The Seychelles took stock of the world economic crisis and reacted to mitigate the effects by handing over the control of their main industry over to the private sector. That was a departure from the past and a first for Africa, where the government hands over the pillar of its economy over to the private sector professionals.
The economy of the Creole Islands of the Seychelles is dependent on the island’s tourism industry and this more so in 2009 when the government of President James Michel instigated an economic reform program with the assistance of the International Monetary Fund.
It was essential for the country’s tourism industry to not only halt the downward trend it was experiencing at the beginning of the year, but to reverse the trend and claw back on the losses.
As at March 2009, Seychelles was recording a 19 percent drop in visitor arrival numbers based on its 2008 figures, and this is the same time the government of President James Michel changed the Tourism Board Act to give a controlling number of board members to the local tourism and hospitality industry.
The industry’s association chairman, Mr. Louis D’Offay, worked alongside the Seychelles Finance Minister Danny Faure to prepare the ground for this hand over of the management of the Seychelles Tourism Board and for the marketing of Seychelles.
Today, Seychelles is rejoicing in its successes of 2009 as it confirmed this week that the arrival figures for 2009 will be at par to what was received in 2008.
The Seychelles Tourism Board were at the ITLM Luxury Trade Fair in Cannes this week on the Cote D’Azure in France to support the island’s private island resorts and the Seychelles’ collection of five star resorts as they worked to consolidate their share of the market.
The newly privatized Seychelles Tourism Board had earlier this year launched an “affordable Seychelles” campaign in a bid to move away from the perception that the islands were a destination only for the rich and famous. Today, this campaign has proven to have been successful, as the islands have recovered on all its earlier loses in visitor arrival numbers and has been singled out as being one of the few tourism destinations whose recent efforts have paid off and today the Seychelles is enjoying a revival of its main industry, tourism.
2010 will see the opening of new international resorts in Seychelles when the Constance Hotels of Mauritius will open its 340 room resort, the Ephelia, and, Kingdom Hotels from the Middle East will open its Raffles Hotel on Praslin.
These positive new developments come as the island’s national airlines, Air Seychelles, announced this week its revised business plans for its own consolidation on its international routes and a new air craft on its domestic route.
Also, Etihad Airline has announced it will start operations to the islands and Emirates Airline will increase its flights to five times a week, while Qatar Airways announced that it is bringing in bigger aircrafts which will see Seychelles increase its 1400 seats a week from the Middle East to 2600 per week.