Victoria, Mahe (Seychelles) – June 26, 2017 (travelindex.com) – In the ever-evolving field of tourism, it is integral that we understand the industry. All too often we hear political leaders discussing tourism, oblivious of the real challenges faced by the tourism trade and the effects on those working tirelessly in the industry.
Tourism is not a merely a hotel or a resort, nor is it the DMC (Destination Management Companies), nor is it the airlines. Though these are part and parcel of the industry, the country as a whole is the destination being chosen over another for a holiday. The country encompasses the people, the rich culture in all its splendour and diversity, and the natural wonders which the country alone boasts. Tourism is specific to a nation and efforts to promote it must be tailored and individualised to the country seeking to rely on this multi-faceted industry.
The days when a five-star resort or hotel could be plonked just about anywhere and clamour for greatness are long gone. Visitors are no longer content to be confined by the marble walls of the luxury tourism complex; they are now seasoned travellers with an unquenchable thirst to experience not only all what the hotel has to offer, but also what is outside of their luxury establishment. They want bang for their buck, to use the colloquial phrase, and in this competitive industry all hoteliers must strive to deliver.
Tourists want to immerse themselves in the culture unique to a nation. This leads me to my recent troubling experience on my island home in Seychelles, La Digue, where the predominant means of transportation is the humble bicycle. As a young boy, I used to ride my bicycle around the island, using it to get to and from school. As a grown man, this is still my preferred means of getting around the island. It has been leaked through the grapevine, another traditional way of obtaining morsels of pertinent news, that the Licencing Department intends on issuing restrictions on the use of bicycles on the island. Specifically, it is whispered in hushed tones that locals will no longer be able to use their beloved bicycle as a means of carting their goods. If this is true, then it will be an unfortunate state of affairs for the locals.
La Digue Island is the eco-capital of Seychelles
Restrictions on having motor vehicles on the small island are already in place in a view to preserve the peaceful lives of the islanders and to safeguard the unique charm that La Digue possesses.
Another restriction being faced by the islanders is the imposition on the use of ‘golf buggies’ on the island. We have always advocated that La Digue Island is the eco-capital of Seychelles, operating on a path to environmentally friendly approaches. The ‘golf buggies’ on the island are battery operated and noise free. One would believe that these should be encouraged on the island and traditional motor vehicles discouraged. However, it is said that locals are not being permitted to put their personal purchases, including groceries, in their buggies. It has been suggested that they use their vehicle to go to the store and purchase the goods, but then call a taxi or a truck to come to collect their purchases for delivery at their property. This must be absurdity to its maximum as the island will be promoting the excessive noise so despised by visitors today by vehicles going up and down the main cobbled roads of La Digue delivering groceries to the locals. This is a clear case of the left arm not being too sure of what the right arm is trying to achieve.
This scenario was unfolding at exactly the time when the World of Tourism was meeting in the Philippines to discuss sustainable tourism and Seychelles was seen for a while as a leader in the tourism industry of the future.
The final point I wish to address today follows discussions I had with a visiting journalist who knows Seychelles well and who raised the issue of incessant loud music on beaches and stray dogs.”You are becoming a little Jamaica” he said to me following the recent public holiday when beaches were overflowing with noisy revellers enjoying a picnic day out with their sound systems blasting away all day and long into the night. We all know that Raymond DuBuisson of Praslin was single-handedly fighting the battle against loud music through his newspaper column ‘POPIP’. Raymond is a popular and indeed a respected artist who echoed topical views following his encounters with tourists visiting his art studio and what he himself observed as a Praslinois. Today the issue of loud music in public places is seen as a real challenge for the tourism industry as it is for Seychellois. Everyone appreciates that a point of much contention in the political arena as any leader who aspires to stamp down on this issue risks losing much popularity in the eyes of the locals, but the country is suffering and when the economy will stagnate more votes will be lost.
On the question of stray dogs and barking chained dogs adjacent to tourism establishments, the situation will hopefully soon be less dire. The proposed new Control of Dogs Act has now been made publicly available and the Ministry officials responsible for the drafting of this crucial legislation will be meeting with the public in the districts in the coming weeks. It is hoped that this new legislation will come into effect early next year.
World’s Best Job Opportunity – Cousin Island, Seychelles
It is often disputed where or what is the best job in the world. Young people often look at travelling the world as they work but this has never been something really possible for those who sit and dream of Seychelles as an option. Nirmal Jivan Shah, the Chief Executive of Nature Seychelles, is behind the concept of this project offering the possibility for travellers to discover Seychelles as they reside on the beautiful Bird Sanctuary of Cousin Island as part of what has been called the “Conservation Boot Camp”.
Mr Jivan Shah says: “When I came up with the concept of the Conservation Boot Camp, I took into account several competencies and character qualities needed in the 21st century. If you embark on the Conservation Boot Camp journey I believe you can acquire a dozen fundamental proficiencies or skills”.
