STB promotes Seychelles as the ideal ‘workcation’ destination | 23 January 2021
The idyllic Seychelles islands could soon be catching up with other top ‘workcation’ destinations, as the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and partners get ready to launch the latest international marketing campaign, promoting the islands as the ideal destination to combine work and play.
The campaign, which is expected to be launched on the international front as from February, was yesterday unveiled by the project committee, comprising players from both government and the private sector, including the chief executive of the STB, Sherin Francis, chairman of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Oliver Bastienne, chairperson of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA) Sybil Cardon, principal secretary of the department of Tourism Anne Lafortune and chief executive of the Seychelles Investment Bureau (SIB) Cindy Vidot.
‘Workcations’, or ‘workations’, were until recently a niche travel trend, but with the Covid-19 pandemic and many more people now able to work remotely, the trend is becoming more widespread. As such, the different partners have over the past seven months collaborated to materialise the campaign, which is expected to remain a lucrative niche travel market in the future, as a much-needed boost for the domestic tourism industry, and most specifically the smaller tourism establishments.
Digital nomads opting for workcations in Seychelles can, from the launching of the campaign, start planning their trip and applying for inbound travel permission through the Seychelles Travel Authorisation platform, Travisory. If authorised, they are to be issued with a visitor’s permit enabling them to stay and work remotely from their chosen tourism establishment for periods spanning one month up to one year, although they are not permitted to work or provide services locally in exchange for financial remuneration.
“We have developed different personalities, different persons we are targeting, so we have developed a bracket. These are persons aged between 28 to 56 years old and who are at a middle-management level or are experts in their domain, meaning their income bracket is quite high, knowing that Seychelles is not a destination that is not as affordable as other destinations in the Caribbean”.
“There are two categories, the first of which self employed, as well as employees, which is a trend that has developed especially over the past year whereby work from home is a work style that has been adopted by many organisations globally,” Mrs Francis explained.
As with all visitors, they will be subject to certain travel conditions, including quarantine should they not be vaccinated, as well as abide by the public health measures in place during their stay.
In order to cater to digital nomads (persons who go on workcations), the committee is calling for other partners to come forward to supply services to these class of travellers as an opportunity to boost their own business and generate revenues.
“All licensed and Public Health certified tourism establishments are eligible to cater to such travellers, as they all meet at least the basic requirements,” explained PS Lafortune. “All organisations are to be contacted by the department to make the offer known to them, for registration prior to the launch.”
Of the three categories of establishments that will provide such service, those in the basic category are required to have basic wifi connection but must be able to provide visitors with additional connection at the visitor’s cost.
Establishments who are to be registered and certified for the Premium category must not only meet the basic requirements, but also have a dedicated workspace and high-speed internet access (between 10 to 20mbps) within the visitor’s entire unit. The third class, the luxury category must in addition to meeting conditions set for the basic and premium categories, feature an ergonomic workspace and have wifi connectivity throughout the entire property.
The registration process is to remain open for organisations to sign up as and when they see fit. In a bid to aid smaller establishments, the committee has approached the three telecommunications companies, all of whom are onboard and engaged to provide special packages to cater to these establishments as well as visitors.
Other business organisations are also being called upon to come forward, such as pharmacies, restaurants, and other class of businesses that are inextricably linked with the tourism sector to grab hold of the opportunity.
“In discussing about the ‘workcation’ programme, the committee realised that the economic benefits that the programme could bring should be shared among all businesses in Seychelles and not just those directly involved with the tourism industry. So it was important for us to work on an inclusive list of all businesses, that if a tourist is working or is based in Seychelles for a while will make use of,” Ms Vidot of SIB stated.
While participating tourism establishments are being urged to register with the department of Tourism, participating businesses can register for the programme through SIB. All participating institutions will benefit from increased exposure and visibility, on a dedicated ‘workcation’ landing page on the STB website on which the campaign is being marketed.
A sum of R450,000 has been allocated to the project and marketing campaign.
SCCI, who proposed the project to government, is of the view that the campaign and outcomes will not only be a boost for smaller tourism establishments and other partnering organisations, but the entire tourism industry, providing an alternative product and also diversifying the domestic tourism industry.