The mid-ocean islands of the Seychelles rely heavily on tourism, the industry that has become the pillar of its economy. The big achievements for the islands has been recorded ever since the island’s President, Michel, held the tourism portfolio and heralded in a new vision for their tourism industry that embraced a public-private sector partnership in the management of that key industry. The island’s president also pushed for Seychelles to work to claim back its tourism industry as he invited more Seychellois to become players in the industry that is now firmly the pillar of these islands’ economy. Today more “home grown” Seychellois-owned small hotels are listed as part of the accommodation network of the islands and are positioning themselves to receive tourists who are after an “affordable Seychelles” holiday.
President James Michel also moved for the Tourism Board to stop selling Seychelles only as a sun, sea, and sand holiday destination and to also embrace the Seychellois culture and to place that at the center of the Seychelles promotional activities.
Today Seychelles is recording an 18% increase in visitor arrival numbers according to the official statistics issued last week. These are comparative figures based on a year-to-year basis.
It is Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, who is today spearheading the drive behind the tourism development in Seychelles, and he is continuing to implement the stated government vision for that industry that remains vital for the island’s economy. He is assisted by Sherin Naiken as CEO of the Tourism Board on the marketing side and in the Ministry itself with Anne Lafortune and Benjamine Rose as PS for Tourism and PS for Culture respectively.
Just weeks ago when Minister St.Ange and the management team at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture were on Bird Island on the continuation of his visit called door-to-door of licensed tourism establishments, the sooty-tern colony of the island (see photo) was an occasion for the minister to say that this was tourism at its best. “There is no substitute for being present and just listening. Today, we met Mr. Guy Savy, the owner of the island that continues to do credit to our ‘Seychelles Brand.’ Remain connected with our people was the message we received from the President, and we are out and about, because this allows us to glean new information about our islands’ personalities and relationships that one may never have received second hand, if at all,” Minister St.Ange said after that island visit.
Last week the Minister and PS Lafortune and PS Rose were on La Digue island for the annual August 15 Feast of that island. On La Digue, Minister St.Ange spoke about the pride of every Seychellois to stand behind their culture, and this included their religious beliefs as was the case for the Feast of the Assumption of La Digue. “Our culture is rich. Yes, we have our cuisine, our music, and our dance. Yes, our melting pot of cultures reflect who we are as a people, and yes, the respect for the religious beliefs of one and all ensures we live as one people,” the Minister said as he invited everyone to join hands and to remain united for Seychelles.
Seychelles is respected as having protected what they have been blessed with as far as nature. This remains as pristine as expected, and today, the islands have gone as far as declaring over 50% of their total land area as protected nature reserves. This is seen as part of the drive to continue the development of the islands under the sustainable practice frame of mind. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture has their Sustainable Tourism label and they continue to encourage serious members of their trade to embark on this platform for the long-term benefit of the islands. “We all know that we need to continue to work together to consolidate our tourism industry for the long term. We want now to prioritize the development within our tourism industry like products rather than just another bed. Our tourism industry players involved in on-the-ground development needs to spend time to develop new support services products, and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture want to support them by making sure they know that we stand behind them. We need more of our cultural assets seen by our visitors. We need excursions that embrace more of our culture as this will also bring benefits from tourism into communities,” Minister St.Ange said.