Tourism department highlights its major achievements for 2019 | 04 January 2020
Each working year, the tourism department sets a number of targets which need to be completed by the end of the year. The year 2019 was no different, as it was one filled with a number of achievements.
The first major achievement was the development and elaboration of the Seychelles Tourism Master Plan: Situational Analysis and Destination 2023: A Strategy for Sustainable Tourism Growth. It is a result of evolutionary changes in the tourism sector on all levels, that an update of the Master Plan was seen as necessary so as to reflect these variations. The Tourism Master Plan: Situational Analysis points to the policy, regulatory, infrastructural, institutional, marketing, human resources and statistical gaps that need to be addressed to achieve targets under the sustainable tourism goal.
On the other hand the Tourism Strategy, entitled ‘Destination 2023’, provides the roadmap for the sector’s growth up to 2023 and beyond. The strategy outlines the current situation of the country and where Seychelles plans to be in the next five years. A tourism coordinating committee is in place with members from relevant stakeholders geared to tackle the work ahead so as to effectively achieve the goals and objectives set out in the Seychelles Tourism Master Plan.
Another great achievement for the tourism department in the year 2019 is the successful development of the Tourism Development Act, 2019 which was approved by the National Assembly on June 25, 2019. The Act was subsequently assented to by President Danny Faure on August 22, 2019. This was seen as a milestone for the ministry as we move towards a more sustainable sector. The Act is expected to solidify the existence of the tourism policies and frameworks in place so as to have an adequately regulated tourism system in the country. Furthermore, the Act also gives the department the power to establish minimum standards for tourism businesses and to legally implement a hotel classification programme which is expected to commence early 2020. The various regulations, including the Accommodation Regulations and the Vertical integration Regulations have been formulated and moving towards the process for approval.
With the various changes in the regulatory system in Seychelles and with sufficient time passed, the tourism department saw a need to review some of the tourism policies. The most recent ones include the revision of the accommodation policy, boat charter policy and the yacht charter policy. A number of consultation were conducted with the private sector so as to have comprehensive policies that are representative of the current socio-economic situation of Seychelles. The accommodation policy came into force on April, 2019, whereas the boat charter policy came into force in October 2019, both are in full effect.
The tourism department has also ensured that minimum standards in the accommodation sector were maintained during 2019, by conducting regular inspection visits. A total of 61 new accommodation businesses were licensed during 2019 which comprised one hotel, 57 self-caterings, and three guest houses. This represents a total of 243 rooms with the country’s bed stock at 13,044 rooms as at end of November 2019. Furthermore, the taskforce to deal with illegal accommodation businesses that was set up in 2018 reinforced its work during 2019. A total of 25 establishments were visited and as a result a number of these properties have regularised their businesses.
The department has continued in 2019 to mainstream sustainability in the tourism sector through the implementation of the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL). To note in 2019, three new hotels were certified bringing the total of certified hotels to 21. In an effort to create more awareness of the label and sustainability practices, 114 accommodation establishments were contacted during 2019 for one-on-one meetings and pre audits.
Trainings with the aim of improving service delivery in the tourism sectorhave also been conducted by the tourism department on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. In terms of statistics, 74 small establishments’ owners and managers or those aspiring to own their own establishments took part in trainings tailor-made for small establishment operators. Thirty (30) tourism commission agents received their certificate of attendance after following a one-day customer care training and 69 freelance tour guides obtained their certificate of attendance after following a five-day workshop at the Seychelles Tourism Academy in basic tour guiding.
In 2019, the tourism human resource development section of the department also delivered a customer care training for bicycle operators on La Digue. This training was organised by the member of the National Assembly and district administrator of La Digue in collaboration with the Road Transport Commission, Seychelles Licensing Authority and the Seychelles Ports Authority.
Contributed by the tourism department