Seychelles to welcome travellers from African countries as of Monday, October 19, 2020

Taking a step forward in the recovery of its tourism industry, Seychelles is now inviting travellers from several Sub-Saharan African Nation for a safe travel experience in the destination.


After intensive preparations for a safer travel experience for visitors, Seychelles has been welcoming tourists back on its shores since June 1, 2020, through chartered and private flights and officially reopened to scheduled flights as of August 1, 2020.


With travellers’ wellbeing and that of the local population at heart, the Seychellois authorities have put in place rigorous protocols to ensure safe travel and stay for its visitors.


Ten African countries with a continued decline in infection rate including South Africa, Botswana, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda and Zimbabwe have henceforth been added on the list of permitted countries – Category: one as of Monday, October 19, 2020.


Conditions applicable to visitors from these countries joining the Category -1 Permitted countries that are deemed low or medium risk are less rigid than for other visitors coming from countries listed as Category 2 or other higher-risk countries.


Travellers, coming from Category 1- Permitted countries will be required to produce a negative Covid-19 PCR test no older than 72 hours before departure alongside their approved Health Travel Authorisation (HTA) for entry and will not be subject to the restriction of movement during their stay.


Visitors are encouraged to observe sanitary measures while visiting Seychelles. Visitors from the Category 1 list of permitted countries will be able to enjoy their holiday activities such as sightseeing and tours, island hopping and excursions under specific guidelines.


Mr David Germain, the Seychelles Tourism Board Regional (STB) Director for Africa & the Americas mentions that this new addition to the permitted list is an opportunity for Seychelles and will contribute to rebound the tourism industry.


“Seychelles, given its proximity to Africa, and being a Covid19 safe destination, with certified establishments and services, is the perfect place for a holiday for the African travellers, safe and isolated the archipelago is one of the purest and most environmentally intact destinations on earth, come and experience Seychelles, our home, your sanctuary,” he said.

Adding more good news for the African market, Seychelles’ national airline, Air Seychelles has announced that it will resume its flight schedule from Seychelles to Johannesburg, South Africa effective November 7, 2020. Air Seychelles will operate one weekly flight on Saturdays in November and from December; the airline will offer three flights per week with the addition of flights on Tuesdays and Fridays. 

Speaking of the addition of the ten African countries to the permitted list, Ms Christine Vel, the STB Director for Africa, mentioned her enthusiasm to have the destination available for African travellers again.


“We are overly excited to be opening our borders again to the African market. For the past few months, we have been building on our visibility on the market and we have satisfyingly had lots of interest and enquiries. Knowing the demand is there, we are confident that with flight availability, and permission from the authorities for these travellers to enter Seychelles the interest will keep increasing,’’ says Ms Vel.


Seychelles has so far, recorded an exceptionally low number of cases and there has been no community transmission, deaths nor any infection amongst health care workers.

Local Tourism Stakeholders in Seychelles Launch the ‘Tourism Wi’ Campaign.

Core industry stakeholders in Seychelles join forces in a seductive operation targeting the population with the restart of tourism in the Indian Ocean destination.

The ‘Tourism Wi’ campaign, developed by the Seychelles Hospitality & Tourism Association (SHTA) in collaboration with the marketing body of the destination, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), the Tourism Department and the Seychelles Training Academy (STA) was launched at the STB Headquarters at Botanical House on Monday, October 19, 2020.

The campaign centres around sensitising the public about the vital role, which the tourism industry plays for the country and the reason why we all need to unite to support its restart.

Speaking at the launch in the presence of Principal Secretary for Tourism, Mrs Anne Lafortune, the representatives from SHTA Mrs Louise Testa and Martin Kennedy, Mrs Sherin Francis stated it is important to sensitize both the public and the local stakeholders as the country is at a very important and very delicate crossroad which the restart of its primary industry.

“With the increase of international flights in Seychelles, tourism arrival numbers are growing slowly. This past Sunday, October 18, 2020, the destination has registered 401 visitors disembarking on our shores. The numbers might not be as big as what we used to record in a day but it remains significant for us as a destination. Seychelles is well known for its warm and welcoming people. Today, more than ever this is one essential appeal of our promotional campaign,” said Mrs Francis.

