Tourism leaders discuss way forward for La Digue


The newly re-elected chairman of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA), Louis D’Offay, was meeting the main operators of the island’s tourism industry in the district administration office.

He was accompanied by the association’s vice-chairman, Alain St Ange; Alan Mason, its treasurer; Christopher Gill, a newly elected board member and chairman of the ecotourism, environment and public safety sub-committee; and Jenifer Sinon, its chief executive.

The meeting was well attended by hotel and guest house owners, operators of ferries and dive boats, ox cart owners and bicycle operators.

La Digue MNA Ansley Constance and Island Development Board (IDB) chairman Monica Figaro also attended the forum, where it was agreed that in the spirit of togetherness members of the SHTA board will be invited to one of the IDB’s next meetings to discuss the way forward for the island’s tourism industry.

Opening the meeting, Mr D’Offay went over different points brought to the association’s attention by La Digue members and assured them these will be taken up with the government.

He also expressed concern about complaints over the exchange rate used for rupees and euros at L’Union Estate and the compulsory payment for tourists to go on to the beach at Anse Source d’Argent.

“Seychelles has always told the world that every beach is public and that access to these beaches is free, however the practice by L’Union Estate, charging for access to Anse Source d’Argent beach, shows otherwise,” he said.

“This is now becoming a problem for Seychelles and for all tourism establishments on La Digue as their clients have to pay to get to the beach Seychelles calls a unique selling point.”

Mr St Ange, who is also Seychelles’ director of tourism marketing, took up the issue by stressing the work being done by the new-look Seychelles Tourism Board to market every category of establishment as part of the Affordable Seychelles campaign launched early this year.

He encouraged La Digue’s tourism operators to work together to see how best to market the island now and in the future.
Mr Gill explained the work the new sub-committee on public safety will be doing and enlisted the support and help of island operators to work with him and the Police Department to ensure Seychelles and La Digue keep their “safe label”.

A request by La Digue’s tourism industry that it should be represented on the SHTA’s board was agreed. It was also unanimously decided that more dialogue is needed now and in the future to deal with ongoing developments and problems on the island.

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