Vice-President Vincent Meriton visits entrepreneurial ‘cultural tourism’ venture | 01 October 2020
Vice-President Vincent Meriton, the minister responsible for the department of Industry and Entrepreneurship Development, visited the Heritage and Cultural Education Services (HCES) on Friday last week as part of his regular visits to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The HCES is owned and managed by Mr and Mrs Payet, who reside on the outskirts of Baie Lazare. Their business offers cultural-based tours and activities aimed at commercialising cultural tourism in a more practical way. Customers, being mostly tourists, acquire the privilege to experience a day in the life of a traditional Seychellois; a service that is very much valued and appreciated as it is not every day that they get to experience such beautiful scene.
Throughout their tours, clients learn how to prepare a wide range of creole dishes, taught by an amazing group of exemplars, which is none other than Seychellois elderly. As a backyard farmer, Mr Payet adds additional value with their home grown produce, as tourists enjoy the experience of preparing creole dishes with fruits and vegetables freshly picked from their garden.
HCES offers a range of other services including traditional dance and instrumental classes, which in turn creates a good platform for Seychelles local artists by giving them an opportunity to shine equally.
Visitors can also learn the basic creole language, learn how to prepare traditional medicine from our local herbalists as well as manufacture hats, bags and other objects using local fibres, coconut leaves, local seeds and various local materials.
From a very young age, Mrs Payet had a great passion for Seychelles’ culture and heritage, which led her to invest her time and dedication wholeheartedly in this service. Her business idea pioneered after she joined a seven-day training course on entrepreneurship skill at The Guy Morel Institute where she learnt about personal awareness, entrepreneurship and effective ways to identify business opportunities. With the ceaseless support of her beloved husband and her own enthusiasm, Mrs Payet instantly proceeded in formalising the business. Their passion is evident in her pursuit to take her business further on national and regional scale. In 2016, Mrs Payet won first prize in the Young Entrepreneurship contest ‘Youth Buzz’. In 2017, she was accepted in the seven-week programme Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) launched by the former President of the United States, Barack Obama. In 2018, Mrs Payet represented Seychelles in ‘The Indian Ocean Entrepreneur’, which was held in Reunion, where she clutched the prestigious ‘Indian Ocean Best Entrepreneur Award’. Subsequently, last year, Mrs Payet became the first Seychellois woman to participate in the Women in Africa (WIA) Summit 2019, in which 54 African women were selected with best projects. Within the same year, she received the opportunity to present her project with the Minister for Tourism of Madagascar.
Their goal is to operate within the community through initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally. In doing so, HCES tries to involve our locals as much as possible. In 2017, with the help of Local Government, HCES organised a programme where they gathered a group of children from Baie Lazare and Takamaka to participate in a list of cultural activities during the holidays. To no surprise, the programme was very much appreciated by the students.
To date, HCES is still operating despite the decrease in tourism brought on by Covid-19. Notwithstanding the various difficulties they had to face in making her business successful, Mr and Mrs Payet still persevered and they strongly believe that our culture is our riches. This cultural venture is undoubtedly contributing towards the economic progress of Seychelles.
Press release from the department of Industry and Entrepreneurship Development