SPGA’s revenue collection drastically improved with digital ticketing By Laura Pillay |19 August 2022
The Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority (SPGA) has over recent weeks observed a significant improvement in revenue collection with the mandatory digitised ticketing system applicable to the Curieuse Marine Park.
The authority, who bears responsibility for the maintenance and management of marine and terrestrial parks and gardens, is gradually transitioning to an online ticketing payment system for all of its sites, in a bid to avoid revenue leakages, a major hurdle which the former authority, the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA), faced in earlier years.
As of August 1, all entry fee payments and mooring fees became mandatory specifically for the Curieuse Marine Park, which remains one of the most frequented sites under the authority’s responsibility.
Based on his observations thus far, the chief executive of the state-owned enterprise, Allen Cedras, is confident that revenues this year are to greatly outstrip collection of previous years, whereby despite having an online payment facility, the vast majority of payments were collected manually by rangers at the various sites.
“The system is very effective and there is proof of it. Statistics prove that just through the online payment system revenues have exceeded all other months whereby fees were collected manually, through cash payments. We have observed a very significant improvement when we migrated online, and the system has been working really well over the first three weeks, which is why we are expanding the mandatory digital ticketing to all of our marine parks as from September,” Mr Cedras noted.
In addition to improving revenues, the system presents numerous other advantages, vastly improving service delivery to customers. By offering visitors the option of paying days beforehand, officials can better plan available services, which at some sites include barbecue and mooring access, especially when faced with a high influx of visitors.
Moreover, since rangers no longer have to collect entry and service fees from visitors, other enforcement activities such as patrols can once again be prioritised.
Trends over past years indicate that SPGA usually receives the highest proportion of visitors across its sites during the peak months of July and August annually, after a dip in the numbers over the months of May and June.
During the first week that the mandatory online payments was effected for Curieuse, SPGA was able to organise services on the island for the over 200 visitors on one day, and an additional 250 plus on a separate day, all of whom purchased their entry tickets exclusively online. Visitors who have difficulty accessing the online platform may do their payment in person at the SPGA’s Orion Mall office.
To facilitate the process for Destination Management Companies (DMCs) who direct large volumes and groups of visitors to the much-loved attractions, special contracts are in place for DMCs to effect payments monthly.
“The system is a positive step forward and we will be maintaining it. It is less paperwork and serves to reduce the risks associated with collecting and having to bank large amounts of cash, a risk we were bearing for years,” Mr Cedras added.
While it would seem that visitors are more than happy to hop online to complete the ticketing process either through debit or credit card, SPGA is calling out to other tourism operators to join hands with the authority as it progresses on to make digital payments for other sites mandatory.
Eventually once the system has been fully established for all sites, the SPGA is to also enforce a penalty for visitors to sites who fail to purchase their tickets through the online platforms.
Seychellois nationals are not required to pay entrance fees to the marine parks under the authority, although fees for certain services are still applicable, and are to take effect as from September 1, along with mandatory entrance fees for Ile Cocos, and the Baie Ternay Marine National Park.