National Integrated Management Framework: | 21 October 2020
Committee satisfied with decisions and collaboration for re-opening
The task force established under the National Integrated Management Framework to coordinate the re-opening of the Seychelles International Airport is satisfied with the decisions taken thus far, and efforts to once again attract visitors to Seychelles’ shores, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chairperson of the task force, Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Didier Dogley said yesterday following the committee’s seventh and final meeting that he is satisfied with how the numerous partners and stakeholders collaborated and worked together to plan for the phased re-opening to ensure a solution that is in the interest of everyone.
“If we look back since we opened on August 1 to date, we have observed that generally, we have done fairly well. The number of Covid-19 cases we received were few and in all the cases, the department of health was able to put under control and deal with. We don’t have any community transmission and nobody has lost their lives. It has been a period in which we learned a lot, and we have had to take difficult decisions, but we ensured to consult each other, and all important actors related to tourism, health and business in Seychelles and the committee has played a defining role in all the decisions taken.”
“The meeting highlights the work that has been conducted by the government, together with partners from the private sector, as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has been really important in giving us these successes. We also think that different workers at hotels, airports and different places, are also playing their role, so we are not living a life where we are in fear, as is the case in Europe, where the situation in worsening,” Minister Dogley stated.
Since the re-opening to commercial flights on August 1, just over 4000 visitors have graced Seychelles’ shores, although around 6000 passengers in total have come through the airport, inclusive of Seychellois residents.
Despite the re-opening of borders, it is essential to keep up efforts to entice visitors, Minister Dogley says. As such the SCAA is offering to airport operators special incentives as well as to airline operators, in a bid to encourage them to continue with their routes, despite not having as many passengers onboard.
During yesterday’s meet, Public Health Commissioner Jude Gedeon provided a global and local overview of the Covid-19 pandemic while chief executive of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) Garry Albert addressed the processes at the airport, which have been improved from the early days of re-opening, Minister Dogley acknowledged.
Principal secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, relayed information on the number of tourism establishments and businesses that are certified and who have shown interest in being certified, training sessions that are being held together with the Seychelles Hotel and Tourism Association, as well as the ongoing work to accommodate visitors from different categories, Category 1 and Category 2 visitors. Similarly, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) is keen to attract visitors in search of something other than a luxury holiday destination to include other categories of travellers, most specifically, persons who can work remotely from Seychelles.
Chief executive officer of the STB, Sherin Francis, proposed that Seychelles can generate much-needed tourism earnings from these categories of travellers, although she noted that collaboration and the cooperation of telecommunication companies are essential to facilitate the work of such professionals.
Mrs Francis also addressed the need to speed up with digitalisation of services as a means to reduce physical contact, as well as a presentation on the different airlines and forecasts with relation to bookings for the rest of the year and 2021.
Unlike previous meetings, the final meet was not chaired by President Danny Faure.