On her part the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Mrs Anne Lafortune, stated; “The Tourism industry stakeholders are working tirelessly to ensure that the destination remains safe and that everybody does their part follow the health protocols because when tourists see that we are a safe country, they will want to visit. The STB team has doubled its marketing efforts for Seychelles to remain visible and attract visitors. This campaign makes sure that our efforts are being supported by everyone.”

In addition to educating the public about the industry’s importance and the drastic strain the pandemic has imposed on the Seychelles economy, the campaign also raises awareness about Seychelles as a Safe Tourism destination, highlighting the safety measures taken by the various industries for the protection of visitors and the population.

SHTA representative Mrs Louise Testa stated that the SHTA has been committed to being part of the campaign as tourism is a key sector of the economy.

“We hope that the campaign will help our citizens to recognise the importance of tourism not only to our economy but also to them and their families. SHTA has worked closely with the Seychelles Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism in order to produce a campaign, which supports economic recovery, safe health practices and personal protection. We have to get behind economic recovery as a nation. We are facing some difficult times ahead and increasing our foreign exchange inflows by welcoming more tourists will help reduce the severity of any problems in the future,” said Mrs Testa.

The first stage of the campaign, which started running in the media as of Friday 16, 2020 will be visible over multiple platforms including local press, including television, radio and newspapers, as well as social media platforms of both STB and tourism-related partners.

The campaign engages the locals, building their confidence in light of the arrivals of tourists into the country. Furthermore, it emphasises the importance of preserving the creole hospitality for which the Seychellois people are praised for, a treasured trait, which is cherished now more than ever as people seek refuge from the storm of the pandemic.

The second phase of the campaign is set to begin on Friday, October 30, 2020, and terminates Friday, December 4, 2020.

The Seychelles Islands shares the spotlight at the Black Travel Summit

 

Destination Seychelles will be placed under the limelight at the Black Travel Summit conference titled, ‘Movement’ set to take place over two days starting from October 17, 2020.


The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) has joined forces with the American travel experts ‘Travel Moor Often’, a leading tourism service provider and directory for people of colour, to promote the destination at the event, which will focus on showcasing black travel industry professionals.


The two-day virtual event will combine 26 speakers from around the globe, including content creators and Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Regional Director for Africa and the Americas, Mr David Germain representing the destination.


Uniting a plethora of travel experts comprising of entrepreneurs, influencers, bloggers, travel companies and many others, allowing participants to meet influencers, learn from industry professionals, or network with other travellers.


The event will also include several seminars and workshops centred on black representation in the travel industry and effectively supporting black-owned businesses in the travel industry.


Hosted by some of the most renowned entrepreneurs in the black travel community, the event presents an opportunity for the island destination to put forward its best features to attract travellers from this specific segment.


By being part of the Black Travel Summit ‘Movement’ Webinar, the STB team will also have direct interaction with travel experts from the USA resulting in first-hand information that will essential to the advancements of its local tourism industry.


Topics of discussion will include ‘Travel Writing’, ‘Intersectional identities in the travel space’, ‘Investing in Africa’, and dialogues about representation and building communities up, just to name a few.


Furthermore, the event supports a cause, collaborating with Dream Defenders to support the fight for racial and social justice.


Mrs Sherin Francis, the Seychelles Tourism Board Chief Executive, mentioned that the event is a great opportunity for the destination.


“We are honoured to be a part of an event celebrating the African Diaspora, giving us a chance to pay tribute to this part of our heritage, which created the melting pot which we now boast to visitors who come to our shores. The event will also allow us to tap into a segment that needs more attention and to identify the essentials of its requirements and see where we can improve in helping our local tourism industry flourish,” said the STB Chief Executive.


As part of the destination’s participation, the STB’s presentation will also feature a ‘Kanmtole’ dance, showcasing Seychelles’ Creole culture in this October month, which is the creole month and the video of the song “Nou bann Zil”, written and composed by Mr David Andre for the occasion of the 250 years’ celebrations in August 2020.


According to the tourism and travel research firm Mandala Research 2018 report, black travellers are a valuable and untapped audience for the tourism industry, the black American community spent $63 billion on travel, and the number is expected to grow to $90 billion in coming years.

