VICTORIA, Seychelles (eTN) – The date December 6, 2008 will be remembered in Seychelles’ as a historic day because of the official announcement that marked a step in a new partnership direction for the island nation’s tourism Industry and its government.
Seychelles Finance Minister Danny Faure revealed the government’s new guidelines for the management of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and of the division of responsibilities within the board at an industry general meeting here in Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles.
Minister Danny Faure’s announcement to hand over marketing the country to the private sector was seen as part of the Seychelles’ new economic program being implemented as part of an International Monetary Fund-sponsored program to reform the island nation’s economy. The government presented the restructuring of STB as the “way forward.” The government has previously managed STB.
The chairman of the Island’s tourism industry, Mr. Louis D’Offay, the owner of the well known L’Archipel Hotel on the island of Praslin, said in his address at that historic meeting that the government had taken note of requests made in different forums, in over a period of time, of the private sector’s wish for a bigger say in the running of the nation’s tourism industry.
Minister Faure explained that the Seychelles government was ready to restructure the tourist board to give the private sector a greater number of board members on that board’s controlling body, and also to hand over through the creation of two sub-boards the control of the country’s “destination marketing” and its “Tourism Academy.” It is the first time in the history of the Indian Ocean nation that the control of its main industry is being handed over to the industry’s private sector.
The Seychelles economic reform remains dependent on the success of the island’s tourism industry. This restructuring is timely, as it will give more confidence to the private sector and bring more energy within the industry to work for the consolidation of the island’s tourism industry at a time when arrival figures were sliding and when foreign exchange inflows expected to show a negative on a year on year comparison table. The world economic crisis is seen as an obstacle and one that the restructured Seychelles Tourism Board would need to be reminded of as it moves forward with its new responsibilities.