Work under way on new tourism academy at La Misère


Members of the media are conducted on a tour of the STA campus to view ongoing work to build a new academy

The press was taken on a conducted tour of the academy by the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) last Thursday and was told it will be able to take some 500 students, including some from mainland Africa.

The newsmen were welcomed by the academy’s principal, Flavien Joubert, STB’s deputy chief executive Elsia Grandcourt, STB product manager Peter Moncherry and other officials.

The academy will be set in the same mountain site as the present school, which is gradually being demolished by contractors Yangtze Construction to make way for the new one.

The site commands possibly the most scenic mountain combined with ocean view on Mahe. This prompted Mr Moncherry to state, after the tour, that the hotel will be named ‘Oceanic View’ at the suggestion of Frankie Petrousse, who along with Philip Zoe, are the project consultants on behalf of the STB.

Viewing a maquette of how the new academy will look

The main sponsor is the Arab Bank for African Development (Badea) and the Seychelles government and it will consist of two phases – the first one of which will cost R60 million, excluding equipment and furniture.

The first phase – a double storey building – will consist of 15 classrooms on each floor and each class has a capacity of 30 students. It will also have a library and a language laboratory. Students following the three-year hotel management course will have their own facilities.

The second phase, which will be in a triple storey structure, will consist of the administrative offices, a multi-purpose conference hall capable of hosting private functions, a spa, a demonstrative kitchen, a 60-room hotel and a villa. The second phase will also consist of a dormitory to accommodate tourism students from a number of African countries, such as South Africa and Gabon, who will pay the STA for their training.

Demolition on the old school started since over a month ago for the first phase while temporary classrooms are being built of timber to accommodate students due to begin their courses early March.

Mr Joubert said initially it was planned to send students to various locations for their training until the academy is completed. But, upon assessing the situation further, the STB decided that for security, safety and administrative reasons it was best to retain all students on one campus.

He also said the first cohort of 13 students who followed a three-year hotel management course at the STA, are reported to be doing “extremely well” in their fourth and final year at the Shannon College of Tourism in Ireland where they are seeking their diploma, prior to returning home and taking up management posts.

Explaining the use of the hôtel d’application, Mr Moncherry said it will operate just as any hotel with its own resident manager and allow inter-action for students with visitors, at an early stage.

“They can learn to cook and serve the guests at an early stage,” adding those going for tour guiding, can also practice what they have learned in the language laboratories. Half of the rooms will face the ocean on Mahe’s west coast, while the rest will overlook the mountains.

Mr Moncherry said it is hoped the hotel will be as ecological in concept, using renewable energy sources and cutting down on wastes.

He said the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is prepared to help the STA if it is serious about embarking on a “going green programme”.

The STA has for several years been making use of facilities left behind by personnel of the United States Air Force satellite tracking station. Though it has served the STA well in addition to its fantastic location, the structures, built in the 1960s, are now rather dilapidated and need to be replaced.

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