#Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association – End Year News Round Up




Dear SHTA members

2018 has been an extremely busy year for the Association and, as we approach the end of it, I would like to share a summary of the various things SHTA has been involved in on behalf of its membership and the tourism industry in general.

Firstly the Association meets every month with the Minister responsible for Tourism. At these meetings, where the agenda is driven by SHTA, we are able to promote the interests of members to the Minister and Principal Secretary, and offer constructive criticism to planned ministry and whole government initiatives when we feel that this is appropriate.

SHTA is recognised by government as the principal private sector tourism association and we are consulted on strategic planning within and outside – for example financial and environmental administrators – the Ministry for Tourism.

SHTA is also represented at Cross Sectoral meetings, which are held every 3 months. Recently SHTA was instrumental in changing the format of these meetings in an attempt to make them more productive. Time will tell whether we have been successful.

Throughout the year SHTA has been running the ‘We Are Tourism’ campaign, with the message of the importance of good service being broadcast through television films, radio skits and talk shows, as well as print advertisements, editorials and training courses. This campaign’s principal slogan has been adopted by the recent Tourism Festival and is also being used to serve as an umbrella concept for the new Tourism Masterplan, which SHTA has contributed to from its inception.

SHTA identified training as a priority area for development and, by the way, this will extend into 2019, with exciting new training opportunities on offer for members next year. 2018 saw a number of well-attended and effective training programmes, delivered by both Seychellois experts and consultants from overseas. We also mixed business with pleasure, recently arranging for an evening social function for trainees and small hotel/HG/self catering members, which was enjoyed by all.

A number of key issues have been addressed by the Association this year, with the processing of GOPs (and their adaption when an employee leaves), vertical integration, digital payment issues, waste management and online booking agencies being just some of the matters concerned. The issue of waste management was identified as a priority at the start of the year and SHTA has since engaged with government, environment NGOs and other key players in order to promote responsible waste management practices. We have had some notable successes – such as pushing for (and achieving) the banning of plastic straws – and these have been communicated – like all SHTA initiatives – through our bi-monthly newsletter.

We held a very successful ‘Pirates Evening’ in February at Cap Lazare, at which fancy dress and professional networking combined with simply having a good time.

On a less enjoyable note SHTA worked hard to respond to the increase in tourist crime as well as the deterioration of security at key locations on Praslin. This resulted in a public meeting called by us and attended by the Minister and senior police officers. We were pleased to note subsequent and effective action taken by the authorities.

We have worked with the Taxi Drivers’ Association and have issued guidance for tourists at key locations in order to make sure that everyone plays fair when a visitor engages a taxi. SHTA has also responded to emerging and critical situations such as the restructuring of our national airline, where we had to balance an appreciation of economic reality with attempts to provide advice and fresh employment for Seychellois adversely but unavoidably affected by the exercise.

During the year we have strengthened our working relationship with the STB in recognition of the shared agenda of working to promote, develop and also protect the tourism sector in Seychelles. This positive relationship will definitely continue next year.

Towards the end of the year SHTA played a key role in the planning and realisation of the Seychelles Tourism Festival. Apart from fun events like the waiters’ races held on Mahe and Praslin the SHTA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministries of Tourism and Education which will lead to Tourism Clubs running in state and private schools. These will hopefully give students a positive experience of our sector and lead to many of them electing to make tourism their first choice in terms of future career.

When you add our ongoing consultation work – we are contributing to the Masterplan previously mentioned, the new Seychelles National Parks Authority strategic planning, and many others – you will see that 2018 has been an extremely busy yet productive year for the SHTA. I would like to thank my colleagues on the Board, as well as the Secretariat, which continues to do a fantastic job at ‘grass roots’ level and implement the key policies of the Association. But I would like to close by thanking you – our members – for your support, and the faith that you have placed in the Association as we represent your interests and move tourism forwards in Seychelles.

As I always say – we are stronger together.

Sybille Cardon
Chairperson, SHTA


All members will be able to meet with colleagues, SHTA Board members and Secretariat in the first part of next year when the SHTA will be organising a comprehensive programme of meetings to give members the chance to share their views and aspirations.

As per the last series – we ran a total of five such get-togethers in 2017 – events will take place in the north and south of Mahe, as well as on Praslin and La Digue.

One outcome from the meetings will be a new SHTA strategic plan, the third since January 2017. We will also be able to discuss common areas of success and concern as well as share some of the ‘best practice’ taking place across our industry.

