Access to hotels and beaches for all, says Minister St Ange


The call was made in a declaration by Tourism and Culture Minister Alain St Ange in the National Assembly on Tuesday following written and verbal complaints received by his ministry that people are being denied access to hotels.

The issue of access to beaches had already been addressed by the ministries responsible for tourism, land use and environment, and Minister St Ange took the opportunity on Tuesday to remind tourism establishments and property owners of existing laws.

The tourism minister said that his ministry is very concerned about the situation which he said should not become a habit and common practice.

He reminded that the law makes provisions for hotels with public license to give access and offer service to all clients including Seychellois, save for private functions and facilities reserved to residents and for which one has to check in, as long as he/she respects the in-house regulations.

Otherwise hotels will have to change their license to one of a private club whereby they will not be allowed to sell anything to tourists, he insisted.

“Discrimination is not acceptable and will not be tolerated,” the minister said, adding that “Seychellois should also be able to enjoy facilities available in his or her own country”.

In an effort to find a solution to the problem, Minister St Ange said that his office has sent the declaration to all hotels and is working in close collaboration with them, the Seychelles Licensing Authority (SLA) and the immigration department.

He informed the Assembly that his ministry is encouraging all hotels to have at least one Seychellois security personnel who knows the local culture and who can better greet clients at the entrance gate.

For persons whose rights are not respected by hotels and who are treated with disrespect by hotel staff, the minister is asking that they complain to the tourism ministry in writing, stating all possible details of the incident, including the persons involved.

He stressed that this is important as in case the culprit is a foreigner, his or her gainful occupational permit (GOP) can be revoked even if the company’s employee is the hotel’s general manager.

On the issue of beach access, Minister St Ange said that as present laws allow access to beaches by sea but restrict access where there is no public access and properties cannot be trespassed, a concerted effort should be made to address the loophole in the law and get property owners to provide public access to all beaches.

For new tourism establishments, the minister said building permission should include a condition which ensures provision of beach access.

The tourism minister has also said that with the collaboration of other partners, his ministry is currently addressing other problems with hotels, such as the issue of salary for local workers.