Seychelles welcomes a second direct commercial connection to Europe

Adding a supplementary choice for European travellers to the beautiful Seychelles islands, British National airline, British Airways places its name on the list of airlines serving the destination.

Several months after its last flight to the Seychelles International airport of Pointe Larue, British Airways landed on Sunday, October 11, 2020, on the shores of the tropical destination.

British Airways becomes consequently the second European airline providing a direct commercial connection to the destination to keep Seychelles closer its prime source markets composed of six European countries.

In an interview following the weekly high-level forum leading the implementation of the National Integrated Framework for the Reopening of Seychelles, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Chief Executive, Mrs Sherin Francis mentioned that the arrival of British Airways places Seychelles in a favourable outcome for the having two direct European flights is a great achievement for the small destination.

“Visibility to our customers and connectivity has been key elements of our marketing strategy. The STB and its teams around the world have been working in close collaboration with its airline partners throughout this period to make sure that the efforts invested benefits all parties. At this crucial crossroad, it is important for us to keep the momentum,” said Mrs Francis.

The STB Chief Executive further mentioned that her and her team has been holding regular virtual meetings with airline partners to keep them updated. The STB is also engaging in several joint marketing activities with airlines to keep the destination visible and reach out to their customers.

Mrs Francis emphasised that as the destination is striving to remain safe and accessible for visitors an important indication that Seychelles remains of interest to potential visitors lies in the fact that mostly all airline partners serving Seychelles have so far committed to the restart of their services on the destination, which is a good implication that the demand exists.

“The load of passengers from the European airlines and even the other airlines remain quite interesting considering the challenges that exist for travellers today. Although some airlines are yet to confirm their dates of return, the commitment is still present,” said the STB Chief Executive.

As the raft of marketing activities are picking up slowly on all the markets, The STB Chief Executive further mentioned the STB remains committed in keeping the destination visible across all markets.

Since its reopening to commercial flights in August 2020, Seychelles has been welcoming regular flights from three airlines including Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways and Ethiopian Airlines. Edelweiss restarted its flights to the destination in September.

250 years Anniversary of Seychelles commemorated for the World Post Day

The Seychelles Postal Services proudly presented the SCR 12 commemorative stamps in the Honour of the sestercentennial anniversary of the country during the annual World Post Day celebrations.

The presentation of the unique stamp and its first-day cover was held at the Seychelles Postal Services Head Office in Victoria on Friday, October 9, 2020, in the presence of CEO of Seychelles Postal Services, Mr Errol Dias and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Mr Alex Etienne.

Mrs Sherin Francis, 250 years Committee Chairperson, her Excellency Mrs Francesca Alexandra Azais Ambassador for the Sovereign Order of Malta-based in Seychelles, members of the Seychelles Postal Services board and few members of the 250 years Committee were also present to see the unveiling of this historical philatelic moment in Seychelles.

Inspired by an original painting of her Excellency Mrs Francesca Alexandra Azais, a fervent 250 years collaborator to the 250 years Committee and designed by Eileen Hoareau, the 250 years commemorative stamps, portrays the first landing of 1770 as interpreted by the artist with a creative touch.

Gifted to the 250 years Committee to mark the celebration this year, the artwork was in turn offered by the committee to the Seychelles Postal Services for use.

Speaking at the short ceremony, Mr Alex Etienne the Deputy CEO of Seychelles Postal Services expressed their eagerness to collaborate with this initiative for the special stamp issue.

“The Seychelles Postal Services is honored to partake in the cause of the 250th Anniversary of the first Landing of Ste Anne and we have been keen on the idea from the very start when the committee approached us for this stamp issue.” Said Mr Etienne.

On her part, Mrs Francis conveyed her profound gratitude to the team that worked on the project and the Seychelles Postal Services team for their support to the project.

“The committee is grateful to have another great collector’s item to add to the commemoration of the 250 years of Seychelles. The launch of the stamp today for this special occasion offers to the public and collectors an opportunity to have another unique memory of the 250 years of Seychelles and I invite everyone to have one or more, “said Mrs Francis.

Aside from the stamps, other 250 years memorabilia are still on sale at the National History Museum as well as the Seychelles Postal Services Philatelic Shop.

Seychelles celebrated its sestercentennial anniversary on August 27, 2020.

