Representatives from the government and the private sector of Seychelles met on Friday to discuss the challenges of the country’s tourism industry as seen by the private sector, and to look at its general development.
This was during the multi-sectorial meeting held at the National House, chaired by Vice-President Danny Faure.
Discussions during the meeting centred on several key issues relating to Air Seychelles, environment, air access, taxation, work permit issues, transport policy for La Digue, moratorium on large hotels, taxi meters as well as the new strategies to develop air connectivity between Seychelles and two Asian countries – China and India.
In regards to Air Seychelles, it was announced that this national airline has reduced its pricing for the domestic flights between Mahe and Praslin. This had been and ongoing request echoed by the private sector in previous such meetings.
From this announcement, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan said it is also vital to review the pricing of the ferry fares.
As for the new strategies for China and India, Minister Morgan said now that the new air fares between Seychelles and India is 33,000 Indian Rupees, promoting Seychelles as an ideal destination for Indian couples who prefer short wedding ceremonies will be among the new strategies. Another strategy will be to promote it as a honeymoon destination. Strategies for the Chinese market were also presented.
Relating to the direct flights to Paris, the Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange said representatives of the trade sector, Air Seychelles and the Seychelles Tourism Board will have to meet and see how to increase the number of tourists bound for Seychelles on this flight as todate a lot of the load out of Paris is only transiting Seychelles for an onward destination.
Another key point discussed during the meeting was the expectations of the tourism industry in regards to the 2016 budget.
The transport department gave an update on the taxi meters. It has been confirmed that the meters will be arriving in the country this weekend while the international technicians who will be training their local counterparts will arrive a week later. Taxi meters are set to be in operation soon.
The issue of trading in Seychelles rupees within the industry was also discussed as well as the ongoing bureaucratic approach for obtaining needed work permits for foreign employees when an agreed quota system was already discussed and agreed upon. Vice President Danny Faure will now be chairing a meeting that will bring together the private sector and the Ministers responsible for Labour and Internal Affairs to relook at this issue as was raised by the private sector. Environmental aspects which members also talked about included sharks monitoring and seaweeds on Praslin.