Seychelles Tourism Minister urges for more aggressive domestic tourism push

The Tourism and Culture Minister of Seychelles, Alain St.Ange, who has again been on the road on the island of Praslin conducting his door-to-door visits of tourism establishments, has spoken on the n

Seychelles Tourism Minister urges for more aggressive domestic tourism push

The Tourism and Culture Minister of Seychelles, Alain St.Ange, who has again been on the road on the island of Praslin conducting his door-to-door visits of tourism establishments, has spoken on the need for Seychelles to also promote its sought-after uniqueness to the Seychellois through a more aggressive domestic tourism call. “The diversity of our islands and the recent increase in development by our very own people today offering nice, clean, and correctly-priced small establishments which can be found on Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue should open the doors for a more aggressive domestic tourism call. So many small establishments on Praslin are already after the domestic market and are kept busy by visiting government officials and by Mahe or La Digue residents who are taking a break on Praslin,” the Minister said this on Friday afternoon after his series of door-to-door visits of hotel establishments across Praslin.

On his Friday tour of hotels on Praslin, Minister St.Ange was accompanied by the Tourism Principal Secretary Anne Lafortune and the Director of Marketing at the Seychelles Tourism Board Rose-Marie Hoareau, and by late afternoon they had visited 17 tourism establishments in the Baie Ste.Anne district of Praslin. On Saturday, Minister St.Ange was joined by Sherin Naiken, the CEO of the Tourism Board.

The Minister’s first stop on Friday after landing on Praslin on board the fast ferry Cat Cocos at 8:30 am was at Suzanne’s self-catering, a one-bedroom guest house owned and managed by Suzanne Lesperance. After visiting the place and talking to the owner on the state of her business, her level of occupancy, her pricing policy among other points, Minister St.Ange and his delegation went to Robert Lester’s one-bedroom self-catering apartment named Chez Lester, which is situated just opposite the spectacular beach at Cote D’Or.

Another stop at Cote D’Or was at the Village du Pecheur, a small hotel owned by renowned businesswoman Mary Geers. The beachside property was recently completely rebuilt and is today enjoying very good occupancy level. Even Mrs. Geers had to spend the night in another Praslin establishment as her Village du Pecheur was enjoying a full house when the Ministerial delegation was on Praslin last Friday. Mrs. Geers used that opportunity to speak about her future investment ideas in the field of tourism and was re-assured by Minister St.Ange that the government remained committed to encourage Seychellois entrepreneurs, small or large, to get more involved in the tourism industry, because that remained the only way to consolidate the island’s tourism industry for the long term.

After Village du Pecheur, Minister St.Ange proceeded to the next establishment right next-door on the Cote D’Or Beach belonging to Mrs. Rose-Mary Rene. The seven-bedroom guest house of Rose-Mary has seen an injection of new capital investments, but they expressed their sadness about the bushes being trimmed by the Department of the Environment and just left to rot where they were cut resulting in a messy and unfriendly state of their beachfront environment. Speaking to the Minister, Mrs. Rene said she is satisfied with the number of clients she gets and was very happy with the ministerial visit.

Among the large hotels visited last Friday were the Berjaya Praslin Beach Hotel and the Paradise Sun Hotel. The challenges being faced by illegal charter boats taking excursions to government-managed reserves and the touting for business from Cote D’Or beach was discussed by many hotel owners and managers. “Those touting for business even take a deposit for excursions and then just do not turn up with their boat for the excursion,” some hotel owners said as they begged for action by the relevant authorities because their clients were leaving Seychelles unhappy. Other points were the sale of produce by traders along the beachside access road when a small market just down the same road lay empty, as well as the lack of light in that whole area and also from Cote D’Or Apartments all the way to Domaine de La Reserve where not a single lamp post existed and causes unfortunate accidents.

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At the Berjaya Praslin Beach Hotel, the Minister saw the fully-renovated rooms and also discussed plans to upgrade the Beachside Pizzeria. Paradise Sun Hotel was one establishment which Minister St.Ange commended for responding to the call he had personally made during the recent mid-year marketing review meeting organized by the Seychelles Tourism Board whereby he urged hotels to promote the island’s local Creole culture.

Minister St.Ange was briefed on the new initiatives taken by Paradise Sun to promote local cuisine and entertainment by the hotel’s Manager, Lionel Ferarri, over a special lunch hosted for Minister St.Ange and his delegation. The Chef at Paradise Sun was eager to showcase the efforts by the beachside hotel to ensure their guests are offered the opportunity to taste dishes made with local Seychelles products only. Minister St.Ange said that he was impressed by dishes served using breadfruit, octopus, fish, and local spinach.

Other properties the Minister St.Ange and his delegation visited and met the managers of were the Bedier Villas owned by Louis Bedier, and Les Lauriers Petit Hotel owned by Edwin and Sybille Rose. Minister St.Ange was updated on security concerns where more attention is needed to be raised on how police actions could today be jeopardizing visitors’ impression of the Seychelles.

Minister St.Ange also went round Cote D’or to meet May Paul Payet of Chez May Paul bed and breakfast guesthouse, and not far from her, Cote D’Or chalets owned by Sonny Payet, who is re-investing and extending his tourism establishment.
Villa Bananier, managed by Anne Payet, was the Minister’s next establishment to visit. An eight-bedroom bed and breakfast guest house, Villa Bananier has each of its bedrooms named after a type of banana found locally.

Villa Milou and Villa Kass, both managed by Natasha Larue, located opposite the beautiful beach of Anse Possesion were also two establishments visited by the tourism delegation. Miss Larue’s brother, Francis Larue, who owns the Marine Park Cottage, a self-catering establishment, also gave Minister St.Ange a tour of his place. Both siblings said they are happy with their establishment’s level of occupancy. Villa Milou’s pricing for one of their four-room villas is interesting said the Minister and needed to be given more visibility.

Located on top of the mountain at Anse Volbert with a fantastic view and tranquil environment, the Mango Lodge is a one-of-a-kind, self-catering tourism establishment. The location, decor and infrastructure was offering more diversity on Praslin. The Minister was impressed with the view and the establishment’s style which prompted to say that theirs was a need for more investment in lodges, especially in the mountain areas instead of continuing to crowd the beach fronts.

The last stop for the day was at Le Duc de Praslin, a small hotel owned by well-known businessman Robert Payet who warmly welcomed the delegation to his establishment. Speaking to the Minister, Mr. Payet put forward his concerns and vision not only for his hotel but for the betterment of tourism on the island of Praslin.

The Minister congratulated Le Duc de Praslin for their extra push in their pastry departments run by Seychellois pastry chefs. “What is being produced makes Seychelles proud, and the investments to ensure that these properties are able to deliver nothing less than the best is encouraging,” said Minister St.Ange.

While visiting the 17 establishments during the whole day of Friday, Minister St.Ange listened to the concerns and challenges aired by the Praslin hoteliers and he re-affirmed his commitment to work with his colleagues in the government to try to find solutions to remedy those issues raised. He commended the hotel owners on the proper maintenance to their property, on their level of cleanliness, and on their creative décor, among other positive aspects.

Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) .

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