By Alain St.Ange of SAINT ANGE CONSULTANCY
In this issue:- The Editorial this week addresses the Rt. Hon Patrick Pillay’s resignation as Speaker of the Seychelles National Assembly, the visitor arrival figures and the effects a slight drop is having on the island’s economy. The fate of the Air Seychelles is mentioned as well as the cancellations of flights by Emirates and Air Seychelles as well as the drop in the value of the Seychelles Rupee. Assumption Island and the proposed military base right on the doorstep of Aldabra, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is again tabled as well as the unsafe situation at Mission Lodge with breaking-into cars. Stand Alone articles include:- 1. Meandering Manta Rays amaze divers on Denis Private Island. 2. Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island opening in March creates media buzz. 3. Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie Resort & Spa of La Digue Seychelles. 4. Avani Seychelles Barbarons Resort & Spa’s Creole Evening. 5. .The Human Freedom Index reveals the most liberal Countries in Africa – Mauritius, Seychelles and Cape Verde tops the list 6. Africa’s Hidden Exotic Islands – Seychelles makes the list -. 7. “Millennials will Shape the Future of African Travel. 8. The Magic Circus of Samoa in Seychelles. 9. International Newswires continue to republish our report.
Welcome to Edition #5 of 2018
Seychelles is digesting the sudden resignation of the Rt. Hon. Patrick Pillay, the Speaker of the National Assembly. This has prompted the organisation of a hurried bye-election in the electoral district of Anse Boileau, and has set many tongues wagging about the apparent and undeniable fissure in the fragile cohabitation our politicians have been vehemently defending for over a year.
The Seychelles tourism arrival figures for the month of January have been released. Transit passengers are on the rise and tourism arrivals are decreasing in comparison to 2017. It is often said that when Seychelles tourism sneezes, the country immediately suffers from a viral infection. Case in point: visitor arrival numbers for January 2017 stood at 20886, but January 2018’s figure is 19598. Similarly, the transit passengers figure for January 2017 was 422, and in 2018 it is 1895. This reveals that our Country’s efforts have shifted from point to point air transport to playing airline hub. It is not the Seychelles tourism industry we were caring for, but rather we are filling planes from Johannesburg to Mumbai in India and from Madagascar to Paris.
This is particularly bleak news when considering that the Emirates Airline is now reduced to a single flight from Dubai to Seychelles per day, a drop of seven flights per week. Air Seychelles is stopping its Paris flights and, as the National Airline, they represented 24% of market share and Emirates on its part had a 37% of market share. Captain David Savy, the Chairperson of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA), said this at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry meeting. Captain Savy was also a former Board Member of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and spoke passionately about the challenging times for tourism in Seychelles, cautioning everyone on optimistic forecasting.
Grimmer still, the marketing budget for STB was not increased as anticipated for 2018. Further, the Governor of the Seychelles Central Bank, Mme Caroline Abel, has on her part alerted the Country of the depreciation of the Seychelles Rupee versus the UN Dollar and the Euro.
However, these statistics are being somewhat overshadowed by the news that Seychelles will be having an Indian Military Base on Assumption Island situated right at the doorstep of Aldabra, the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Aldabra, the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean
Assumption (Assomption) Island is but some 20 nautical miles from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Aldabra. The Seychellois who have been privileged enough to visit this island are unanimous in their view that it is a gem which ought to be preserved. If it is to be taken over by a Power Military Base, not only may this island be barred from access by Seychellois, but can it still be used by those needing easy access to Aldabra to further conservation efforts?
UNESCO, environmentalists and concerned citizens of Seychelles must be questioning the rationale of having a Power Military Base established so close to one of our prized possessions: Aldabra. Given the lax policing of our waters, owing to our extensive territorial size, some are advocating that additional security cannot be a negative. However, it is unknown whether the new occupiers of the Island are actually going to assist with protecting our vulnerable shores from poachers or pirates, or whether they are moving into the Aldabra Group with an agenda of their own. Aldabra is the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean and has been staunchly protected by Seychelles since it attained its Independence from Great Britain.
Many are contemplating bringing a Constitutional petition before the Courts to challenge the constitutionality of this deal between the Indian Military and Seychelles to India, and to hopefully reverse it. We the people of Seychelles should never underestimate the power we have to challenge oppressive, and potentially harmful, decisions taken by the Government we elected into Office, which may impact our sovereignty, our Country’s environmental well-being and our security. Our impartiality and neutrality in international politics may soon be affected if we allow the deal to go ahead.
Air Seychelles is still very much in the news and the fate of the Seychellois staff is becoming a national problem. This is the Island’s National Airline and the security of its Seychellois Staff must become a cause for concern for every Seychellois. Their “new strategic transformation plan aimed at ensuring the long-term profitability and sustainability for the airline” is seriously being seen as trampling on the feet and livelihood of the people of Seychelles.
