By Alain St.Ange of SAINT ANGE CONSULTANCY
Welcome to Edition #15 of 2018
Monday 16th April 2018
The Editorial this week highlights Cost of Operation in Seychelles, Access to Anse Georgette on Praslin, Air Seychelles redundancies and the Assumption Island continuing saga. Stand Alone articles in this Issue cover:- 1. Cruise industry continues strong rebound in Seychelles. 2. High Praise for Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie of La Digue in Seychelles. 3.Crystal Water Kayaks on La Digue. 4. Comoros by Night. 5. Seychelles Tourism Board targets savvy travelers from emerging cities in China. 6. Ghana to host inaugural Africa Tourism Leadership Forum and awards. 7. Seychellois models reaching greater heights. 8. Minister Anil Gayan of Mauritius at the 10th edition of Riyadh Travel Fair. 9. Where will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spend their honeymoon? by CNN Travel. 10. Zanzibar President advocates development of African air transport. 11. Farewell to former Lesotho Minister of Tourism. 12. International Newswires continue to republish our Report.
Cost of Operation rising unabated
The cost of operation in Seychelles continues to rise, irrespective of the fact that the islands are in competition with other similar tourism destinations. Increases in food and electricity costs are serving to price Seychelles out of the market. Smaller operators are feeling the burden of these increases, which are stifling their viability and potential growth.
Service and workforce
Seychelles is already battling with an essential part of the industry – service – and remains reliant on foreigners to fill the gap. Recruitment of foreign workers is becoming increasingly difficult, which is further impacting on the prosperity of the service industry. It is not, and will never be, acceptable to merely force down the throat of the industry any unemployed citizen who lacks the basic qualifications, skillset and attitude required for the service industry. With service being key to customer satisfaction, it is important for employers to have a skilled labor force.
Access to Anse Georgette on Praslin
The topical issue regarding a suitable access to the idyllic Anse Georgette of Praslin, which remains a public beach, has been on the cards for a long time. However, the country seems unable, or perhaps unconcerned, to resolve the matter for a more conducive environment for its tourism industry. The current access through the private Golf Couse is not an ideal solution and will result in someone being hit by a golf ball as they navigate the course to reach the beach. The little used main access from the hillside is an unsafe option; someone lost his life a couple of years ago on that same track from Mont Plaisir. A sensible option would surely be to construct a wooden pathway bypassing the golf course and providing tourists and locals alike unfettered and safe access from the main gates of the hotel to the beach.
Air Seychelles redundancies
Air Seychelles had approximately 200 people on a redundancy list. Vimentis Group of Capt Christopher Lespoir working in partnership with the University of Seychelles, the Chamber of Commerce among others, which was currently holding a specialist training and conference in Seychelles said:- “As we were about to launch the 3rd seminar in Seychelles, we took the decision to give all the ones impacted by this a free ticket. Short notice, but 13 came and I can promise that they are not worried about any ‘job security’ anymore”.
Captain Lespoir and his group need to be congratulated for their kind gesture. Actions speak louder than words. The former Air Seychelles staff are also congratulated for taking their future into their own hands. When a door closes another will open.
Seychelles waits to hear of the salaries of the senior staff of the airline and their respective perks, such as any housing allowances they may be enjoying, as their fellow team members are dropped from employment. Today, the airline is moving its City Centre Offices out of Government Buildings in Victoria and moving instead into commercial properties.
The Assumption Island Saga continues
Terry Sandapin, the Chairman of the Save Assumption Group, has shared a photo of his elderly mother taken at a protest demonstration in Victoria. Madame Hooper Hoareau is now 85-years-old and suffers from Parkinson disease, but was still determined to be present to say “No is No”.
The recent news published in India speaks of the remodelling of the Assumption Island project for a military base with India. It remains a sad determination by those in power to refuse to hear the desperate plea of the people about the fate of one of their Nation’s island treasures.
Furthermore, it has not gone without notice that Assumption Island has recently been removed from a high biodiversity protection zone under the highly praised and world renowned Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) initiative. It was only in October 2017 that Assumption was classed as a High Biodiversity Area- Zone 1, alongside Aldabra. However, it has somehow and mysteriously been removed. When and why did this happen, remain pertinent questions for the relevant Authorities to answer.
