SEYCHELLES’ TOURISM MINISTER TAKES FIRST LOOK AT CARRYING CAPACITY STUDY
(Posted 08th September 2016)
In a meeting held earlier this week at the ESPACE Offices of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture did Minister Alain St.Ange meet with Mrs. Iris Richter, the consultant commissioned by the Tourism Department to undertake the carrying capacity study for Seychelles. The aim of the study is to determine the current status of the islands and the acceptable amount of tourism development that can still occur whilst remaining overall sustainable. The study is also to assist Government in taking informed decisions on all future tourism development projects. This study was undertaken following Government’s decision in June 2015 to impose a moratorium on the development of large hotels until such time that the report has been submitted.
During the discussion, it was pointed out that with 12,272 hotel beds available, which excludes the approximate 1.100 bunks aboard yachts and cruisers operating in Seychelles’ waters, the tourism industry needs to seriously take stock of the current supply and assess the way forward.
Minister St.Ange stated that it is important to assess the bed capacity against the seat capacity provided by airlines, especially point-to-point seats from key tourism source markets. These initial discussions were carried out in the presence of Ms. Anne Lafortune, the Principal Secretary for Tourism as well as key members of the Tourism Department and from the Seychelles Tourism Board.
Much focus was also placed on airline seats to Seychelles and the growing number of transit passengers, the employment and labour demands with attention to the overall workforce and the expatriate labour demand. The issue of tourism economic capacity was also raised.
Mrs. Richter concluded by providing a number of preliminary recommendations that will be presented to the Minister along with the final findings at the end of September. The Carrying Capacity Study will then be presented to the Cabinet of Ministers for Government consideration as it has a bearing on the country as a whole.
Notably is this the third major project being undertaken by the Department of Tourism this year. The carrying capacity study will tie with the Tourism Master Plan which is in its final stages of completion as well as the Hotel Classification Programme and all combined, will contribute to the new way forward of the Department of Tourism.
‘Seychelles depends on tourism, the industry that is now the pillar of the island’s economy. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture has the duty to work to provide for Seychelles a future to believe in with their tourism industry. This is why we are being proactive and working on projects to help continue the consolidation of Seychelles Tourism‘ said Minister St.Ange.
Last year did the Seychelles once again establish another visitor record of over 270.000 tourists coming to the islands by air and by cruise ship, having enjoyed continuous growth for the past 8 years and figures available at present suggest that 2016 will see yet more arrivals, supported by additional flights and an increase in cruise ship calls.
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