SEYCHELLES AT ARABIAN TRAVEL MARKET The Dubai-based Jebel Ali International Hotels was at ATM 2008 to showcase their two new luxury properties in Seychelles. The travel industry show ran from May 6 to 9 at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre. At last year’s ATM, Jebel Ali International Hotels signed management contracts for the exclusive 10-villa Round Island Resort, which will open in the second quarter of 2009 and a 39-room boutique hotel on Mahé named The Waterfront.
Round Island Resort, which is set within a designated National Marine Park, will have an all-villa property. Each will have its own private swimming pool and beach access, outdoor deck, pavilion and access to a spa and wellness center.
Jebel Ali International Hotels, a successful owner and operator of various unique entities in Dubai, said that it will conclude international contracting and finalize joint summer marketing campaigns for its array of local properties including the flagship Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa, which comprises the exclusive all-suite Palm Tree Court & Spa, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World and the Jebel Ali Hotel. Other properties include the Hatta Fort Hotel Mountain Retreat, Oasis Beach Hotel and the spacious luxury hotel apartments of the Oasis Beach Tower on the Jumeirah Beach strip.
SEYCHELLES TAKES BIG LOAN FROM MAURITIUS BANK
The Seychelles government has taken a US$20 Million loan from the Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) for the purpose of paying for fuel imports. The loan is said to be used by the Seychelles Petroleum Company (SEPEC). The conditions of the loan are not those that anyone would accept if they had any other choice. It is proof that the situation facing SEPEC and the Seychelles government may be getting desperate. Documents released show that the interests on the loan are punitive and that the repayment schedule is very tough. This latest loan has to be repaid in twelve installments, four of them of US$ 1,500,000 and eight of US$1,750,000. The repayment period has not been stated but the loan has been negotiated at the 3-month LIBOR (London Inter-Bank Offered Rate), which is very short-term. Pulling these amounts out of the banking system, on top of existing demands, will leave the system completely starved.
The foreign currency demands facing the Seychelles government and the continued shortage in the availability of hard currency raises the question as to why the government closed The Plantation Club Resort & Casino, a big foreign currency earner for the country. The interest for this latest loan is 3.5 percent above the 3-Month LIBOR, which is a standard yardstick banks use for borrowing to and from each other. Transactions are usually a little above LIBOR, but by how much is what shows whether the loan is easy or hard. The LIBOR for US dollar loans quoted for April 2008 is 2.7 percent which means that the MCB loan is more than the base rate which makes for a very tough loan. The interest of Seychelles new loan is calculated daily on the outstanding balance, which means that the counter is ticking away already.
A FIRST MAURITIAN-BORN ZEBRA The Casela African Savannah of Mauritius has seen the birth of the first ever birth of a Mauritian Baby Zebra from a mother that arrived in Mauritius at Casela in 2004. Zebras have a life expectancy of some 20 years and the newborn has been seen as being to remain close to its mother since its birth. The Casela African Savannah organizes daily mini-safaris and visitors are able to see the new born of Mauritius.
NEW ORIENTATION FOR MAURITIUS
Joel de Rosnay, an advisor for the government of Mauritius, has said that Mauritius needed to adapt itself to new trends. He was speaking at a video conference organized by the Mauritius Tourism Promotional Agency (MTPA) at the Euro CRM Buildings at Moka in Mauritius. The conference was attended by Mr. Xavier-LucDuval, the Mauritian vice-prime minister and & Leisure minister, and a delegation of the country’s tourism industry players. The known French specialist of Mauritian origin spoke of the difficulties and of the worldwide e-tourism expansion and of the need to be more adapted to the Internet trends. He said that the new travelers took time to prepare their holidays on the Internet. According to him, the best tourism sites with good references and that were more interactive that held the key to success. He said that Mauritian tourism should adapt itself to this growing trend. The government advisor went on to also explain different marketing concepts and for the need to expand its horizons beyond European markets.
FIGURES SHOW GOOD MONTH OF MARCH FOR MAURITIUS
The increase in visitor arrivals for March 2008 stands at 11.5 percent when compared to the same period in 2007. The Asian and regional markets showed an increase in double-digit figures whereas the European Market showed a 6.9 percent increase.
Mauritius has found that the Indian market increased by 24.7 percent with March arrivals totaling 3200. From South Africa 8594 arrivals were registered. This represented an increase of 24.2 percent, whereas Australia provided 1300 visitors, an increase of 14.6 percent and from La Reunion 9122 visitor arrivals were recorded, this represented an increase of 11.7 percent. France remained the main market with a further increase of 12.9 percent out of the 59700 Europeans arriving in Mauritius in March this year. The UK also showed signs of increased number of arrivals by 11.6 percent, whereas Spain with 1300 visitors recorded a 96.9 percent increase. For the first three months of 2008 Mauritius has already recorded 261494 visitor arrivals, an increase of 7.2 percent on the 2007figures. The MTPA has launched in conjunction with the private sector promotional activities for the low season months of May, June and July.
EMIRATES AIRLINES ORGANIZES AWARD CEREMONY IN MAURITIUS The Emirates Airlines from Dubai organized at Le Meridien Hotel an award ceremony for its best local agents. This event, known as the “Emirates Awards Night,” has become the most popular event for the Mauritius travel trade and was presided over by Mr. Oomar Ramtoola, the Emirates Airlines manager for the Indian Ocean. Emirates Airlines used the event to announce that effective July 2008, Emirates Airlines would begin its flight service to Guangzhou in China.
The Dubai-based airline is currently flying to 62 countries and Emirates continues to add new destinations to its flight schedules. From March it included a flight to Cape Town in South Africa. In July it will introduce the flights to Calicut (India) and Guangzhou (China). Emirates will introduce a new service to Los Angeles (USA) in September and also to San Francisco (USA) in October. During the 2006-07financial year, Emirates moved 17.5 millions passengers and 1.2 millions ton of cargo.
REUNION STUDENTS IN MAURITIUS The Mauritian tourism experience continues to interest its sister island of La Reunion. L’Indian Resort & Spa of the Group Apavou in Mauritius has been welcoming hospitality management students from La Reunion on attachment programs. The students coming from the Lycee Isnelle Amelein will be based in Mauritius for a six-month period. The attachment period will benefit the La Reunion students in the different hotel departments but also in the command of the English Language, as the French language is La Reunion’s first language.