanding the islands, the strategies pertaining to the method of welcoming tourists at key arrival points on each island, the sharing and analysing of information, and the formulating of steps to improve the use of foreign languages.
This bilateral meeting between Reunion and Seychelles falls under the mandate of the Vanilla Islands MOU signed between the two islands’ Tourism Authorities. It is hoped that other Member States of the Indian Ocean grouping will also move to benefit from such bilateral projects with the aim of consolidating tourism in the Indian Ocean Zone.
A win for Seychelles
The Seychelles contestant has won the sought-after Photogenic Model title at the Top Model of the World 2017 Pageant held in El Gouna, Egypt, on 14th July.
Naomy King, the 17-year-old contestant, was chosen to represent Seychelles by Joelle Fabre, Director of the Corel Models Seychelles agency. King ranked fourth at the end of the international competition, an impressive feat.
The Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Mrs. Sherin Francis, stated, “We are proud of Naomy’s achievement, her win is also a win for Seychelles. I would like to congratulate her and her mentor for this.”
Fabre was quoted saying, “In spite of her timidity, she was able to use her perfect height and photogenic face to her advantage.”
The Top Model of the World Pageant is organized by the World Beauty Organisation annually. This was Seychelles’ third participation in the competition. In 2009, Nathalie Domingue represented Seychelles on this international platform, winning the Best Catwalk award.
Ukraine’s Julia Gershun was crowned Top Model of the World 2017, ahead of the contestants from San Andres and Mexico.
Saint Ange Consultancy in Indonesia
Saint Ange Consultancy has been whisked away to the exotic shores of Indonesia this week. Alain St.Ange is on an organised familiarisation visit which started in Jakarta and moved to Balikapapan, Tenggarong, Samarinda, Berau, Derawan Island, Maratua, Kakaban and Sangalaki.
Alain St.Ange was given a tour of the “Taman Mini Indonesia Raya”, a site that is said to be beautiful Indonesia in a miniature park. He was able to appreciate from his visit the unique allure and culture of this wonderful country.
Mr Emil Siwi, expert of Foreign Affairs Relation of the Government of South Lampung Regency, guided Alain St.Ange on this tour.
“I am honoured to be in Indonesia and discussing tourism with different key stake holders,” Alain St.Ange said to the gathered press in Jakarta. This week he also met with Lin Yumiyanti and Fitraya Ramadhanny of Detikcom news media of Indonesia, which is the largest news organisation of Indonesia. Discussions with the Editor in Chief centred on the possibility for news featured in the Saint Ange Tourism Report to be reposted in Indonesia.
Vanilla Islands meeting in Comoros
The Vanilla Islands led a fact-finding mission to the Comoros recently with the aim of strengthening the Island’s tourism industry. The Comoros had taken over the presidency of the Indian Ocean Vanilla islands in December 2016.
The Comoros’ tourism industry supported by the island’s Arts and Craft players met the different representatives of foreign embassies who were all on the islands. These included representatives from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, China amongst others to discuss the possibility of investments.
The Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands, with Pascal Viroleau as its CEO, continue to work with the six islands (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Reunion and Seychelles) of the Indian Ocean to create much needed visibility for this tourism region and to push for island holiday packages.