Helping more Seychellois to get into tourism
30 August 2010 |
August 30, 2010 -- More Seychellois will be able to earn their living from tourism when measures are in place as from next year to facilitate increased local participation in the industry, President James Michel has said.
Mr Michel, who holds the portfolio for tourism, was speaking last night in the monthly Meeting the President programme on SBC television.
The President said concerned agencies have to come together and seek innovative ways to encourage more local people to enjoy tourist facilities.He said this already goes on to some extent as more and more Seychellois who have the means are making the most of what the country has to offer.
They are now spending weekends not only on Praslin and La Digue, but also on Desroches, he added.
But Mr Michel said while the Islands Development Company (IDC) has accommodation on most islands that is affordable for Seychellois, the cost of travel to these islands has to be reviewed.
He said the IDC plans to continue developing more affordable accommodation on other islands so as to encourage and further develop domestic tourism.
Visitors to our country as well as local people can enjoy the various facilities on our islands, he added, as through this form of tourism they will get to know the Seychellois way of life better.
Mr Michel gave as an example the recent transfer to the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) of the Domaine de Val des Prés at Au Cap and the Anse Royale Beach and Leisure Park for use by Seychellois and tourists alike, and where further activities can be developed.
He said he would like to see the Domaine developed to become the window through which visitors can see and experience the Creole way of life in its cuisine, art, culture, handicrafts and dances - and also as a place where Seychellois can go during their leisure time to enjoy their culture side by side with visitors.
As for the Anse Royale Beach and Leisure Park, water sports activities can be developed where both visitors and locals can take part, which would encourage other revenue-generating activities for small Seychellois entrepreneurs, Mr Michel said.
The President explained that all this forms part of the new Seychelles Brand we want to develop.
He said the harmony and social cohesion among our people have earned Seychelles respect and admiration, and having our local people and visitors taking part in various activities together will be further proof of the harmony that exists here.
He said we should continue to promote and cherish these values while at the same time continuing to look for ways to encourage tourists to come here.
Asked when people can expect to see and feel the transformation in the tourism industry after the launch of the new brand, Mr Michel said things are moving and consultations are in full swing with input from various partners in the tourism industry being sought.
The government is to set up a committee to work on a tourism development plan for the coming five to 10 years, which will be integrated in our national development plan.
Mr Michel praised the dynamic government-private sector partnership, which he says is a very important one.
"The government is there as the facilitator and to give guidance, but the driving force behind the tourism industry is and will remain the private sector," he said.
In line with developing the new brand for Seychelles, he also said there is a need for local farmers to supply fresh produce to the hotel industry.
So far, for various reasons, local farmers have been unable to meet the demands of the hotel industry.
Mr Michel said local farmers should maximise production of fresh produce that hotels need, and
hotels should use locally produced food as often as possible.
However, there will always be certain fruit and vegetables that will continue to be imported as they cannot be produced here.
The President said there are certain issues relating to prices, quality of goods and supplies that need to be discussed and agreed on by both the farmers and the hotels.
He said the minister responsible for natural resources has been mandated to work with all concerned partners, including the Seychelles Farmers' Association, the STB and hotel association, to find some method by which hoteliers and farmers can negotiate supplies and sales of local produce to ensure both parties benefit.