Businesses gear up for re-opening of tourism | 22 June 2020
Now free of COVID-19, Seychelles is cautiously getting geared up to welcome international visitors. The Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine has drafted guidelines and measures to be followed by tourism establishments in preparation for the re-opening of the tourism sector.
In view of the above, the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Didier Dogley, have met with tourism accommodation businesses on Praslin to discuss the measures and protocols in place for the re-opening of the tourism sector following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting, held at Les Lauriers Petits Hotel, Côte D’Or, was also an opportunity for tourism establishment owners to discuss any relevant issues with regard to the current situation.
Minister Dogley was accompanied by the Minister for Employment, Immigration and Civil Status, Myriam Telemaque and the Minister for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne.
“We are trying to give the airlines and tourism operators an indication of when we can reopen our doors so that they can start receiving bookings. In next Tuesday’s multi-sectorial meeting which is chaired by President Danny Faure, we shall be discussing and finalising on a re-opening date based on work which has been done by a task force specifically set up for this purpose. We aim to be prepared to offer visitors a ‘safe travel’ which they are expecting. And we hope to be back on track, in a safe manner in due time,” Minister Dogley shared.
Around 100 establishment representatives were present and they shared their concerns with the panel. These were mainly related to the newly introduced health guidelines, FA4JR applications, redundancy and repatriation of expatriate workers, the new GOP framework policy and the Seychelles Employee Transition Scheme (Sets). The attendees also made suggestions on how to proceed forward and these were duly noted by the respective ministers.
One of the attendees, Sharon Straven of Tourterelle Holiday Home, shared her satisfaction with the fact that the ministers have met with establishments of all sizes and structures.
“The panel have acknowledged and taken note of our concerns and comments. It is true that those in greater need have been assisted to sustain their staff salaries but I believe that those who have not been assisted will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage once tourism kicks in again,” she added.
Minister Telemaque shared the following with the media: “The aim of the meeting today was to meet with business owners on Praslin and brief them about the new GOP framework policy and to discuss redundancy and at least give them more information about the new Sets scheme which has been set up to cater for workers who will be made redundant as from July 1. Most concerns were about the redundancy processes, expatriate workers, repatriation flights and the successfulness of the Sets scheme.”
Minister Loustau-Lalanne on his part reassured all those present that their concerns and suggestions will be looked into and evaluated respectively.
At the end of the meeting, the establishments’ representatives thanked the panel for the open discussion and to have journeyed to Praslin to meet them.
The participants also took the opportunity to meet the ministers on a one to one basis to voice out their concerns in private.
Text: Nadia Bedier
Photos: Romano Laurence