Launch of Tourism Festival |25 September 2023
‘Tourism remains people-centered’
By Vidya Gappy
The Seychelles Tourism Festival, an annual extravaganza that celebrates the unique culture, cuisine, and natural beauty of the Seychelles islands, was officially launched at Heritage Tour at La Plaine St. André, Au Cap on Saturday.
The festival aims to showcase the Seychellois way of life and promote Seychelles as a premier tourist destination.
This years’ Tourism Festival theme chosen by the Tourism department is ‘Bridging the Past and the Future’.
Despite intermittent drizzle, the activity attracted mainly people from the industry and also some tourists.
To kick-start the programme, the principal secretary for Tourism, Sherin Francis, reminded all those present that “despite all the technological advancements, Tourism remains a people-centered industry. It always has been and will always be. Our tourism industry owes its existence to courageous individuals who saw an opportunity and worked tirelessly to not only enhance their own lives but also contribute significantly to our nation’s economic prosperity. Let us never forget the hard work and dedication of those who laid the foundation upon which we stand today”.
Ms Francis added that as the industry continues to grow and is nurtured, it is essential to reflect on what made it successful in the past; what wisdom can be drawn from the pioneers whose shoulders we now stand upon.
“We must rekindle the spirit of camaraderie, where we see each other as collaborators and not competitors. Let us revive the spirit of providing excellent service, where working in tourism is not just a job but a calling – a deep desire to serve and make our guests feel truly welcome and at home.
Tourism is Seychelles’ largest industry contributing over 75% of our foreign exchange earnings. “At least one or two people out of every household in Seychelles depend on tourism for their livelihood, and this sector provides more than 30% of the employment. This sector will remain a sector that we rely on as we diversify our economy,” stated PS Francis.
She also called upon the youth to adopt the good practices from the tourism pioneers and take up a job in tourism out of love to serve our visitors.
During this event, the general manager of Trois Frères Distillery, Francis Mondon, welcomed the guests at the home of Takamaka Rum and also a heritage site. “This site attracts 300 to 400 visitors per day and in 2008, we signed a 50-year lease with the Seychelles National Institute of Culture, Heritage and the Arts. The company has also received 48 international awards for the distillery and its products are available in 58 export markets. We always collaborate with the Tourism department and organise tours for the tour operators.”
A small video presentation showcasing the journey so far in Tourism was displayed, followed by a fashion show by students from the Lospitalite School Clubs.
After the official launch, all those present, including the member of the National Assembly for Au Cap, Kelly Saminadin; the secretary general of the Seychelles National Institute of Culture, Heritage and the Arts, David Andre; the PS for Culture Cecile Kalebi were guided on a tour of the distillery.
The guests were able to taste some locally made mocktails and cocktails and a menu composed of mainly creole dishes was proposed.
Entertainment was assured by the Lansiv Band.
As of 2023, according to the Tourism department, Seychelles boasts 775 tourism establishments with 7373 rooms, 57% of which are either self-caterings, guest houses or small hotel establishments, all proudly Seychellois owned.
Photos: Louis Toussaint