SHTA will also be very interested to hear members’ views as to what we should continue to focus on for the duration of 2019 and beyond, however what our recent experience has shown is that when we are reliant upon outside agencies we unsurprisingly have less success in achieving our objectives. When we set targets that we are able to reach ourselves and with our own resources then success follows.

The programme for the meetings will be sent to you in the new year and we look forwards to seeing you all in a convivial setting where we can conduct business in a relaxed, enjoyable and effective manner.


Following the successful training programmes offered in 2017 SHTA will once again be giving members the opportunity to enroll on courses specifically designed to address the particular problems and conditions we face in the Seychelles.

If you have any particular training requirements please do not hesitate to let our Secretariat know – they will then do everything possible to make sure that your request is covered in the new programme, which we hope to commence at the end of next February.


November saw ICCS Room 1 used to validate a new initiative – Vision 2033 and the thirteen (13) Sector Visions, organised by the Ministry of Finance, Trade, Investment & Economic Planning.

The main objective of the validation workshop was to present and endorse a new National Long Term Vision for Seychelles. Which is all well and good, but whatever happened to Vision 2020 which, in chronological terms pre-dates 2033 and which indeed has not even arrived yet? Have we written off and superseded 2020 before it’s even had a chance? Should we even bother turning up for it?

The ’13 sectors’ highlighted in the new document include Tourism of course, with the presentation on our sector looking as follows:

Tourism Sector
A thriving tourism sector promoting responsible, ethical and sustainable practices to achieve economic empowerment, environmental protection and socio-cultural integration.
The tourism industry remains one of the main pillars of our economy. Vision 2033 aims to further strengthen our tourism industry to provide a world class, vibrant Seychellois experience while ensuring sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. This vision will help provide opportunities and ensure that the gains benefit all Seychellois. Tourist facilities and related infrastructures will be planned and built in such a way that it is in harmony with our natural environment. The aim is to focus on more value addition and greater earnings within the tourism sector to ensure a major share is kept within our country.
It would be interesting to compare the above with the equivalent section in the 2020 publication, which many remember as a lavishly illustrated glossy booklet, but which nobody seems able to produce a copy of.

In terms of strategic vision it’s hard to argue with the aims for the tourism sector, and indeed why should we want to? The emphasis on sustainability is welcome, as is the commitment to increasing the share of tourism revenue which remains in Seychelles. As always the proof will be in the pudding, and we shall have to wait a long time before we can see how effectively these noble but sweeping aims have been converted into action. In fact we shall have to wait 14 years, by which time Vision 2033 may well have been replaced by ……..Vision 2050.


SHTA’s members follow regulations, pay taxes and contribute to national development, which is why they generally take a dim view of rogue operators – whether it be someone selling unlicensed rooms to tourists or another selling boat ‘excursions’ which can be unsafe, uninsured and, at times, simply non-existent.

PS Lafortune recently announced that a hard line was being taken with those who operate unlicensed businesses, with collaboration stepped up between the Ministry, the police and the licensing authorities. This new task force has already taken appropriate action against offenders.


Here we see a picture of a popular fridge magnet depicting part of Mahe’s celebrated ‘Golden Mile’. However if the photographer turned around, or simply walked a few metres further, the pictures to be taken would be very different indeed.

Beau Vallon is a congestion of major issues – and we don’t just mean traffic. Souvenir stalls and food vendors, coconut hawkers, beach lounger provision and illegal deckchairs, and as for decent public toilets and showers? Well don’t hold your breath…(or perhaps you should)….

But things are changing, and if Beau Vallon has become the ‘wild west’ of the Mahe coastline then the cavalry is, we are assured, on its way.

Firstly there is a fresh determination to make sure that all businesses are regulated by the relevant authorities, whether it be Health, Licensing or Tourism. This benefits tourists and legitimate businesses alike. In particular the health department is ‘fully engaged’ with Bazar Labrin, with problems estimated to be resolved by the end of January 2019.

Next is the government’s plan to buy back land and build toilets. The possibility of providing picnic tables has also been mentioned.

Just as Praslin became a focal point for concerted remedial action (in that case against criminal activity) Beau Vallon promises to keep a number of ministries busy as the new year approaches.

The intention is not, it seems, to curtail legitimate businesses, or to restrict the entrepreneurial spirit, however SHTA and government are in accord with the vision of Beau Vallon as a properly regulated, welcoming and functional location. It remains, after all, the most famous and celebrated beach on Mahe, even if some of the old glitter has become tarnished in recent times.

