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Collaboration Key to Success for Seychelles Tourism, Alain St Ange

Collaboration Key to Success for Seychelles Tourism, Alain St Ange

Victoria, Mahe (Seychelles) – November 22, 2017 ( – Collaboration is the next big thing. It’s already happening around the world… and with great success. This White Paper by business consultancy The B Hive is a sounding of the alarm to all businesses. Change is inevitable and is coming at a rapid pace; there is really nowhere to hide and taking the head in the sand approach will not help”.

Seychelles has many a solution to join the needed collaboration approach and this is right on our very own door step. Paying heed to the likes of the continued drive to assist Seychellois to claim back their tourism industry, the Christopher Gill public / private sector approach for tackling the safety and security as the SHTA showed it did with real success, the Malika Jivan words of caution on cost of living and FDIs, the Chamber of Commerce, Barry Laine and other NGOs, Workers Union and scores of dedicated Seychellois all wanting a de-politicised, strong Seychelles, and one for every Seychellois. This would uphold the theme of the 2018 Budget “For a more inclusive Seychelles Economy”.

Its important to raise the points again written by worldwide partners of the Seychelles Tourism Industry. Tour Operators are looking for more public feedback on properties and services. Many of their letters received are all echoing this request. We at the Saint Ange Tourism Report, have taken the decision not to do this. We write articles about exceptional properties and services but will refrain from highlighting publicly the ‘worrying’ practices of, or by some tourism establishments and service providers. Privately, we continue to write to answer direct questions stating our honest opinions to the suitability of many a property, but this approach will remain on a one-to-one basis.

Most Tour Operators and many Retail Travel Agents dealing with Seychelles now receive the weekly Saint Ange Tourism Report. Tourism & Travel Press as well as Airlines are also on the mailing list and the response we continue to get week after week is a sign that the publication is indeed being very well received. Guest feedback, which is coming in more regularly, is something we have started to give publicity to.

A couple of weeks ago we publicised the letter received from a couple who were attacked on Praslin, because we needed Seychelles to wake up and smell the brewing coffee. The feedback from holiday makers are the word-of-mouth that Seychelles and the region really needs. A letter this week prompted us to go to Praslin to see a property and to meet the brave lady running the Praslin Holiday Home of Grand Anse. We were impressed and understand the glowing remarks by the group from the nearby island of Reunion. Another letter singled out speaks about the ability of Seychelles to claim it can have the best fresh sushi. This was from their visit to Denis Island with its abundance of fresh fish.

Environment is a cornerstone of the tourism industry, Seychelles Tourism Board CEO tells Sky News

The Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Francis, was interviewed by several high profile media organisations while attending the World Travel Market (WTM) in London. The 2017 WTM was held from November 6 to 8.

Seychelles’ consistent tourism growth was one of the main focus during the interviews with TTG, Globetrotter TV, FIRST Magazine, fDi Magazine, Sky News and Euronews.

Mrs Francis spoke about the current trend when it comes to arrivals figures, where Seychelles is riding on an 18 percent year-on-year increase in visitors. She also mentioned new air connectivity, including the upcoming direct service from Heathrow to Seychelles by British Airways from March 2018, when highlighting efforts to attract more tourists to the island destination, while emphasizing the need to ensure sustainable tourism

“For a few years now, we have been experiencing double-digit growth and will end this year on around 350,000 visitors,” Mrs Francis said. “That may seem modest, but we are an island nation of 90,000 people; we do not want huge numbers of tourists. It is about quality, not quantity,” she added.

Going further on this philosophy of ensuring sustainable tourism, her interview on Sky News focussed on how aside of balancing a surge of international visitors, the island nation is also actively working to improve the environment.

The country-wide ban on common plastic items such as carrier bags, plates, cups and cutlery that came into effect in Seychelles in July this year, was highlighted as one example of initiatives taken to protect the environment. To note that aside of causing pollution both on land and at sea, floating or broken-down pieces of plastic can be harmful to marine creatures and birds.

Linking tourism and the environment, the STB Chief Executive explained that with the Seychelles islands covering a total land mass of 455 km² scattered across an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.3 million square kilometres, a lot of the activities proposed to tourists are water-based, hence the need for such measures to be enforced by the government.

“A lot of activities tourists do when they come to Seychelles relates to water be it sailing, diving, snorkelling swimming … our marine environment is part of what we are selling in terms of the Seychelles experience, and if we do not take care this very marine environment that is giving us our bread and butter it is going to be destroyed, because we all know about the effects of plastic on the marine environment. If we can do our part to preserve the marine environment through these small steps the government is taking we are also preserving our tourism industry, we are making it sustainable for the future generation,” Mrs Francis said.

