“Citizens are not only enjoying a good life,” China Daily reported, “but tourists are returning year after year in their thousands to enjoy pristine beaches and excellent accommodations.”
In Focus Reporters from the China Daily newspaper commended the Seychelles approach to bring all key players on board for its development. China Daily has dedicated two pages on Seychelles in its March 28 issue, as it hails the islands for taking bold approaches, which are today enabling them to ride the crest of a wave. The main article, entitled, “Indian Ocean paradise exceeds IMF expectations,” describes how Seychelles had undergone structural reforms since 2008 that have transformed the economy and contributed towards a stable landscape.
The article also quoted the Seychelles President James Michel as saying that Seychelles may be small, but it has good infrastructure and communications but also a good offshore financial sector that is recognized by the OECD.
President Michel also described China as a great friend of Seychelles from the very beginning. “It has financed many projects within the social and economic sectors. … We have a privileged partnership with China that has gone a long way to help us in our socioeconomic development,” he said.
Minister Peter Sinon is also quoted as saying that Seychelles is an investment destination where the business is continuously improving. “The government now focuses on regulating and monitoring the business environment, whereas the private sector drives the growth,” Minister Sinon is quoted as saying.
In terms of telecommunications, China Daily reports that Seychelles works to international standards and will soon benefit from a vast submarine cable connection to Tanzania.
On the tourism side, the newspaper commends the new “Seychelles brand” of tourism as an “innovative approach to sustainable tourism,” which it says is paying dividends and encouraging all people of the country to come on board.
China Daily quoted the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board Alain St.Ange as saying that the brand is repositioning the Seychelles as an affordable destination.
“This vision was the best announcement that could be made. It will get the Seychellois involved in the industry, and when people are involved, they will defend and protect it,” said Mr. St.Ange.
Foreign investors will always be hugely important for Seychelles, but Mr. St.Ange noted that “we need to bring the local people on board.”
The article also outlines the measures taken by the Seychelles Tourism Board to increase the visibility of Seychelles overseas and reverse the previous years downward trend of visitors to the islands.
When other economies around the world were suffering and travel was not so much an option for many people, Seychelles clawed back to reverse the trend and finish 2009 with just 1% down. Last year, it set a new visitor arrivals record with an 11% growth in visitor arrival numbers.
The other article, entitled, “Financial sector gathers pace with new legislation,” explores the financial sector and states that the increasingly open business climate is attracting huge investments in banking.
Reacting to the two pages dedicated to Seychelles in one of the biggest Chinese newspapers, Alain St.Ange said that the report on Seychelles was opportune: “We are presently working to launch ourselves in earnest on Asia as a whole. This report will go a long way to telling China and the Chinese people that the Seychelles is their new holiday destination and a must for them to visit.
“The report has spelled out the safety of Seychelles as a tourism destination over and above our natural beauty and our diversity. The report has also spelled out that Seychelles remains desease free with no need for any travel innoculations for Chinese residents traveling directly to Seychelles, and our no visa requirement for Chinese visitors [eases travel as well].”