About the Conservation Boot Camp:
You will get immersed in Cousin Island’s conservation work in quite a spectacular way. This place is unique and this is where the conservation boot camp happens! You will learn hands-on about conservation by contributing to the island’s conservation activities. You and your team of 5 to 6 other conservation boot campers will also help to make Cousin Field Centre (where you will be staying) and the island run at its best. You will gain real-life skills of working in the environment in intense and sometimes not-so-easy conditions… boat pushes, monitoring and censuses of wildlife, come heavy rain, intense heat or high humidity levels… sometimes accompanied by mosquitoes in the forest depending on the season. (the mosquitoes here are only annoying but do not carry any diseases). You might have interaction with some endemic intruders in your building, this is cohabitation with the wildlife.
Activities participants will be doing:
You will know Cousin like the back of your hand in no time by walking through virtually every inch of the island for during turtle nesting season, while conducting landbird and seabird monitoring; wildlife censuses, beach profiling and cleaning and invasives removal among other activities. Tagging and ringing the wildlife fauna will bring you closer to the island inhabitants. You will also take care of your place of living through different scheduled tasks. Aside from these tasks you will have the opportunity to interact with the local wardens and learn a little about Creole culture. The down time on Cousin is like no other place – pristine beaches to enjoy, unforgettable sunsets, the starriest nights unpolluted by artificial lights and other activities organised by the program coordinator.
What participants will get out of the program?
– A first hand insight into the management of a multiple award-winning Nature Reserve
– One-on-one sessions with Nature Seychelles’ CEO, a world renowned successful environmentalist
– An enviable participation in an exclusive program that is sure to boost your conservation career
– Practical skills in scientific field methodology
– Intimate and constant contact with land and seabirds as well as marine and terrestrial wildlife
– Experience of different ecosystems: coastal beach, wetlands, native forest, rocky hills and marine environment
– Opportunity to Learn and enjoy living in basic conditions and step away the materialistic world for a while
– Exchange with international students, experienced conservation staff, and global researchers frequenting the island regularly
– A Certificate of participation (Nature Seychelles is a certified private educational and training institute under the Education Act of Seychelles)
– A much-coveted opportunity to work in a world class dream destination, you will get to work in one of Seychelles’ paradise Islands.
Cost: 1000 euros for a 4-week period
Villa Koket at North East Point on Mahé
Villa Koket is located on the northern coast of the main Island – Mahé in a quiet area in the village of North East Point, “One of few places where you can still enjoy tranquillity and serenity,” says Brian Michel who owns this small home grown tourism establishment.
Villa Koket consists of 8 newly built modern apartments, all with magnificent view of the sea and within walking distance to the beach. All apartments are designed to offer a high level of comfort and also have self-catering facilities. Villa Koket’s location ensures a comfortable drive to and from the International Airport (about 30 minutes) and to and from Victoria – the Capital (about 15 minutes).
Its location is also within reach of popular beaches and restaurants e.g. Beau Vallon, which is about 20 minutes’ drive.
Brian Michel and his wife Jeannette are offering to visitors to Seychelles a true Creole hospitality in their very own purpose built small establishment. Congratulations to Brian and Jeannette for a lovely addition to the list of Seychelles Accommodation Establishments.
MAIA Luxury Resort & Spa appoints Lionel Ferrari as GM
MAIA Luxury Resort & Spa, on the island of Mahé in Seychelles, has announced the appointment of Lionel Ferrari, as the property’s new general manager. Mr. Ferrari was the General Manager of Paradise Sun on Praslin Island and has recently moved to MAIA Luxury Resort & Spa as the new General Manager, effective 1st May 2017. Mr. Ferrari will, in his new role, oversee both properties until such time as a replacement at Paradise Sun is confirmed.
Mason’s Travel in Seychelles to Offer Eco-Luxury Transfers with Porsche Hybrids
Mason’s Travel is launching a new luxury transfer service that will represent both a step up in comfort and class for VIP travellers, while reducing carbon emissions as part of its ongoing environmental mission.
Two new Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrids will be the latest additions to the Mason’s Travel fleet, offering VIP visitors to Seychelles the opportunity to be chauffeur-driven in one of the world’s most stylish and comfortable vehicles.
“Often luxury is associated with being wasteful or not very environmentally friendly, but this is a wonderful example of how the latest technology can be great for the environment,” said a representative of Mason’s Travel PR, Branding & Communications Department. “Hybrid engines are especially efficient in Seychelles due to the nature of the roads and the fact that there is very little high-speed driving.”
According to Car and Driver, which independently rates automobiles worldwide, the highly rated Cayenne is a combination of “luxury, off-road ability, and sports-car performance—just what you would expect in a Porsche SUV. The Cayenne is easy to hustle around curves and is equally ready for family duty.”