Aside of the STB Chief Executive the various media organizations also interviewed the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, who led the Seychelles delegation to this year’s WTM.

Taleb Rifai parting words on Richard Quest live on CNN

Anita Mendiratta of CNN – TASK tweeted the wise words echoed as parting words by Dr Taleb Rifai, the outgoing Secretary General of the UNWTO to Global Tourism & Travel Leaders on taking the tourism industry to the next level.

Dr Taleb Rifai said:- “To be relevant in life, you have to prove relevance to others, you have to be useful to others”

Editor’s Note:- From our mid-ocean islands of the Seychelles we say good luck to Dr Taleb Rifai in his future endeavours. Dr Rifai has been a good friend and mentor for the tourism community, and I personally value his friendship.

“I was one of the candidates who aspired to replace you as you entered your retirement, but my candidature was short-lived and the world at large followed this travesty of justice unfold live in front of every Tourism Minister from the Community of Nations. I know that I would have worked hard and with as much passion as I have always worked to take tourism to the next level.

On behalf of the Saint Ange Tourism Report and of Saint Ange Consultancy I say good bye dear friend and may Nisrine and yourself enjoy your retirement. Wishing you and your family the best of health and happiness always”.

Daniella Payet-Alis wins 2017 Continental Awards

Daniella Payet-Alis wins 2017 Continental Awards of CEO Global´s Africa´s Most Influential Women in Business and Government and Titans Building Nations for her achievements in the Tourism and Leisure Sector. “I am dedicating this Tourism & Leisure Award to all Seychellois & the Women of the African Continent” Daniella said as she was handed her Award Certificate

Daniella´s pioneering role in shaping Seychelles’ tourism industry, building her own companies and dedicating her time and passion to the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF) have again been awarded, this time with a Continental Award for the African Continent for Tourism & Leisure. Most recently she was awarded with two awards at the Regional Symposium and Recognition Awards organized by CEO Global, Africa´s Most Influential Women in Business and Government and Titans on September 29th 2017 at the Hennessy Park Hotel in Mauritius.

This additional award underlines what Daniella believes in terms of the need for Women to remind themselves to believe in themselves. “There is only one you and you are blessed with a mix of talents and qualities that no-one else has, in building economies and creating a future for younger generations on the African Continent”, says Daniella. Daniella thinks while it is fair to say that women face a number of unique challenges in the business world, it is also important to recognise that it is not only external challenges that can hold women back. Often there is a need for women to question their own thinking before they can breakthrough into new ventures and leadership roles.

As one of the leading African recognition programs, the awards celebrates leaders from 8 different regions, including the Indian Ocean region, at country, regional and continental level in 23 categories. More than 4000 nominations were brought forward on an anonymous basis from around the African continent and island states. A multi-tier judging process, overseen by KPMG, identifies strong business leaders, such as Daniella, who inspire their country and region and dedicate their life to their respective fields. Tourism and Leisure was one of the categories, among agriculture, SME, education, government officials, sports and others. All regional winners qualify for the continental award ceremony which takes place once a year in South Africa and Daniella was awarded among 8 nominees from the different regions.

Daniella was invited to speak on a panel among business leaders in the symposium where she shared her experience on how she is participating in the Sustainable Growth of her country. Daniella emphasized the importance of connecting and exchanging ideas and good practices in the region, very much in line with the mission of her foundation, which aims at being a facilitating platform to provide synergies and allow tourism stakeholders from public, private sector, NGOs and academia to come together and work on a collaborative approach towards sustainable growth for the African Continent. Pursuing this mission, the SSTF is organizing a conference for tourism professionals, academics, students and other stakeholders involved in tourism, on Sustainable Tourism in Small Island States on November 23 and 24, 2017 in partnership with UniSey and other international partners.

The two-day award symposium in Johannesburg, animated by the award host Annelize Wepener & Yvonne Finch was followed by the prestigious Continental award ceremony, which celebrated 22 leaders from eight African and Indian Ocean regions. All the participants that were chosen to participate in the Symposium were selected as per their specific field and three main discussion topics:

– Good Governance & Corporate Governance: Risk & Balance of Power, Compliance, Principals & Structure, Anti-Corruption, Framework & Good Policies
Value Chains in African Manufacturing Industry: Human resources & skills, Innovation in the Education system, Universal secondary Education, Creative thinking & redefining success, Gender equality, Frameworks, Creation of Identify with strong powerful drive & common goals.

– A new Brand for the African Continent: Putting into place Principals & structures to be bought together on the Continent. African dream is a dream of tomorrow with our diversity, cultural & unexplored role models in a lot of aspects.