Hopefully 2019 will see this great national asset returned to its former glory.


They do say that the devil is in the detail, so it’s worth reporting on a number of minor but significant issues raised recently by the SHTA with the relevant authorities:

1. Cruise Ship Bicycles

SHTA asked whether cruise ships are allowed to equip their clients with bicycles, thus removing the business from local operators – on La Digue for example. This has indeed happened during the last few months but we have been assured that permission for the ship to provide bicycles was given by mistake and that this error will not be repeated.

2. Fixed Penalties on Hire Cars

A tourist was stopped by police and fined for driving a hire car with tinted windows. SHTA points out the obvious:
* that the hire car company is liable and should be subject to any fine
relating to the condition of the vehicle and NOT the tourist driving it.
* that this gives a very bad impression to visitors
* that such practice is uniquely unhelpful, with no other country taking such action
as far as we are aware
Once again, assurances have been given that this was a ‘one off’ mistake which will remain ‘one off’.

3. You Dirty Rat…

SHTA raised the issue of rodents on beaches. Even where baits have been set they are not properly maintained – they need to be re-baited regularly. Tourists might expect to see a rat in the middle of a forest or on a mountain walk, but not on a beach which they presume to be maintained in good order. The problem is not a singular one however – rats are attracted by litter, especially food debris, and so there are issues around waste collection from and around our beaches which, are, after all, our main national income generators. Again we have been given assurances that remedial action will be taken.

4. Tortoise Pens

Many tourists are shocked to see tortoises being kept at hotels and guest houses in cramped conditions. Even at one of the finest enclosures in the country – Union Estate on La Digue – tourists complain that the reptiles are being kept in unacceptable conditions, often mentioning the large amount of mud inside enclosures. Obviously it’s not the fault of the tourist that they jump to such unfair conclusions but it is something which we can very easily do something about. Official guides will always point out the ‘pro-mud’ content.
Residents also know very well that tortoises like nothing better than a huge pile of mud but tourists do not. Therefore SHTA suggested that information boards be erected which enlighten visitors who are without a guide to enlighten them.

…what tourists would like to see…………………………what they actually see…
And finally…

5. Airport Parking

With infrastructural improvements continuing at Mahe airport little has been done so far to address the problem of parking.
At the moment parking remains a free for all. In fact literally a free for all, as no charge is made for leaving your car there.
We can expect to see this change however, with greater control over where hire cars are parked and the possible relocation of the petrol station to provide new space for such vehicles. The notion of a multi storey car park which drivers pay to use is also a favourite option for the future.


La Digue Island Lodge has recently completed the renovation of its main restaurant. This will, the hotel claims, provide guests with a superior and more distinguished dining experience.

Nestled right on the edge of the water, the stunning architecture is symbolic of the craftsmanship for which the islanders have been renowned. The wooden structure with its signature high ceiling is designed to match the authenticity of the hotel’s environment. It provides spaciousness and offers sweeping views of the ocean and Praslin beyond, with waves lapping onto the beach providing the perfect soundtrack.

The “Marmit” restaurant is stylishly furnished with a mix of antique wood furniture blended with beautiful off-white rattan. A new wine cellar with glass panels and open pantry will add a touch of sophistication to the new concept. To adorn the local tradition, a ‘Captain’s Table’ VIP corner is an additional feature that gives a special character to the restaurant. The newly revamped restaurant now has a capacity for 275 seats.

The signature restaurant will serve creole cuisine for lunch and various themed buffets in the evenings. These range from authentic creole, Indian, Japanese /sushi, Italian, to the traditional BBQ grills and international nights.

Additional dining outlets have also been launched. A casual feet in the sand “al fresco”outlet by the beach kiosk offers a variety of grills, salads and cocktails, which can be served to guests directly on the beach throughout the day.

New pergolas have been erected by the swimming pool providing more comfort for clients. With its unique swim-up bar, guests can enjoy cocktails in the pool. A variety of light snacks is offered for lunch and later this area is transformed into a lounge for sunset cocktails, with guests invited to enjoy an “a-la-carte” dinner under the stars in the evening, providing additional dining choices that will tickle the fancy of any of the hotel’s in-house or outside guests.

If you have any views and/or suggestions on this or any other part of this newsletter please do respond to the SHTA Secretariat on sha
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