VICTORIA, Mahe, Seychelles – President James A. Michel met with key leaders of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA) and the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) today at State house, following a request they made to discuss issues brought forward in recent consultations with hoteliers and business people within their sector about the future of the tourism industry.
During the deliberations, which included key ministers and other government representatives, representative of the STB board Mr. Alain St.Ange, CEO of STB who is also an ambassador for eTurboNews (eTN), along with eTN ambassador Dr. Elinor Garely, editor of eTN’s Tourism Executives; Mr. Ahmed Afif, Principal Secretary for Finance and Captain; and David Savy, CEO of Air Seychelles presented findings from three working groups they held as part of their consultations to the President. These working groups were on policy and planning – the tourism master plan, finance – operating cost factors, and human resources and service delivery. Mr. Louis D’Offay, Chairman of SHTA and an STB board member, presented the views of the SHTA.
On opening the meeting, President Michel said that creating such opportunities for discussions ensures that critical and timely decisions can be taken, and the trappings of bureaucracy can be avoided, especially given the importance of the tourism industry as the pillar of the Seychelles economy.
“The [tourism] industry is the motor of the economy, the creator of national wealth. Government’s job is to ensure that the best possible environment is created to enable the industry to unleash its potential,” said the President, “My government will do everything to continue to develop a dynamic, smart, and result-orientated synergy with the private sector.”
The issues that were discussed included taxes, inter-island transportation, the Seychelles International Airport, the state of local infrastructure, GOPs, concerns over human resources, and other finance-related issues, among other initiatives such as plans to provide local entrepreneurs with land and access, to financing to develop tourism-related businesses.
This initiative comes about as a result of the President’s recent acquisition of the tourism portfolio and his recent visit to the STB offices in Victoria, where he made reference to the importance of driving the “Seychelles Brand.”
“This meeting was very important for us to discuss ways that we can facilitate business in Seychelles and how we can reduce certain difficulties, especially issues that have an impact on making us more competitive,” said Mr. D’Offay, “Although we have been working on these issues for a while, we needed to personally update the President, now that he has taken over the tourism portfolio.”
“Following the recent launch of the ‘Seychelles Brand’ by the President, this meeting provided an opportunity to further contribute to the formation of this brand, to identify what the barriers are, and how we can make this brand a reality,” said Mr. St.Ange, “These discussions are one of many to take place, which are aimed at developing a master plan for tourism, especially given that next year will be the 41st anniversary of the tourism industry in Seychelles.”
Those present at this morning’s meeting included Minister for Land Use and Housing Mr. Jacqueline Dugasse; Minister for Social Development and Culture Mr. Bernard Shamlaye; Minister for Education, Employment, and Human Resources Ms. Macsuzy Mondon; Secretary of State Amb. Barry Faure, who is also the Chairman of STB; Principal Secretary for the Department of Home Affairs (Immigration and Civil Status) Ms. Marie-Ange Hoareau; CEO for Licensing Mrs. Marise Berlouis; and Mr. Finlay Racombo, Special Adviser to the Minister of Investment, Natural Resources, and Industries.
Other participants included Ms. Jenifer Sinon (STB), Mr. Phillip Guitton (STB), Mr. Conrad Benoiton (STB), Mr. Freddy Karkaria (SHTA), Mr. Paul Hodoul (SHTA), Mrs. Rose Marie Hoareau, and Mrs. Zakiya Vidot both from the Airline Operators Committee.