Tourism has now become the pillar of the Seychelles economy, and work is still being intensified to ensure that it continues to blossom and prosper.
Thanks to the hard work, dedication, and devotion of many individuals, be it Seychellois or foreigners, the tourism industry of Seychelles has known many successes since its start.
Several individuals who have in one way or another contributed in the development of the islands’ tourism industry have been honored in the Tourism Pioneers’ Park, which was officially opened last year by the head of state, President James Michel.
Eight names on plaques were unveiled today by the Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, and the Principal of the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA), Flavien Joubert.
The Tourism Pioneers’ Park is situated at the entrance of the La Misere-based Seychelles Tourism Academy. The ceremony was attended by the Program Director of the Regional Program for Africa at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Elcia Grandcourt; Principal Secretary for Culture Benjamine Rose; Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board Sherin Francis; Chairperson of the STA Board John Stravens; and management staff of the academy. Others present included the Tourism Board’s staff and members of the team who have worked on this project.
In his address, Minister St.Ange said a year ago when President Michel unveiled the plaque to officially open the Tourism Pioneers’ Park, the aim was to have a place to honor those who have worked hard to set the stage for what the country’s tourism industry is today.
“We are today benefitting from those who have worked hard, those who never gave up, and those who have devoted their efforts in building a tourism industry for our country,” he added.
Minister St.Ange also thanked the team members who have worked to make this event today a success.
He added that this park should serve as an inspiration and events should be organized there so that students of the academy should have a better understanding of where they come from.
The Director of the National Archives, Allain Lucas, said the research undertaken to have these names has been an assiduous task, mainly due to the fact that information on the tourism industry at that time was scanty and not well documented.
The Seychelles Clarion, the only newspaper at the time, gave very little information on the first tourism establishments in Victoria.
Mr. Lucas said the book of John Bradley entitled, “The History of Seychelles,” published in 1940, mentioned the names of Hotel Victoria, the Princess Hotel, and Phoenix established in 1868-1870 respectively. All these hotels were located in Victoria and were mostly frequented by visiting sailors and very few tourists.
Captain Webb, in his book entitled “The Story of Seychelles” published in 1965, also mentions the existence of these three hotels.
In addition, Denise Johnson in her book also gives more precise information on these hotels including their owners.
Mr. Lucas said she also mentions the existence of another hotel, Lubin Hotel, and its owner which opened in 1889.
“We are indebted to historian, Tony Mathiot, who has the most significant contribution in his article entitled ‘The Story of Tourism in Seychelles’ published in the Weekend Nation of October 9, 2015. Mr. Mathiot’s findings have provided us with information on the existence of additional tourism establishments, and their owners, namely Hotel Equateur 1890, Raffles Hotel 1928, Grand Anse Hotel Praslin 1930, Hotel des Palmes 1935, and Empire Hotel 1938,” said Mr. Lucas.
Progressively now, names of important players of the Seychelles tourism industry will be added. “The next panel will be unveiled during the island’s Ocean Festival in early December,” said Minister St.Ange before adding that this Tourism Pioneers Park will see these panels for hotels, for restaurants, for DMCs (Destination Management Companies), airline managers, and tourism directors, etc. “Nothing is static, and additions and new entries will be made as time moves on,” said Minister St.Ange.
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