Africa: Seychelles will prioritise local tourism players to stimulate growth

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Seychellois businesses in the field of tourism have been urging the Government of the Seychelles to efficiently identify and harness the tourism resources of the islands to create sustainable development for Seychelles.

This call is not new, but recently the tourism industry players have been meeting leaders to put their case on the need to consolidate tourism, the industry that remains the pillar of the Seychelles economy. Meetings with VP Meriton by some, and with Heads of Government Authorities by others and even going as far as having recourse to the Judiciary by a company are all taking place with the aim of stimulating growth in the Seychelles Tourism Industry instead of stifling the industry that Seychelles and the Seychellois people so depend on.

The 5-Room limit set for La Digue some years ago is being questioned as it is seen as an “economic strangulation” of establishments. The vertical integration regulation is seen as the blow now referred to as the “coup de grace” Seychellois entrepreneurs did not need over and above continuing rising costs in operation, shortage of staff and the bureaucracy that it entails to recruit foreign workers (one establishment citing up to a three months waiting period), and the waiting time for necessary authorisations for new developments even when the Authorities in Seychelles know that they should be on their knees to push for more local investments and also FDIs (Foreign Direct Investments).

Seychellois entrepreneurs in tourism such as Joe Albert and his son Guillaume, Kathy Mason and her son Alan, Mary Geers, Guy Savy of Bird Island, Gilbert Frichot and his partner Corola among others seem to have made the decision to task themselves with the commitment to continue to work for Seychelles to help prioritise the development of tourism in all its facets.

In Seychelles today abandoned and untapped tourist sites, properties and facilities are not improving the different villages’ economy and help Seychellois build a future for themselves and grow the country’s economy. Other serious investments and investors in the Seychelles such as the Raffles Seychelles of Praslin, H-Hotel of Beau Vallon Mahe, Club Liberte Casino at Four Seasons Seychelles and Avani Seychelles Barbarons Resorts and Spa among others are seen as examples of marrying foreign participation in an industry that is the pillar of a country’s economy.

They are working hard and are being innovative and pro-active, but know that Seychelles has but one tourism industry and it is together (private & public sector) that the islands will make the difference in the competitive world of tourism.

I was recently speaking within an interview on “improving facilities, opening tourism opportunities & relooking at the word facilitator when the island’s government is involved to ensure a better tourism management approach” and can say that I appreciate the seriousness of the situation on hand in Seychelles.

The tourism industry players ought never to be quite happy with the obstacles, with the lack of understanding by the facilitators, with limited infrastructure and below accepted level of services coming with today’s over the top rates, fees and licenses. The tourism industry players and their staff need to sit together to propose bold making and sound policy framework which will continue to make tourism THE essential component of the Seychelles development agenda.

Advocating a solid vibrant policy framework to re-energise the sector as mandated by the people who are always the first to feel the effects of any downward trend in the island’s tourism industry. It is this that is now needed by Seychelles for the development, management, regulation and marketing of sustainable tourism and tourism related services and for connected services.

Praslin and La Digue Islands has a need to seek to mobilise revenue collected by the state on their island’s Parks and Gardens to implement their development agenda. It is important they find innovative methods to be part of and to then fully exploit their island treasured resources to assist development of their island by their island. The same can be said for other business groups and associations. in the different parts of the main islands of Mahe.

It is time to challenge stakeholders in the tourism industry especially, and their district business committees to look to work more together to accomplish more to greatly help raise their island visibility and make the islands more relevant as tourism destinations. In so doing see the reflection of the contribution of their sector to national development will be better recognised

Source: Alain St Ange

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