CEO Global has given the African Continent a platform for members to network, communicate, exchange ideas and good practices that can be adapted to other regions especially in reeducation to achieving maximum literacy, & social stability as well as community benefits and socio-economic linkages.

The freshest sushi in the world discovered

Feedback from visitors to Seychelles gives us an insight on what they expect and appreciate. Word of mouth is an essential marketing tool for those delivering for the industry.

Someone writes:- “Acquiring the best sushi-grade tuna cannot be easy, but at Denis Private Island, it only means getting in a boat”.

Sitting on the northern edge of the Seychelles plateau’s “drop-off” – where ocean depths plunge more than 2,000 metres – Denis Island has some of the world’s most prodigious fishing grounds on its proverbial doorstep.

So although it should come as no surprise that the hotel’s weekly sushi nights offer some of the freshest and tastiest tuna one could possibly enjoy, even the most seasoned fishermen can be caught off-guard by just how bountiful the seas surrounding Denis can be, as the island’s boat skipper, John Benoiton, was reminded on a recent fishing jaunt in July.

A quick venture out to sea yielded an incredible haul of prized Yellowfin tuna, including a massive 62-kg specimen measuring several feet. Six other Yellowfins – ranging from 14-26 kg a piece – also formed part of the catch. From start to finish, the trip wrapped up in just an hour and a half, making quick work of replenishing the kitchen’s stock just 10 nautical miles away from the island.

The waters around Denis have been conveyed protected status by the Seychelles government, as the shallow lagoon and reefs around the coral islet form important spawning grounds for a variety of marine species, as well as a sanctuary for sea turtles. Thus, fishing from Denis will often include a 15-minute boat ride to the Seychelles archipelago’s famed drop-off, which allows fishermen an incredible “mixed bag” of opportunity to pursue red snapper and grouper as well as go trolling for tuna, wahoo, sailfish and marlin.

The islands’ southeast monsoon – a steady dry wind that runs from May until September – brings cooler waters and with it, July’s conditions are ideal for catching Yellowfin tuna.

For the chefs that make up Denis’ talented culinary team, this seasonal phenomenon provides an interesting opportunity to lavish guests liberally with an ingredient that often rivals the price of filet mignon in big city restaurants. And not just for sushi, either. The hotel’s always-evolving daily menus routinely take into consideration what’s available as part of the island’s ethos, says Denis Private Island Communications, PR & Branding Manager Nicole St Ange.

“A big part of Denis Private Island’s sustainability commitment means that we maximize the use of what we can source locally,” St Ange says. “Whether it’s our own farm that provides the hotel with all of its fresh eggs, poultry and dairy, or the resources we can harvest responsibly from the sea, we’re committed to reducing our footprint for the sake of the environment and food security. If our guests benefit along the way by being able to enjoy some of the freshest fish possible at no extra cost, it’s a win-win.”

Aside from supplying the hotel with some featured menu items, fishing has become one of the island’s signature attractions due to its close proximity to the drop-off. Denis consistently ranks as one of the top sailfish destinations in the world, and boasts a plethora of other fish to target by way of both trolling and bottom-fishing. And with the fishing grounds so close, the island has become a popular means for fishermen to pursue their craft and still have plenty of time to spend with family on a holiday getaway.

Consistent with the island’s sustainability policies, a strict tag-and-release protocol is followed for all billfish catches, in accordance with International Game Fishing Association standards.

The humble rabbitfish – the unsuspecting pillar of our healthy coral reefs

In a previous issue of the Saint Ange Tourism Report, I discussed the most crucial species of the artisanal fishery in the Seychelles- the rabbitfish. My PhD research focused on the distribution, movement patterns and feeding behaviour of these fish, and other vital fish species, such as surgeonfish and parrotfish.

Looking closely at distribution, I carried out intense fish and benthic surveys encompassing 24 reefs around the Inner Seychelles Islands. Three major findings were discovered. Firstly, it was revealed through scientific analysis that current Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) around the Inner Seychelles Islands are not working in improving the abundance and biomass of crucial fish species such as rabbitfish, parrotfish and surgeonfish. This may be caused by the lack of enforcement around the Islands.

Secondly, my results show that seagrass habitats are crucial nursery grounds to these species, particularly to rabbitfish. Unfortunately, seagrass habitats are often not considered when MPAs are being established.

Lastly, it was found that two species of rabbitfish (i.e. the white-spotted spinefoot, and the streamlined spinefoot) are vital species that are helping to remove invasive macroalgae from reefs. Macroalgae is quite destructive to reefs as it has shown to release chemicals that deter settlement of coral. Following major bleaching events in Seychelles, many of the coral reefs have been smothered in macroalgae.
In fact some reefs have seen increases of up to 40% in the span of 10 years.