 

Seychelles Third Tourism Festival; ‘Tourism: Back with Confidence’.

The annual Tourism Festival was celebrated on a much smaller scale than the usual weeklong festivities, spanning over just three days. Despite this, the celebrations essentially captivated the importance of this vital industry.


This year’s theme ‘Tourism: Back with Confidence’, echoes the local tourism industry’s slow but progressive revival.


The Festival kicked off with the inspiring words of hope from the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine, Mr Didier Dogley on Sunday, September 27, 2020, marking World Tourism Day. The Minister emphasised on the extensive preparations made and the constant improvement of measures and procedures put in place to help face the challenges brought about by the pandemic and kick-start tourism. He also highlighted the vital role unity within the industry plays in its revival.


Following this, a group of Tourism Pioneers were honoured for their immense contribution to the Seychelles Tourism Industry during a brief ceremony held at Tourism Pioneers Park at the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA).


This year, the fifth edition of the ceremony took place on September 28, 2020, in the presence of the Minister Didier Dogley; the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Mrs Anne Lafortune, the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Mrs Sherin Francis. Its chairperson Mr John Stravens and the academy’s Principal, Mr Flavien Joubert represented the Seychelles Tourism Academy.


Family members and representatives of the honoured pioneers were also present, showing their pride for the recognition of their loved ones.
Mrs Lafortune and Mr Joubert had the honour to unveil the plaque, which featured eight tourism pioneers; Jessie and Carl Collie, Guy Sinon, William Woodcock, Frank and Elodia Payet, Norman Medhurst Esslemont, David Joubert and Julien Parcou.


The event, which has now become a Tourism tradition, reminds us that we must honour the people who laid the foundation for the prosperity of our beloved Tourism Industry, which has become the nation’s largest industry. Without their efforts, tourism would not have blossomed into the success it is today.


In his remarks, Minister Dogley said that celebrating the international tourism day is also a moment for us to take the time to glance back at our history and understand how tourism has become the country’s biggest economic support through the stories of those who were there at the very beginning. The Minister also highlighted the importance of having Seychellois on the forefront if we want to sell Seychellois hospitality.


The last day of the Festival started with a panel discussion revolving around the issues brought about by the pandemic affecting the industry and the solutions to ensure the survival of tourism in Seychelles.


The panel consisted of Minister Didier Dogley; Principal Secretary for Investment, Mr Michael Nalletamby; Chairperson of the Public Health Authority, Dr Conrad Shamlaye; Seychelles Employee Transition Scheme (SETS) Chief Executive, Mr Guy Morel; Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Investment (SCCI) Secretary-General, Mrs Irouana Pillay; and Seychelles Hospitality & Tourism Association (SHTA) member and Creole Travel Services Chief Executive, Mr Guillaume Albert and was moderated by Craig Francourt Managing Director - CTF Consultancy.


One vital observation made by the tourism Minister was the need for the tourism industry to brainstorm new ideas and concepts nodding towards the inevitable move towards digital tourism.


Ending on a thrilling note, the Tourism Festival closed with the food and beverage competition F&B Masters Cocktail Competition where five finalists were judged for their cocktail and mocktail creations after passing a virtual preliminary round.


Competitors came from various tourism establishments, namely Hilton Gastro Lounge, Hilton Labriz, Constance Lemuria Resort, Raffles Hotel and Hilton Northolme.


Stunning judge with his Disney’s Beauty and the Beast inspired cocktail ‘Jolie Chauvage’, thirty-three-year-old Selwyn Dick came out as the victor for the first edition of this competition.


The Jolie Chauvage cocktail consists of curry and lemon leaves, cinnamon-infused tequila, black pepper, lemon juice and Takamaka Rum, which is, placed in a glass dome-like the enchanted rose from which it draws its inspiration.


Principal Secretary for Tourism, Mrs Anne Lafortune, highlighted the success of the Tourism Festival despite being low-key this year and the importance of centering discussions around the theme of ‘Tourism: Back with Confidence.'


With Seychelles having been open to tourists for several months now, celebrating such a significant industry remains crucial as it reminds the nation of the efforts being undertaken to ensure its survival and why tourism players are putting up a fight to save this cherished industry.