SEYCHELLES TOURISM ARRIVALS DROP BY 70 PERCENT OVER COVID19 IMPACT
(Posted 04th January 2021)
Seychelles number one economic sector, Tourism, took a 70 percent hit in arrival numbers in 2020, a result of the global impact of the Corona pandemic and the various lockdowns and entry restrictions into the islands.
Wrote the National Bureau of Statistics in Victoria / Mahe / Seychelles:
‘A total of 2,078 visitors arrived in Seychelles during week 52 of 2020. The year to date figure for 2020 shows that 114,229 visitors disembarked in Seychelles. This includes 6,051 Cruise Ship arrivals of which 5,380 were in transit. Compared to 2019 (381,083), the year to date visitor arrivals has dropped by 70%.‘
Not only did the archipelago’s tourism sector suffer, but did conservation also take a hit.
Seychelles’ previously most visited facility, the Vallee de Mai on the second largest island of Praslin, lost over 2 million US Dollars in gate revenues as a result of the pandemic and the Seychelles Island Foundation, which also looks after the Aldabra Atoll, is now hard hit and has challenges rising to meet quintessential tasks for the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The income drop represents a drop in visitors numbers of over 95 percent and only an SOS appeal in October saw some funds come in to the tune of just over 30.000 US Dollars, largely influenced by the German delegation to UNESCO.
Tourism was on a gradual recovery path until now, that COVID19 cases across the island have risen (as of yesterday evening) to now 297, with the first casualty reported overnight.
It remains to be seen what additional health and safety measures the country will now put into place, after already halting the entry of visitors from South Africa. Visitors from countries still permitted into the Seychelles must arrive with a valid COVID19 negative PCR test, go into quarantine at a prescribed hotel and then get tested afresh after 5 days, before being able to enjoy the islands at large, always of course observing health protocols like wearing masks and keeping physical distance.
Several airlines had returned to the island over the past months, led by Ethiopian Airlines which connects the archipelago via Addis Ababa to Africa and the rest of the world, but also Qatar Airways, Kenya Airways and national airline Air Seychelles too has resumed operations, with destinations however hit by various travel restrictions like to and from South Africa.
Condolences are expressed to the family of the late Sidney Vincent Pillay on their loss.