Reactions from my Fifth Tourism Report revealed a marked interest across the board concerning the exorbitant costs of building material on Praslin and La Digue Islands. Government fees and levies on barges and cargo boats are crippling the tourism industry on these islands. Many commenters highlighted the necessity of Government to appreciate the plight of Seychellois and the repercussions that their decisions would have on those looking to build homes or small establishments on these islands. It is my view that Praslinois and Diguois should not be punished for living and working on these islands. These islands are strong economic providers and stimulators for Seychelles, and their inhabitants should be helped, not hindered, in their respective ventures.
The Alwyn Talma situation on Praslin also continues to generate significant public interest. This is one apparent injustice which many readers feel is unacceptable in this day and age. We will continue to monitor the unfolding of this saga closely.
Another dilemma voiced by the private sector recently is the lack of support by Government for public transportation. All public transportation in Seychelles today, with the exception of the SPTC buses and air travel, is operated solely by the private sector. Ferries and taxis are used to transport tourists and locals alike from one destination to the next. Gone are the days when the iconic, Government-owned and operated ‘Lady Esme’ would shuttle you across the sea, rolling sluggishly through the waves, and prompt you to reach for your trusty vomit-bucket. The four-hour long trip to La Digue was gruelling for those without sea-legs, such as myself.
Today the ferry services have been taken over by the private sector. Trips to and from La Digue, Praslin and Mahé Islands are more comfortable and take significantly less time than they used to. Public service buses, on the other hand, were once in the private sector and are today firmly and squarely in the hands of the Government.
Taxi services are also solely operated by the private sector. The importance of taxis in Seychelles cannot be denied; with hundreds of thousands of tourists flooding our island Nation every year, the reliance on public means of transportation and taxi services to get from one destination to another is very high. With unlicensed taxis, or taxi pirat, on the rise in Seychelles, Government clearly needs to support the industry. At present, there are a number of incidents being reported to the police which implicate unlicensed taxis; one report has pertained to an unsuspecting victim being sexually assaulted in a taxi pirat after a night out in Victoria, and another involved an unlicensed taxi being used as the getaway car following a burglary from a guesthouse. The industry needs to be regulated for the benefit and safety of consumers. A centralised taxi service system ought to be implemented whereby passengers would call a central dispatch office for taxis and the nearest taxi would be directed to a waiting customer. Steps such as these will ensure the accessibility of licenced taxi services, thereby maximising the safety of locals and tourists alike, and minimising the likelihood of them being scammed by abstract and unregulated taxi fees.
Note: Visit the Seychelles Taxi Operators Association (STOA) website for licensed taxi operators. Uber does not operate in the Seychelles but if you are looking for a convenient Android App, BouZay is a free software application owned by Buzz Seychelles Limited. BouZay only lists licensed taxi operators and does not list un-licensed or freelance taxi providers. Editor.
The State supports bus services today and we must accordingly have similar support for ferries and for taxis. Each rupee in Government charges (including fuel levy) incurred in the public transport service is inevitably passed on to the customer. It is time to have parity across the board in Government-controlled and private sector-controlled transportation services, in terms of subsidized charges.
Sustainable Tourism in Seychelles
Seychelles can today boast that it is a leader in the field of the environment and sustainable development. Our environmentally-conscious youths have been pushing and lobbying Government to ban plastic bags in our small Island Nation for months. The youth is right to seek to protect the Seychelles that they will inherit tomorrow. Despite Government taking a firm stance on the issue and implementing the ban months ago, the National Assembly have raised the matter once again and opened the issue up for debate. Not only is questioning the Government’s decision on this matter a slap in the face for all those who lobbied hard to have their voices heard and to spearhead Seychelles into a cleaner and more sustainable future, but it reflects a step backwards and a significant danger to our Nation’s leadership role. It is hoped that Seychelles remains firm in its resolve to protect our fragile environment, and that it does not succumb to the pressure of the minority who seek to destabilize progress for the sake of convenience. We must respect the youth and the environmentally-conscious individuals who fought for this ban, and allow them to have a say in their own future.
In my Fifth Tourism Report, I proudly announced the introduction of Mr. Ameer Ebrahim as our Environmental Consultant. This week I have the honour of announcing that Mr. Peter Sinon has also joined the Consultancy as the Development Consultant and Dr. Claire Holder of the UK has joined us as the expert for training seminars on the management of major events, festivals, carnivals, fairs, tourist attractions and the like to help them meet their objectives and achieve success.
Peter A.G. SINON is a well-rounded, experienced professional economist with experience in Development, Diplomatic and Political work. He graduated from the School of Development Studies at the University of East Anglia in United Kingdom with a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies (1987-1990) and a Masters degree in Development Economics. Mr. Sinon’s professional experience has landed him with enough experience to now venture into Development Consultancy.
His career began as an economist within the Department of Economic Planning of the then Ministry of External Affairs, Environment and Economic Planning. He eventually rose to the position of Director of Economic Planning. Mr. Sinon later established the first Resident Embassy of Seychelles in South Africa and went on to assume the role of Executive Director for the Eastern Constituency of the African Development Bank Group. In 2010, Mr. Sinon was nominated by former President James Michel as the member of his Cabinet, assuming the portfolio responsibilities of Natural Resources, Industry and Investments, until his resignation in 2014.
Mr. Sinon is currently an independent Development Consultant who is focused in ‘formulation and spearheading efforts to the realization of Development projects’. For more information about Mr. Sinon, please visit www.peter-sinon.com
Dr. Claire HOLDER, OBE, is the woman behind today’s Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street party. The Notting Hill Carnival Roadshow Company is a charitable organisation established in 2002 to promote the arts of the Notting Hill Carnival and provide assistance and expertise to other events.
The organisation provides artists and performers for events, as well as organises and contributes to training seminars on the management of major events, festivals, carnivals, fairs, tourist attractions and the like to help them meet their objectives and achieve success. To this end, the organisation is able to provide well-qualified lecturers on a range of subjects related to the strategic management of events in which issues such as the impacts of professionalism, effective leadership, good governance and management are explored.
The organisation is able to provide tailor-made packages on different aspects of organisational management to suit any organisational environment and will work with managers of organisations to assist in enhancing their skills. The organisation is headed by its Chief Executive, Dr. Claire Holder, who led and managed the Notting Hill Carnival for thirteen years. Her expertise is in designing systems for change management with emphasis on the need for professionalism and the importance of effective stakeholder management.
The organisation’s Finance Director, Chris Nortey, also plays a lead role in seminars. He is a Chartered Management Accountant and retired Senior University Lecturer in Strategic Management and Financial Accounting. His expertise is in developing strategies and designing systems for the revitalisation and long-term development of failing organisations across the various organisational sectors. Other areas of expertise that the organisation is able to contribute to seminars through its well-qualified partners are in public relations, press, and marketing to enhance the profile of events and their organisation; the production of events, including choosing appropriate equipment to achieve the best impacts; and the management of events to ensure a smooth process and flow of activities.
As the Saint Ange Consultancy grows we shall become a One-Stop Shop for your Tourism Needs.
Until next time, I bid you Bon Voyage.
Saint Ange Consultancy. www.alainstange.net