The Travel Advisory issued by the UK does not seem to be putting the needed pressure on the Government and the National Assembly. This week, Tour Guides posted photos of cars broken into at the Mission Lodge viewing spot at Sans Soucis, a famous touristic spot on Mahe. Tourists are being shamelessly robbed and something needs to be done to protect visitors to known scenic spots around the islands. As a country, we are failing in our duty of care.
It is important to again today acknowledge all who are diligently re-posting the Saint Ange Tourism Report weekly. Our Report ranges far and wide, from Australia to the Americas, from the Indian Ocean Vanilla islands to Africa & Asian and Greater Europe, with your continued support, which is greatly appreciated. You are helping us to grow from strength to strength with each new Edition.
Enjoy the read,
Saint Ange Consultancy
Meandering Manta Rays amaze divers on Denis Private Island
Diving in the crystalline waters off Denis Private Island is a terrific underwater experience no matter the month, but catching glimpses of massive manta rays can be an extra special treat at certain times of the year, as two couples visiting the island discovered recently.
The guests were able to take some impressive shots of these giant migratory creatures, as part of a dive to one of the many underwater sites teeming with marine life around Denis, which operates its own PADI-affiliated dive centre.
Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island opening in March creates media buzz
Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island, due to open to holidaymakers in the first quarter of 2018, is already generating media attention.
The new luxury resort, which will feature some 71 lodgings, including beach bungalows, villas, suites and private residence villas, has made it to CNN Travel’s ‘Hot new hotels to check into in 2018. The CNN listing describes the new Four Seasons Resort at Desroches Island as one which will offer secluded luxury for wannabe Robinson Crusoes.
Source:- Seychelles Tourism Board
Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie Resort & Spa of La Digue Seychelles making its mark
The positive messages reaching the Saint Ange Tourism Report about Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie Resort & Spa of La Digue Island prompted us to contact Joe Albert, the Chairman of the Joseph Albert Group of Companies, the group owning and managing this five star establishment on the eco-friendly island of the Seychelles and Eric Boulanger, the GM of the establishment.
Joe Albert, who also owns Le Domaine de La Reserve Resort of Praslin, said that, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” and happily referred me to the guests’ comments posted publicly on Trip Advisor and other Social Media sites. On his part, Eric Boulanger, the GM of the Resort on La Digue Island spoke about guest satisfaction and his Team’s drive for excellence.
Avani Seychelles Barbarons Resort & Spa’s Creole Evening
A night out for Seychellois and for visitors to the islands can often be just an evening in a restaurant. At the Avani Seychelles Barbarons Resort & Spa, a lively Creole night is hosted every Saturday. Guests and visitors can enjoy a finger-licking, full Creole Buffet, a live band, an small cabaret show, and even a market place selling fruits and locally-made souvenirs! It is a feast for the eyes and all the senses!
‘It was a bit like the old Reef Hotel when it was THE PLACE to go for a night out. The Zenith Band playing live in the background during dinner time, and everyone moving to the dance floor after dinner,” commented a nostalgic local last Saturday night after sampling the local delicacies.
The Human Freedom Index reveals the most liberal Countries in Africa
Mauritius, Seychelles and Cape Verde tops the list
Being trapped on an island may feel like a prison but in Africa, it’s liberating.
In the latest update of The Human Freedom Index, three African island nations topped the continent (Mauritius, Seychelles and Cape Verde).
However, do not get too excited. Mauritius may be number one in Africa but it is number 39 overall.The Human Freedom Index is a composite score that is based on statistics that measure economic and personal freedom. For freedom-loving Libertarians, this index sums up the best and worst countries to live in. It covers 159 of the world’s 193 countries.
“Millennials will Shape the Future of African Travel”
The Go Places Digital team recently caught up with Josephine Fifi Rurangwa, Head of African Expansion and Airlines Partnership at Wakanow. She spoke travel trends, the future of African travel and how Wakanow is making travel easier and more affordable for East Africans, especially in Kenya
First, tourism holds a special place in my heart. I believe tourism is key to the future of Africa, and working with Wakanow has also helped to accentuate that passion for African travel. Having worked in various industries including Media, Aviation, Telecoms and FMCGs for more than 23 years, I have been able to build strategic relationships and relevant expertise that are essential for driving Wakanow’s expansion across Africa and also building key partnerships with various airlines to grow the brand. So, the experience has been exciting.
The Magic Circus of Samoa in Seychelles
The Circus is Coming to Seychelles! The all-new 2-1/2 -hour fantastic show will push the impossible to the limit starting on the 15th of February! Over 30 great circus artists from around the world!