AFFORDABLE SEYCHELLES MYTH OR REALITY
Readers of my articles often challenge me to substantiate the Affordable Seychelles tag line I keep bringing up when reporting about the archipelagos tourism events and developments. Introduced at the height of the 2007/8 global financial and economic crisis, the invention by the Seychelles Tourist Board had two main objectives: To empower Seychellois creating their own businesses and help them to succeed in the niche markets for bed and breakfasts, holiday villas, apartments and guest houses, all owned and managed by citizens of course, and secondly by attracting more visitors, especially those travelling on a budget and unable or unwilling to afford the archipelagos better known luxury five star resorts.
The African mainland, now connected by Kenya Airways from Nairobi three times a week with convenient connections from the entire region in both directions, and by Air Seychelles to Johannesburg, are the main beneficiaries of the resolute push to attract visitors to the islands as Affordable Seychelles packages are now on offer from East to South Africa. Flights, airport transfers from and to Mahe International Airport often free of charge though in some cases charged at a nominal fee for guests and accommodation now make the Seychelles a destination within financial reach for the increasing number of African visitors, and the NO VISA requirement adds a huge benefit for travelers. As long as one has a return ticket, a confirmed hotel reservation and sufficient funds to sustain a stay, and in case of coming from Africa a Yellow Fever Inoculation Certificate, admission it literally guaranteed.
I stayed last year at the Bord Mer Residence for a night, a well equipped and most friendly bed and breakfast at the Beau Vallon Bay just across the main road from the beach. During my strolls into the wider neighbourhood, entirely safe I should point out, I found a range of additional guest houses and B&Bs nearby, some higher up in the hills, some nearer to the main road, some with swimming pools but all of them near the little shops and a range of restaurants offering international or the tasty Creole local cuisine. Not far from the Bord Mer I found the seemingly very popular Hanneman Holiday Residences, where plenty of European tourists stay according to the TripAdvisor comments I then found and the holiday guides, printed and on the web, show plenty of choices for this type of budget accommodation.
Yet, some of these properties are also found right at the beach like the Chalets d Anse Forbans, freely translated as Pirates Cove, located in the South of the main island of Mahe. For guest booked there it offers a starter pack in the well equipped kitchen consisting of bread, milk, butter, bottled water, sugar, coffee and tea and all else can be found in local shops not more than half a kilometre away, providing some exercise in the process of shopping. Too lazy to cook in this professed self catering establishment? No problem, the owners are happy to arrange for a cook, best of course already pre-requested when making the booking, which can be made through the web pages via www.forbans.com
Such budget accommodation does not lack the amenities found in the more expensive resorts and airconditioning in bedrooms is available in most, as is internet access, at times at a cost, phone and fax services and depending on the rating pools and lots more. Many such places are linked to the rest of Mahe by excellent public transport government only last year nearly doubled the fleet of public service busses or else by the use of a rented car, though this correspondents old favourite the beach buggy on a Morris Mini base is now hardly found any longer and Japanese cars have replaced the open top buggies.
TripAdvisor is an excellent source of information from users for those planning a holiday in the Seychelles, besides all the details which can be found via www.seychelles.travel the official site of the Tourism Board which has dedicated space for Affordable Seychelles participating properties, not just in Mahe but also on Praslin and La Digue.
In conclusion, the alleged myth of Affordable Seychelles is in fact a reality on the ground and as the world seems to be once again at the edge of another potentially crippling financial crisis, with a repeat of the 2007/8 scenario, Affordable Seychelles will surely retain its valued place in the overall promotion strategy for what is otherwise known as Seychelles Another World. Luxury or simplicity, a personal butler at ones beck and call or a short trek to the reception of a Seychellois owned and managed small B&B, guest house or holiday villa, the warm spirit of the people of the archipelago will surely make for a dream holiday come true on the Creole Island Paradise of the Seychelles. Go visit!