As the world shifts into a new era where health and safety has become the highest priority, the Seychelles Islands takes steps to ensure these essential prerequisites are central to their tourism strategy.
Although the Seychelles International Airport has been open to commercial operations since the June 1, 2020, it has only been available to private planes and chartered flights, as part of the first phase of easing travel restrictions. The second phase will commence in August, where the airport will be opened to scheduled flights.
During an interview with BBC, the Seychelles Tourism Board’s Chief Executive, Mrs. Sherin Francis outlined the Seychelles tourism industry’s strategy to regain momentum, which involves encouraging safe travel and safe stay.
While talking about re-opening and building travel confidence, Mrs. Francis explained that mandatory testing before travel, safe travel in general should be promoted across all destinations as this is the only and sure way that travel confidence will pick up.
Additionally, other risk filters include, when travelling to and staying in Seychelles, airlines to adopt safe travel practices whilst local establishments will continue to maintain safe practices during the visitors’ entire stay including safe check-in and daily symptom and temperature checks.
Mrs. Francis also highlighted how the Seychelles’ exclusivity as a destination is ideal for the new trend in tourism where Seychelles could be an ideal choice for travelers who wish to stay away from crowded tourist attractions and instead focus on reconnecting.
“This pandemic has created the need for people to reconnect with themselves, their soul, their family and most importantly the environment; the strongest connection that we share.
Covid-19 has indeed helped to re-shaped travel trends. Being an isolated destination, has worked in our favor whereby the world is now looking for isolation to provide for their personal safety. “
The archipelago of 115 islands, over half of which can be explored, presents voyagers with an array of features to explore and activities to enjoy. From the towering granite rocks of La Digue island to the diverse wildlife of Bird Island and Cousin Island, tourists need not worry about the dangers of exposure to the pandemic as they lose themselves in the treasures this tropical paradise has to offer.
There has also been a surge in domestic tourism since the pandemic outbreak as the tourism industry began to discover the spending power of the local tourists. Hotels and tourism establishments have increasingly been offering residential rates which have attracted many of locals, especially during the weekend periods. Mrs. Francis expressed how important the role of the local population is in keeping the tourism industry alive and how it should remain a continuous trend as part of the destination’s recovery strategy.
Mrs. Francis has also been participating in a series of webinars where the main agendas have been centered around restarting tourism and establishing protocols and measures required to ensure the safety of travelers, which is to be adopted by the various Tourism Boards of the region.
During her meeting with the CEOs of the different Africa National Tourism Authorities/Boards held on June 17, 2020 and the UNWTO virtual forum with National Tourism CEOs on June 30, 2020, Mrs. Francis again emphasized on the importance of rebuilding confidence in traveler through enforcing safe travel. It was also suggested that travelers can be reassured of their safety by countries making testing kits easily available and accessible to all travelers.
The STB Chief Executive is set to participate in the Africa Tourism Leadership Forum & Awards (ATLF) where there will be further discussions in regard to safe travel.