With the increased discontent of the Seychellois people in this regard, the only honourable thing to do would be to call for a referendum and let us have our say.
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
Cruise industry continues strong rebound in Seychelles
The cruise industry remains the fastest growing tourism sector worldwide, and Seychelles and the Indian Ocean appear to be along for that ride.
By the close of the 2017-2018 cruise season this month, Mason’s Travel would have handled over 20,000 cruise passengers, a 33 percent increase over the previous season.
The additional traffic is good news for the local tourism industry, though the extra volume does present its share of challenges as well, says Lenny Alvis, General Manager.
“Increases in numbers are good for business but we always have to stay mindful about the quality of the experience we are providing,” Alvis said. “The good news is that there are real opportunities for serious vendors who are willing to adhere to the standards that the cruise lines expect, for instance when it comes to punctuality and the conditions of transfer vehicles.”
Other challenges relate to Seychelles’ relatively small size and the lack of certain facilities and accessibility for larger passenger groups, such as at some of Mahé’s sight-seeing stopovers like the Mission Lodge.
Despite the challenges, Seychelles is still set for further growth next season, when Aida cruises will join the regular line-up of frequent callers like Costa and MSC cruises. Based in Germany, Aida will be embarking and disembarking about 50 percent of its passengers in Seychelles during next year’s season, translating into additional transfers and services for the country.
Costa, which follows a specific Indian Ocean route with stops in Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion, will be utilising a larger ship next season as well.
The new developments affirm that the Indian Ocean will continue to play a key role in the global cruise market, whether as part of a dedicated Indian Ocean tour, stopovers on world cruise tours, or for short-term circuits when vessels re-position to other parts of the world along the way.
“The new growth will bring its own set of challenges,” Alvis said, “but if our local supporting industry can adapt and invest, the entire country has an opportunity to see the benefits.”
High praise for Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie of La Digue, Seychelles
The island of La Digue of the Seychelles sparkles like a hidden jewel at the heart of this mid-ocean archipelago. As the ferry cruises into the lively and bustling jetty, visitors are assailed by the amazing sights – the pale blue of the sea, the impressive granite rocks jutting out of the ocean, the vibrant colours of the small boats docked in the bay – and blown away by the unique culture which La Digue treasures. Locals wave to one another as they pedal pass on their bicycles, oftentimes balancing a child or a bundle of colourful fish. Everyone is friendly and polite.
It is in this haven of peace and serenity that La Digue’s most exclusive resort, the Le Domaine de l’Orangeraie, harbors a cozy and private getaway. The tropical setting, local architecture and their natural décor combine harmoniously to instil a sense of calm and tranquillity in their guests.
55 immaculately and thoughtfully designed villas are nestled in an idyllic setting amidst a ballet of birds at the heart of a luxuriant tropical garden. Le Domaine de l’Orangeraie is the perfect retreat to capture the true essence of exotic lifestyle on La Digue Island. They have now announced the successful completion of their 8 Garden Suite Residences.
As a testament to the continued success of this Hotel, a sample of its most recent glowing review on TripAdvisor is posted below:
Crystal Water Kayaks on La Digue
Crystal Water Kayaks on La Digue was featured on the Saint Ange Tourism Report last week and the owner of the company, Anis Jacob, wrote in to state, “I would like to thank you for the recent positive article you had written about our activity and we are happy for your kind support”.
Mr Jacob also used his letter to highlight the path he took to set up his business on La Digue. “I have been following the business of Transparent Kayaks for the past two years from Maldives to visiting them in the Gili islands last year and after receiving funding for the business it finally took me more one year to source out all equipment, setup our location and get all necessary licenses etc. The kayaks are the original poly carbonate and are expensive, hence why the project was expensive to setup.
As I have done my studies in Oceanography and Hydro-Geology in Australia, the programme we have developed is called ‘Discover , Explore & Learn’, with the aim to educate tourists of our marine ecosystem below while educating them on the granite outcrop and unique landscape that Anse Source D’argent boast.”
