AFFORDABLE SEYCHELLES GETS PRESIDENTIAL NOD
(Posted 25th August 2013)
Affordable Seychelles appears a concept which many around the world, even those in the travel industry, often take with a grain of salt, a shake of the head and a frown of disbelief. In fact, one can hardly blame the doubting Thomases, considering that the archipelago is of course marketed around the world as a destination of glitz and glamour, home for many of the world’s rich and famous and the hospitality industry only comprises of 5 and 6 star resorts and hotels.
But there is another side to the coin, the side of true affordability, as incidentally shown in past articles posted here. More and more Seychellois owned guest houses, bed&breakfast and self catering establishments have sprung up in recent years, supported by a government which has shifted economic focus towards empowering the citizens of the country and by drawing them into the most important sector of the Seychelles’ economy, tourism.
Holiday apartments are now easily available, as are holiday villas, the latter of course somewhat more pricey, but when visiting ‘Seychelles Secrets’ on the tourism board website, it is immediately evident that tariffs per night are expressed in the tens of Euros and not the hundreds of Euros a visitors might otherwise expect to be charged. In fact the STB website specifically refers to the board’s mandate to promote this segment of the market when they state: ‘Additionally, STB is responsible for the Small Establishment Enhancement Program (SEEP), a marketing initiative that has been developed to help promote the country’s smaller establishments under the brand name “Seychelles Secrets’. These facilities can be accessed via two links on the main website of the Seychelles, namely http://www.seychelles.travel/en/plan_your_visit/budget_holiday_accommodation.php where in fact approved and licensed establishments show tariffs from as low as 25 Euros a night and then the main link how to book on line an affordably holiday via www.seychellessecrets.com
None other than President James Alix Michel has a few days ago underscored the importance of such empowerment programmes and the political will of his government to further promote the involvement in the sector by Seychellois citizens, when he visited a number of such establishments in Bel Ombre and the Beau Vallon Bay area, accompanied by tourism and culture minister Alain St. Ange and Sherin Naiken, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board. While there the president was also given an overview of the planned re-development of the ‘Golden Mile’ which is at the centre of making the Beau Vallon Bay area into a showcase for a user friendly park and promenade, to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
The president visited, among other places, the Hanneman Residences, the Treasure Cove, Casadani, the Sable d’ Or apartments as well as the famous Boat House Creole Restaurant and the Blue Sea Divers Centre. More than 70 Seychellois owned businesses are located in this part of the main island Mahe alone, evidence of how this market segment has taken roots in recent years following the economic changes introduced under the Michel presidency. President Michel in fact was quoted to have said during his visit: ‘I think this is very good and very healthy for the economy that we empower the Seychellois to seize the opportunity to take part in the development of the tourism industry. I was really impressed by what I have seen and all the operators have expressed satisfaction at the way their business is developing and I would encourage other Seychellois who want to join the business to also take the opportunity made available for them and help create wealth for themselves and for the country. It was important in the beginning to focus on large hotels to get the necessary volume in order to give a boost to the tourism industry, which was not performing well. This strategy has worked well through incentives the government offered and the industry has now picked up and we have succeeded in making visitors eager to visit Seychelles. I believe now the time has come to empower Seychellois entrepreneurs for them to benefit from the industry as well. It is important for me to give more attention to important sectors of our economy. It shows that Seychellois entrepreneurs are heeding my call to leve debrouye and are taking the initiative, are interested to join the business and help develop the industry. There is a need for more pavements and walkways and street lightings. These are important for the security of both visitors and locals.
The president then added, in relation to the new beach front developments at Beau Vallon Bay: ‘It was also an opportunity to see and get detailed explanations on site by Minister St Ange on how the new promenade at Beau Vallon will be built’.
Minister St. Ange in turn replied to the president when he said: ‘There was a time when we had to bring in five-star hotels through different brands in order to reposition Seychelles as a reputed holiday destination but now we have to consolidate our tourism industry and in so doing we have to bring in Seychellois entrepreneurs. We can never consolidate the industry with foreigners only’.
Access to past articles is available through the links below to give an even greater insight into the transformation of Seychelles’ tourism, which has opened up an entirely new market segment which has made the Seychelles reachable and affordable for a whole new range of visitors, from the African continent and around the world.
The next two main events in the Seychelles will be the Seychelles Ball on the 21st of September and then the Festival Kreol between 25th and 31st of October. Watch this space.