(eTN) – The Plantation Club Resort and Casino, the largest resort hotel in Seychelles which opened in 1989 amid a large coconut plantation and spectacular granite boulders, has been closed following instructions from the Seychelles government. It has been reported by the Seychelles Licensing Authority (SLA) and the Seychelles Tourist Board (STB) that the 200-room resort was ordered to cease operations after it failed to carry out renovations to meet required standards.
Mr. Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, the CEO and chairman of the Seychelles Tourist Board (STB), has stated on the national television network SBC that the resort had been asked to renovate and upgrade, and that a number of potential investors had been referred to the owners.
The Seychelles government, which owns only 8 percent of the resort, said it cannot force the sale of the resort to Arabs even though the resort, in its existing state requires its closure by the SLA and STB, remained a favorite with a group of Arab visitors, who have made it known that they would want to buy the property.
One of the main owners of the resort, Mr. Marc Davison of Aliee Development Corporation, has been defending his establishment and stated for the record that the decision was taken to force the resort management to close down against its will.
“We, the Directors and Shareholders of Aliee Development Corporation believe that there are no real or lawful grounds for shutting us down, but believe that this is being done to break our company so that an Arab Group can acquire the hotel,” Davison said.
The resort remained popular with visitors looking at the affordable Seychelles as their rate averaged between 80 to 130 euros per night. Aliee Development Corporation consists of the European Development Corporation (EODC) represented by Mark Davison, who is the main shareholder, the Dhapar Group of India, which owns 30 perceng, the Seychelles Government has 8.3 percent, and the lesser shareholders have about 1 percent.
Deepak Khosla, one of the directors of the company, has said that until renovations are completed, staff will be paid their work compensation. In a meeting with labor and union officials, resort staff also expressed their disappointment that the hotel was closing and expressed their support for the resort’s management.
Davison has said that the main owners had renovation plans and wanted to find a strategic partner for this, but they did not want to sell off the resort.
The closure of the Plantation Club Resort and Casino has been dubbed the coup d’etat of the tourism industry, as the liquidation of the property, is now eminent. The Seychelles Tourism and Hospitality Association has deplored the move by government authorities and civil servants to be allowed to decide on the future of a large foreign investments through the stroke of a pen.
It has been reported that the association felt that this move by civil servants to hold back the issue of an operating annual license, which determines the fate of large investments worth millions of dollars, would not be seen a positive sign for Seychelles.
Over 300 employees, mostly local Seychellois, were employed at The Plantation Club Resort and Casino.