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Alain St. Ange, Seychelles

Tourism Sidelined at Seychelles SONA

Mahé, Seychelles, 04 March 2019 – Seychelles President Danny Faure’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) last week has prompted the island nations’ tourism industry to wonder if it has been sidelined.

Commenting on the SONA, Alain St Ange said in this week’s Tourism Report that whilst President Faure’s address was fascinating to watch and listen to, only a few lines came up about tourism – “the industry that is, and will always remain, a pillar of the Seychelles economy.”

“Recent developments since the last Budget Address have led to many leading private industry players meeting to discuss the need for the country to acquire a better overall understanding of the Seychelles tourism industry,” says St Ange. “But, today is everyone really happy with the status quo?”

“Operating costs are forever rising and this is today being taken for granted. The cost of food is way too high and now, to compound the problem, the work permits for expatriate staff may be subjected to having a trainee attached if we are to take the recent declarations for granted.

“The BIG Question being asked is if Seychelles is taking its tourism industry for granted? And this at a time when so many Seychellois are dependant on this very industry.

“The cost increases for the industry are seen as challenges being faced at a time when Air France is relooking at the Seychelles run, and British Airways has had to reduce rates to fill its seats, which now begs the question of viability. All of this after these airlines’ initial exemplary rate management strategies on the Seychelles routes. 

“Recent discussions on applicable salary and employment conditions in this sector caused a lot of debate. Staff benefits are often a consequence of the high operating costs being placed on the industry.

“The time is appropriate to redo a study on applicable costs in the region and on destinations seen as competing for attention in Tour operator brochures. The first impact after opening a brochure is the price of packages. 

“Such a study should consider cost comparisons of Electricity, Water, VAT, Taxes, Work Permit Fees, Transport Costs for Staff, Security and Interests for loans and overdrafts. 

“The State is the biggest partner for the Seychelles Tourism Industry and needs to be as involved as the private sector trade in looking at ways and means to make the industry work.

“If costs are troubling the private sector trade, then the State has a duty of care to be by the side of their partner, the Industry’s Private Sector Trade. Encouraging the sector to flourish is the responsibility of the country and in return, the staff should be better cared for and the island’s economy will be consolidated,” concludes St Ange.

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