Israelis expected here as tourism restarts | 23 May 2020
As Seychelles prepares to open its frontiers to the world, talks are under way with Israel on allowing its citizens to resume visits here, Seychelles Tourism Board chief executive Sherin Francis has confirmed.
Speaking to Seychelles NATION, Mrs Francis stated that the Israeli government’s entrusting Seychelles with the safety of its citizens as one of the secure destinations is a definite advantage for the country as the airport is about to open.
“There has been a lot of interest from Israel as Seychelles has announced being COVID-19 free. This destination has been added to their bubble which is a list of countries Israeli can visit without requiring mandatory quarantine on their way back. As a result of this our hoteliers and our national airline have been looking to tap into this opportunity. All of this will be subject to measures to be established by the public health authority as it is of paramount importance that public health is not compromised,” Mrs Francis told Seychelles NATION.
It was only after the country recorded its fourth coronavirus case that the government took the decision to close the country’s borders starting Wednesday March 18, 2020 as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect its citizens. Seychelles is expected to open its airport on June 1 for commercial flights in line with guidance issued by the department of health. Seychellois will be able to travel abroad as per guidance and regulations issued by the department of health.
Seychelles recorded 11 confirmed coronavirus cases and all have recovered.
According to Reuters, Israeli ambassador to Seychelles, Oded Joseph, confirmed the negotiations and predicted a deal could be in place “within a week or two”.
Still according to Reuters, under the anticipated deal, Israelis visiting Seychelles would be exempted from mandatory quarantine there and on returning to Israel.
Mr Joseph told Reuters that one proposal was to send the Israeli tourists to select resorts on outlying islands, to provide Seychellois with extra protection from possible imported infections.
Emergency arrangements in the event of a coronavirus outbreak among the visitors or locals are also being discussed.
On November 28, 2019, Seychelles welcomed the inaugural non-stop flight from Tel Aviv operated by Air Seychelles.
Flight HM021 was operated by the modern Airbus A320neo aircraft ‘Veuve’ and commanded by Captain Mervin Sicobo and First Officer Russel Morel while the 120 guests – the maximum capacity for the plane – were looked after by cabin manager Mervin Arrisol, cabin senior Kelpha Dailoo including flight attendant Janette Croisée and Laureen Loze.
It was in July 2019 that Air Seychelles announced the new service linking Seychelles and Israel’s largest metropolitan area, Tel Aviv. The flight is six hours and 20 minutes.
Compiled by Gerard Govinden