Therefore, from my results, it can be inferred that these rabbitfish species are important contributors to coral reef resilience. Coral reefs are one of the main attractions to tourists when visiting tropical island destinations like Seychelles. Relevant authorities, therefore, must take the utmost responsibility in recognizing their importance and taking necessary steps to safeguard them for future generations to enjoy.

Kenya’s Minister Najib Balala climbs Mount Kenya to raise awareness of adventure tourism

President Kenyatta of Kenya joined many wishing CS Najib Balala, Kenya’s Minister for Tourism well as he tackles his climb of Mt Kenya
“I’m ready and all kitted up to climb Mt Kenya in a bid to raise awareness of Kenya’s adventure tourism offering while profiling Mount Kenya as a favourable tourist destination” said Minister Balala.

Tourism Minister, Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala last Monday embarked on climbing Mount Kenya in his bid to raise awareness of Kenya’s adventure tourism opportunities.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was among the people who wished CS Balala success as he started the challenge.

“Wishing Tourism CS Balala success as he starts his ascent of Mount Kenya today to raise awareness of Kenya’s Adventure Tourism offering; while profiling the region as a favourable tourist destination – Uhuru Kenyatta November 13, 2017”

Tourism Minister, CS Balala will be accompanied by the 7 Summits Africa team of mountaineers who are on a quest to climb seven African mountain summits with a combined altitude gain of 16,000 metres, back to back in seven weeks.

The mission of the 7 Summits Africa team is to boost conservation and communication through tourism.

Editor’s Note:- Minister Najib Balala of Kenya is also the Head of CAF at the UNWTO. As the Head of the African Bock of Tourism Ministers (CAF) at the UNWTO it is important for the Continent to see the drive by Minister Balala for Adventure Tourism in Africa as part of rewriting the Brand Africa narrative for the continent. Key USPs of the continent can only get the needed visibility through actions such as being undertaken by the Kenyan Minister. Congratulations to you CS Balala, you are an example for the Continent. This climb on Mt Kenya comes but days ahead of the PMAESA Conference in Zambia where those from the continent wanting to see Cruise Tourism developed will gather and this inclusive of land-locked countries promoting their waterways and lakes. Again this is all part and parcel of rewriting the Narrative for Brand Africa with positives and not let others lumber the continent with only negatives and disasters.

James Michel Foundation joined by Admiral Vincent Campredon as Honorary Member

Mr James Michel, the Former President of the Republic of Seychelles has confirmed that Admiral Vincent Campredon is now an honorary member of the James Michel Foundation.

Admiral Campredon is today the ‘commissaire général’ of the French Marines and the Director of the National Maritime Museum of France. He is passionate about the sea, the maritime history and sailing. In 1983 Vincent Campredon joined the “école du commissariat de la Marine à Toulon” after his legal studies in Paris. His many trips on the high seas and the different positions he has occupied in various fields enabled him to better appreciate the diversity, complexity and also the importance of all relating to the seas.

“These are the strong points making Admiral Campredon an important member of our Foundation and will enable him to play an important role in the foundation” said President Michel.

In welcoming Admiral Campredon as an honorary member to the James Michel Foundation, President Michel said that he wishes to see the further developing of the existing cooperation with the French Admiral, and the Foundation

In May of 2016, Seychelles Ambassador Bernard Shamlaye and Admiral Vincent Campredon signed an MOU at the Seychelles Embassy in Paris on cooperation for creating a Seychelles Maritime Museum.

The James Michel Foundation is a non-profit organisation which promotes the Blue Economy, adapting to and reducing the impact of Climate Change.

Seychelles will be represented at the Miss University Africa pageant

Falaine Dora, 18 years old will be representing Seychelles and Coral Models Seychelles at the Miss University Africa pageant.

The invitation from Miss University Africa Organisation was to Joëlle Fabre of Coral Models Seychelles and this is why another young Seychellois is today benefiting of the opportunity to be seen, to promote her country and above to try to open new doors for her and for other young aspiring Seychelloise.

This is the 5th Edition of Miss University Africa pageant and Seychelles is proud to have Falaine Dora as its Ambassador at the event in the City of Abuja.

Rodrigues new ecotourism trail

Shoals Rodrigues has announced new ecotourism trail to visit 3 of the islets in the South Eastern Marine Protected Area (SEMPA).

The three islets Ile aux Chat, Ile Gombrani & Ile Hermitage are part of the protected treasures of Rodrigues and the island’s administration and Mauritius itself needs to be congratulated for publicising their commitment to what is seen as a positive approach towards eco-tourism.