He is also thankful to L’Union Estate saying, “We are grateful that L’Union Estate supported our initiative for this project as they saw the positive influence we would have to the park and added activity that was needed. We are happy they took the initiative to encourage young Seychellois to help develop and make a difference”.
Mr. Jacob employs David Lenclume on a part time basis, who is present about once or twice a week, and other young Diguoise who he has trained that work part-time as well. Most of the guided tours are today done by Mr Jacobs personally as the business is new, and he wants to provide the best experience to his customers in order to spread his services through word of mouth.
Mr Anis Jacob is presently trying to help designate Anse Source D’argent as a Marine Reserve. While they run an ecological activity to help educate tourists on preserving and protecting the country’s Marine life, they see many individuals that conduct activities that are detrimental to the area such as fishing, installing fish traps and hunting for sting rays.
Areas in Anse Source D’argent where some coral regrowth is happening have been identified, despite damage from El Nino in 2016. Areas for coral regrowth will be marked soon and locals will be working with the concerned authorities soon to help.
A ‘marine life protection programme’ has been initiated with the children of La Digue school. Programmes targeted at educating the youth on the necessity of protecting marine life, the importance of keeping the beaches clean from plastic pollution and appreciating and understanding the need to protect La Digue’s fragile reefs and species that live within its surroundings will soon be rolled out.
Mr Jacob was proud to state that the business has been a huge marketing boost for La Digue and Seychelles in general as it has given the island a new ecological activity and an added selling point. Since they have started these past two months, they have seen countless tourists tag Anse Source D’argent on both Facebook and Instagram with photographs they have taken from the kayaks.
Comoros by Night
Vice President Djaffar AHMED SAID HASSNI of the Comoros also holds the tourism portfolio for his island nation. Since assuming office, he has been working hard to reposition the island’s tourism industry and has been impressing many tourism ministers with his novel ideas.
“Comoros by Night” is set to be held on the 21st and 22 April at the “Lac Sale”, an inland salt water lake often described as the prettiest lake of the Indian Ocean. “It is a dream evening at the Lake with live concert, night clubbing and karaoke, story telling, folkloric dancing, tombola and a giant barbeque,” said a representative of Comoros Tourism.
Comoros is an exceptional group of islands and a member of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands. “Lac Sale” is also known as the “bottomless” salt lake in northern Grande Comoros. It is a lake (class H – Hydrographic) in Ile Autonome de Grande Comore (Grande Comoros) with the region font code of Americas/Western Europe. It is located at an elevation of 19 meters above sea level.
Comoros tourism industry needs more visibility for its cultural events to make news in its key tourism source markets.
Seychelles Tourism Board targets savvy travelers from emerging cities in China
It is under the ‘Call of the Islands: The Last Eden on Earth’ banner that the Seychelles Tourism Board conducted its first China roadshow for 2018. The roadshow, which travelled to the cities of Hangzhou, Wuhan, Xi’An and Qingdao was targeting savvy travelers from these emerging cities.
Some top 20 agents from each city took part in the roadshow, featuring presentations by both the Seychelles Tourism Board and local trade partners. The Seychelles’ trade partners also had one-on-one meetings with the potential Chinese agents present. The STB Director for China & Japan, Jean-Luc Lai-Lam said: “As the percentage of outbound middle to upper class Chinese travellers is slowly shifting from the 2nd tier cities such as that of Hangzhou, Wuhan, Xi’An & Qingdao, they play a major role in supporting China’s growing outbound travelers and that of its major cities. It is vital that we stay ahead of new trends and development within the market in order to keep up with the fast changing travel habits of our potential visitors.”
The Seychelles Tourism Board also took this opportunity to establish working relations with the Tourism Commission of each city and thanked them for their support in organizing the different workshops. China is a market which the Seychelles Tourism Board is working to develop to its full potential. So far a total of 4,245 Chinese tourists have disembarked in Seychelles in 2018, placing China in fourth position among the leading markets.
Source:- Seychelles Tourism Board