My 8th Report concerning the lack of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Seychelles prompted significant feedback from readers. One particular point that was raised by a troubled reader is that construction companies tend to book a lot of airline seats to bring expatriate construction workers to Seychelles. With the lack of FDI in Seychelles, airlines are today scrambling to fill these hundred plus weekly seats, which is a cause for concern.
The World Bank has issued its first Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) on Seychelles. The report says that the challenge now for Seychelles is to sustain its growth by raising productivity. Raising productivity in a country so dependent on tourism is to ensure that the island’s tourism industry is consolidated for the long term. Many Seychellois have invested their life savings into tourism and they need security for their investments. Others are employed in this industry and they are breadwinners for their families.
Ten years ago, a financial crash shocked the world and the Seychelles. The Seychelles islands have since fared well and have come out as leaders, but it is now time to give a boost to the players in this fragile industry to ensure that they are able to work facing the situation on hand.
VAT remains a cost that the Seychelles Government insists can be passed on to the consumer, but in reality, it is just absorbed by the tour operators who remain scared of pricing themselves out of the market. Germany and France have been innovative in splitting where VAT is applicable and at what percentage. They have separated the infrastructure and the consumption with a lesser VAT on the infrastructure of the hotel’s BED ONLY rate and the country’s applicable VAT on extras, such as meals, bar etc. We could stand to learn a thing or two from Germany and France in this regard.
The tourism trade should be encouraged to strive to actively raise the visibility of Seychelles and ensure that the islands remain relevant in the competitive world of tourism. Value for money and the necessity to better the ethics of service will need to follow. Customer service skills will need to be honed and improved if we want, as a Nation, to keep tourists coming back to our sandy shores.
Managers in the tourism industry must ensure that their establishment’s staff are upholding the standard that is expected of them. Importantly, the State must allow managers the freedom to fulfil their employment functions.
A recent incident involving interference and micromanagement by the State on Praslin Island has prompted fear in the industry that every foreign manager will be reluctant to discipline staff or to encourage their staff members to improve their job performance. In the incident in question, the State allegedly declined to renew a foreign manager’s work permit following backlash from the local staff at the establishment. This will inevitably lead to a further drop in the level of service and in the notion of value for money in Seychelles. There is a real risk that competent and capable foreign managers will think twice about taking up employment in Seychelles for fear of unnecessary interference by the State.
Until next time, I bid you Bon Voyage.
Saint Ange Consultancy. www.alainstange.net
Read more: Saint Ange Tourism Newsletter – 10th Edition
Topics featured in the 10th edition of my newsletter include:
- The First World Bank Systematic Country Diagnostic on Seychelles
- Exciting new Excursion to Cousine Island
- Changing the face of Entertainment in Seychelles
- Giant Migrations through Seychelles
- Saudia launches flights to Mauritius
- Seychelles to welcome the Four Seasons Private Jet
- Madagascar airports to undergo major revamp
- Seychelles hooks Giant Marlin
- Mauritius-Eclectic retro-chic meets barefoot luxury
- Activities & Excursions in Seychelles