SEYCHELLES TOURISM MINISTER ALAIN ST. ANGE SPEAKS ON THE FUTURE OF TOURISM
(Posted 03rd May 2016)
On the sidelines of the recently concluded 6th edition of the Carnival International de Victoria did opportunity arise to speak repeatedly with Mr. Alain St. Ange, Minister for Tourism and Culture of the Seychelles.
Focus of some of the discussions was his comment at the opening press conference over imminent development caps for large resorts on parts of the main island of Mahe,
The Minister explained that this action was taken to encourage more local Seychellois to establish smaller resorts in these areas as part of the country’s policy to take charge of their tourism industry and empower citizens keen to invest in the sector.
At the official launch of a 40 chalets locally owned beach side resort, the Carana Beach, and later at the opening press conference for the Carnival, did the Minister make it plain that no artificial cap would be set by his ministry or the government of what maximum number of tourists can be sustained long term, but that this will emerge in an organic manner and only with the consensus of all stakeholders.
Minister St. Ange also made it clear that his ministry was now in the final stage of rolling out a classification and grading exercise across the islands with the aim of establishing an internationally comparable rating system on which visitors from abroad could rely.
Already is the tourism ministry engaging directly with hotel and resort owners through not only regular meetings but also one on one visits to such hotels and resorts. Besides learning of the challenges individual business face is this also an opportunity to assess the quality of a resort, ensure that workers too are heard and that observing existing laws and regulations is at the core of a hotel’s operation.
‘When the time comes for a hotel to be completely rebuild, at that time, from now on, can the owners for instance demolish 120 rooms and create a new state of the art resort, but also only with the number of rooms they had before‘ he added to a supplementary question asked.
Last year did the Seychelles islands record a tourism arrival growth of a staggering 19 percent to over 270.000 tourists coming to the islands and this year, for the first three months, are figures already up again by 11 percent.
This has benefitted large resorts as well as smaller locally owned guest houses, self catering chalets, apartments and holiday villas, the latter segment having witnessed a sharp rise in bed supply over the past few years. Air Seychelles’ CEO Roy Kinnear too acknowledged that the load factors of the airline had risen significantly over the past years. He also confirmed that considerations were ongoing towards a decision to add another long haul aircraft to cater for additional routes and frequencies.
Added information about the islands is available via www.seychelles.travel