Here is a fine example why the Seychelles’ tourism industry continues to defy the odds and prosper in the face of adversity. A whole minister, leading a delegation of Principal Secretaries, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board and other key officials makes it his business to KNOW each and every stakeholder in the industry, interact with them, LISTEN to them and ACT upon their observations, recommendations and at times complaints.Now here is something OUR tourism ministers in the region can learn from, to stop from being aloof, stop from being removed and isolated and stop pretending they know it all when the real action takes place in hotels, resorts, safari lodges and camps and in the offices of safari operators and travel agents …
Read on …
Door-to-Door visits of Hotels in Seychelles ensures public sector remains connected with its private sector
Avani Seychelles Barbarons Resort & Spa was the latest hotel to receive a visit by the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture and the Senior Management Team of the Ministry and its Tourism Board. This visit to Avani Barbarons followed stops at a number of small Seychellois owned units. Minister St.Ange used this visit to meet the General Manager of the Resort and his Senior Management Team in what can be described as a Management Meeting of the Resort. After an open and frank discussion on the challenges facing the hotel and a follow-up brief by the Minister on the proposed hotel classification of grading scheme, Minister St.Ange touched on complaints that had reached his office on the subject that car hire vehicles are being used to transfer guests to and from the airport to the resort.
The Resort has also been at the centre of a point of annoyance seen by taxi operators whereby taxis stationed at the hotel were bypassed and car hire vehicles were being used instead to transport clients. A second point that angered the taxis parked at the Resort’s Taxi bays was the continued scheme where some hotel staff would call in taxis of friends or relatives when a taxi booking was needed.
Alain St.Ange the Minister for Tourism and Culture took time on this door-door visit on Western coast of Mahe to address these points with Mr. Manish Jha, Avani Seychelles Barbarons Resort & Spa general manager in a bid to ensure the licensing laws of the country were respected.
Minister St Ange said it is illegal for car hires to be contracted to do airport transfers as if they were a defacto taxi service.
He said that a car hire company must respect the condition of their license and airport transfers should be done by taxi operators or if on a package holiday by their DMC.
Solving the issue of the resort not using taxi stationed at the resort’s taxi bays to transport clients, Minister St Ange appealed to Mr. Manish Jha to investigate into the matter as it is not ethical and was leaving a bad taste in the mouths of taxi operators.
After the meeting with Avani Seychelles Barbarons Resort & Spa General Manager, Minister St.Ange, Anne Lafortune Principal Secretary of Tourism, Sherin Naiken Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Mr Manish Jha and the resort’s front office manager met Davidson Madeleine chairman of the Taxi Association and its members to discuss the points as discussed by the resort and the Ministry.
Minister St.Ange chairing the meeting said Avani Seychelles Barbarons Resort & Spa has agreed to solve the discrepancies on transfers and to work to also solve the issue raised about bypassing taxi stationed at the resort’s taxi bays.
Minister said while the hotel is doing its utmost to comply to regulations, taxi operators stationed at the hotels should ensure they respect their own code of ethic.
“We want taxi operators to be part and parcel of the industry. Taxi operators today fall into block where they are respected and they should work with hotels for benefit of the industry’’
Minister St.Ange appealed to taxi operators to open dialogue with general managers of hotels where they are based.
“Hotels need you because taxi operators are a reliable service for the establishments. Always keep an open dialogue with the General Managers. The General Managers are here to defend the interest of their company and to ensure a good taxi service is always available for their clients. Let us ensure taxis move together as one with the tourism industry for a win win situation” the Minister said.
Mr Madeleine said he is pleased that the problem of taxi and car hire at the hotel is being solved.
He said code of ethic concerns especially in regards to dress code will be tackled by the association and assured the meeting that he will work to remedy the problem.
Mr Madeleine also mentioned that the Avani Seychelles Barbarons Resort & Spa was not the only hotel in the country with the practice of using car hire for airport transfers and mis-using taxi bays.
Minister St.Ange had re-assured taxi association that his Ministry are meeting the general managers of hotels on a one to one basis and that this subject would be tabled to ensure that this point of concern is solved.
At the Avani Seychelles Barbarons Resort meeting, Minister St.Ange also discussed the spirit of fairness by hotels when tendering out desk to car hire operators at hotels.
He said in an open market, a hotel should try to accommodate as much as possible more than one desk to car hire operators as this also provides choice to hotel guests.
Minister St.Ange said that in the spirit of transparency there should be more than one car hire operators desk stationed at the hotel.
Minister St Ange said the Ministry of Tourism and Culture continues with its door-to-door visits because it wants to work with hotels to achieve its set objectives and targets as he also said that for the Government the buck stops at the desk of the Resort’s General Manager. "I appeal to the GM to ensure his hotel stops with immediate effect practices deemed to not be complying to our island’s licensing regulations. Let a Car Hire be a Car Hire and let a Taxi Operator do their work as Taxis. Today we are appealing to you, but please let us work together for Seychelles" the Minister said.
Mr Jha said being new in Seychelles, he was following the practices of his predecessors and colleagues in the industry. He welcome the Minister’s visit at Avani saying it is a positive move to bring the hotel another one step ahead.
Photo Caption:- Minister St.Ange meeting Avani Seychelles Barbarons Resorts General Manager and team followed by meeting with Chairman of Taxi Operators and its members