Tourism minister visits boat and yacht charter companies | 27 June 2020
The Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Didier Dogley yesterday visited seven boat and yacht charter companies based at Eden Marina.
The minister’s first visit to these companies was aimed at identifying the pertinent issues affecting their charter businesses and to discuss the development of safety guidelines for this sector as the border slowly reopens to tourists.
Also present during the visit was principal secretary for tourism Anne Lafortune and principal secretary for civil aviation, ports and marine Alan Renaud.
“This visit forms part of an exercise we are undertaking with various branches in the tourism sector. Boats and yacht charter companies is one of these branches that is actually quite important for tourism in Seychelles,” Minister Dogley explained yesterday.
“We are an archipelago with a lot of beautiful islands and there are some tourists who opt to go directly to these boats instead of spending their vacation in a hotel – it is a fantastic way to discover Seychelles.”
Nonetheless, these boats need to equip themselves with the necessary tools and measures by developing a standard operating procedure (SOP) specific to the size and characteristics of the boats.
“We hope to understand the different types of boats, the different types of charter operations and discuss with the owners, especially in light of COVID-19. The spaces on boats are limited and social distancing is a problem, so we must find a way to deal with this issue as we develop standards of procedures (SOPs).”
There are over 150 boats and yachts operating in the country for tourism purposes and most were performing quite well prior to COVID-19.
Anna Makhova, base manager of Beyond the Reef Charter, said that business has been almost non-existential since the lockdown was imposed, adding that the company is now receiving several charter businesses from locals.
Minister Dogley visited two out of four boats owned by Beyond the Reef Charter –a sailing catamaran named ‘Pelican’ and ‘PS’, a motor catamaran, both of which are very popular with clients.
The minister also interacted with Savita and Sonny Parekh of Water World boat and yacht charter and Sunseeker Yacht Services. The two companies operate 10 boats altogether, including sailing boats, power boats and luxury yachts.
“Boat charters had a meeting with the tourism minister and we all had different challenges, so the minister wanted to come to us to find out what boats we have so they can better understand us when we talk about our problems,” Ms Parekh, director of Water World, said.
The Parekh family, like all of the businesses the minister visited yesterday, are looking forward to when business picks up again with the re-opening of the borders.
The accompanying photos taken by our photographer Louis Toussaint show some highlights of Minister Dogley’s visit yesterday.