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Stakeholders updated on lift in air travel restrictions | 05 August 2020

Stakeholders updated on lift in air travel restrictions

Yesterday’s meeting in progress (Photo: Jude Morel)

The transition period from landing to passengers leaving the airport is still a major concern to be addressed following the resumption of commercial passenger flights, tourism minister Didier Dogley has said.

Mr Dogley made the remark yesterday following the fourth meeting, or briefing on the National Framework for Integrated Management of the re-opening of Seychelles’ borders, which includes the structure for ensuring community resilience with the re-opening of the country to visitors.

The lift in air travel restrictions came into effect on Saturday August 1 and based on the framework, the re-opening of the border and entry of visitors are based on certain set strict conditions.

Yesterday’s meeting which took place at the Seychelles Trading Company’s (STC) conference room on Latanier Road was attended by President Danny Faure, along with officials from the health department; Ministry of Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning; Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS); Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (Ceps); Seychelles Inter-Faith Council (Sifco); Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA) and the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).

Based on debriefing following the first three flights, the SCAA, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), Air Seychelles and Customs have collectively agreed that the time taken by visitors from the time they landed to the moment left the airport was too much.

During the first three flights, passengers were entering the arrival lounge in group of 30 and according to Mr Dogley, adjustments will be made to increase the number.

This, he said, will be very crucial for flights with short turn-around (the time that passes from when an aircraft lands until it takes off again for a new flight).

The tourism minister also explained that all adjustments will be in line with the rules and regulations of the aviation and health authorities.

Another weakness which needs to be addressed is the passengers’ behaviour at the baggage conveyor, where no social distancing was being observed.

Mr Dogley also pointed out that 70 percent of the passengers are not sending their Covid-19 PCR tests results via email, even if they are producing it physically upon arrival.

With Emirates being the first airline to conduct on-site rapid Covid-19 tests for passengers, Mr Dogley said the airline is presently the perfect partner for Seychelles since they both have the same condition, while acknowledging that with other airlines flying, the situation will definitely be different.

Mr Dogley also urged all the tourism establishment owners to comply with the required standard operating procedure (SOP) to help maintaining a safe, secure environment for their guests and employees by following guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the local health department.

On behalf of Ceps, Nirmal Jivan Shah said they have identified several hiccups within the structures set by the government, especially in the three main pillars of its action plan which are health, society and community (resilience) and also economic.

He explained that the society and community pillars are the most challenged since the people are not following the guidelines set by the authority.

Based on that, Mr Shah said Ceps will create a volunteer group whose members, after receiving proper and adequate training, will act as health ambassadors, giving advice and guidance on the existing guidelines.

 

Roland Duval

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