Ikechi Uko of Nigeria wins African Tourism and Hospitality personality of the year at MICE East Africa
Mr. Ikechi Uko, the organiser of the Akwaaba African Travel markets annual exhibitions in Lagos Nigeria has clinched the 2016 MICE East Africa’s Tourism and Hospitality Personality Award. The award was part of the 2017 MICE East Africa Forum and Expo in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The award was presented to Mr. Ikechi Uko by the Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Tourism Organisation, Yohannes Tilah, in the presence of Ambassador Amin from Foreign ministry after the ICCA CEO, Martin Sirk, gave a Keynote address on Business Meetings as an Economic Driver.
The awards were given to Mr. Ikechi for his unrelenting passion towards tourism and hospitality in Africa. “This award is presented as recognition for your invaluable contributions for the overall advancement of tourism and hospitality businesses in Africa. Your tireless effort to promote African tourism has greatly helped domestic hospitality becoming sources of economic growth and social development as well as building international reputations.
Therefore, on behalf of MICE East Africa Forum and Expo and the Hotel Show Africa Hospitality Investment Trade show we are grateful to honour you and acknowledge your continued works throughout African tourism and hospitality industry”, said Mr. Kumneger Teketel WG, Managing Director of Ozzie Business & Hospitality GP – the show organizer.
In his response to the award, Mr. Ikechi Uko acknowledged the sustained efforts of African working hard to uplift tourism on the continent. “I dedicate the award to Africa and all Africans promoting Travels within Africa”, Mr. Uko said. Mr. Rick Taylor of the Business Tourism Company also received the award and recognition as the MICE Africa’s African Meetings/MICE Industry Personality of the Year 2016.
Ikechi Uko is also the Publisher of ATQNews.com and Travellers magazine, first Travel magazine in West Africa. He is also the convener of Port Harcourt Bantaba which is aimed at stimulating tourism and hospitality in his country Nigeria and Accra Weizo, which holds in Ghana, aimed at promoting seamless travels in West Africa. “I have had the pleasure of meeting Ikechi in Uganda at a recent East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP) event and was impressed by his clear commitment for Africa, its tourism industry and for the culture that makes Africa so great,” says Alain St.Ange of Saint Ange Consultancy.
“The time is now for the African Union to discuss with such great personalities of Africa to get the keys USPs of Africa, Cultural Assets and African personalities in a publication for writing the narrative of Africa by Africa and pushing Brand Africa forward” St.Ange said.
“Congratulations to Ikechi Uko on clinching the 2016 MICE East Africa’s Tourism and Hospitality Personality Award. I consider myself proud to have met you,” Alain St.Ange said.
Minister Anil Gayan of Mauritius says the contribution of the island’s expatriate workers need to be recognised
Anil Gayan, the Minister of Tourism of Mauritius, has remarked that the contribution to the island’s tourism industry by expatriate workers need to be recognised. This was the message echoed by Minister Gayan at the AGM of AHRIM (Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Mauritius) that was held at Le Paradis Le Morne Hotel on the 22nd June. Minister Anil Gayan was responding to vocal critics against the tourism industry.
Jean-Louis Pismont of Beachcomber Hotels was re-elected President of the Association at this AGM of the Association.
In Seychelles expatriate workers are unfortunately also the subject of political football as the island’s tourism trade remains very much in dire need of expatriate employees for certain key roles. Different attempts put forward by the private sector tourism trade for a contingent of expatriate workers is often criticised with a local newspaper even making the unfounded claim that Seychelles has too many expatriate workers in the tourism industry.
It is a reality that we do not have enough Seychellois to fill all positions in the tourism field today occupied by the expatriate contingent. It is also a fact that Seychellois workers are lumbered with more work when the staffing numbers are not filled and this is to the annoyance of the local team members who have to shoulder more responsibility than they are required to.
Harley Davidson in Mauritius for a show of exceptional motorcycles
The Harley Davidson Fan Club would have been impressed with the noise, music and the American myth through the exceptional show on the 25 June with a road-trip across Mauritius. A break was taken from the road-trip at the Sugar Beach Hotel. Mauritius is fast establishing itself as the events destination of the Indian Ocean.
Madagascar & Reunion Islands working together in tourism
Roland Ratsiraka, the Minister of Tourism of Madagascar visits Reunion Island with a delegation of 40 of the big island’s tourism private sector trade to try to grow visitor arrival numbers from Reunion.
Minister Ratsiraka was received by President Didier Robert, the President of Region Reunion and together analysed the drive to see Madagascar double the number of Reunionais holiday in Madagascar. “Our history is so linked and responds to our drive for multi-destination for visitors to the Indian Ocean,” said Minister Ratsiraka as he met President Didier Robert.
Both islands are part of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands.