By Salifa Karapetyan
Seychelles has welcomed more than 2,000 visitors since the reopening of the airport for commercial passenger flights, adding $31million to the country’s coffers, the governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles said.
Caroline Abel spoke during a taskforce meeting on Tuesday on the opening of Seychelles’ international airport.
The chairperson of the taskforce, Didier Dogley, who is also the tourism minister, said this additional liquidity that has been added into the economy shows that “the decision to open Seychelles to commercial passenger flights and allowing visitors to come was a good one.”
“The money that we have collected will help us to sustain ourselves during the months to come,” said Dogley.
He said that the aim of the task force has now shifted from the reopening of Seychelles’ airport to “focus on how we can sustain the momentum and give all our main actor, with which we work, in Europe the confidence so that we can slowly increase the number of tourists who come to Seychelles.”
He outlined that Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is looking to set up transit hotels that will welcome tourists from leading tourism markets of the island nation even if their COVID-19 infection rate changes.
“What we observed three weeks ago when we had to remove France from the list of permitted country was that there were many repercussions. There was a lot of cancellation of bookings, not only for September but also for October and November. We understood that we had to look at another system,” said Dogley.
Italy, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria and the United Arab Emirates, the key markets for the Seychelles’ tourism industry, will fall under a new category – Special Status Country.
He said work had already been done on criteria for these countries and how tourists from these markets will be able to visit Seychelles. So far 71 establishments have shown interest in wanting to become a transit hotel. To be approved as a transit hotel, an establishment cannot be located in a densely populated area, or in a place where the visitor can leave the premises whenever they want. The visitor will be allowed to use all facilities located within the boundary of the establishment.
“There will need to be security on the premises as the visitors will not be allowed out of the establishment for the first fours days of their stay. On the fifth day, officers from the Public Health Authority will carry out a PCR test and should their test turnout negative, the persons will be allowed to go to another establishment and other places,” explained Dogley.
The task force is working with the interested establishments and will soon publish a list of those which are approved.