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New online application and approval for visitors as from September 15 | 26 August 2020

New online application and approval for visitors as from September 15

The meeting in progress (Photo: Joena Meme)

As from September 15, 2020, visitors coming to Seychelles will have to apply and receive their approval online, instead of the actual emailing system which is lengthy and time costing.

Since the resumption of commercial passenger flights on August 1, visitors have been filling in their information sheet, before sending it via email, along with their Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to the department of health for authorisation to enter the country.

The new measure, which is already being worked on, was announced yesterday by tourism minister Didier Dogley following the fifth 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 aim of the framework is also to come up with strategies to bring back tourists, while maintaining the health of the country.

The lift in air travel restrictions came into effect on Saturday August 1 and to date the country has registered over 2000 visitors without any coronavirus (Covid-19) reported case.

Yesterday’s meeting which took place at the Seychelles Trading Company (STC) conference room was attended by representatives of various entities directly involved with the pandemic and its effect on the local society, including the health department, the Ministry of Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS), the Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (Ceps), the Seychelles Inter-Faith Council (Sifco), the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA) and the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) among others.

According to Minister Dogley, who is also the chairperson of the task force of the framework, the new application method will be more efficient and quicker in giving visitor’s approval as everything will be done simultaneously in one application.

Another point discussed at yesterday’s meeting was the certified or accredited tourism establishments.

Minister Dogley explained that so far, there are 381 certified establishments, totalling to 4400 rooms.

One of the most important issues discussed yesterday was the decision to reduce the 72-hour requirement for CPR test to 48 hours.

Minister Dogley explained that since some of the most high-risked countries are our main sources of visitors, especially France, England and Italy, it has been decided that those countries will be removed from the negative list.

Once in the country, visitors from those countries will however have to stay in one specific hotel for seven (7) days, while another PCR test will be carried out on them after four (4) days.

This new measure, Minister Dogley said, will help to boost the operators’ confidence and help to rebound our tourism industry.

He also explained that the issue will be on the agenda of this week’ cabinet of ministers’ meeting to decide who will be bear the cost of the second PCR test.

Minister Dogley also added that so far decisions taken and measures put in place are working efficiently and there are indications that there will be more gradual progress.

Commenting on the previous high and low risk countries which have been replaced by a ‘permitted country’ list, Minister Dogley said it was confusing, while not ethical in the area of diplomacy.

 

Roland Duval

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