On 7th October 2016 Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, along with Col Andre Ciseau, the CEO of the Seychelles Port Authority, Anne Lafortune the PS for Tourism, Sherin Francis, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board met with a delegation of cruise ship operators from Noble Caledonia Limited (UK) and Salén Ship Management (Sweden). The foreign delegation came to visit the Seychelles from 4th to the 7th of October 2016 and included Per Flodberg (vessel logistical operations), Paul Mildon (global ship deployment and itinerary planner), Pamela Le Noury (vessel Expedition Leader) and Guy Esparon (Noble Caledonia field staff and Seychelles guide). Also present at the meeting that was held at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture ESPACE Building Offices were representatives from Hunt Deltel Company and the Port Authority Management.
Noble Caledonia has been sending small cruise ships, carrying about 100 passengers, to the Seychelles almost every year since1993. During the past 2 summers the vessel operators have experienced some difficulty with their calls, resulting in cancellations and claims for compensation by their passengers, whilst no suitable explanations were provided that could be of help to the passengers who had made bookings for their excursion to the Seychelles. The objectives of this cruise ship delegation were to smooth out some of the obstacles experienced by their cruise ships.
The primary concerns of the cruise ship operators were difficulties with clearance into Seychelles when approaching from Madagascar or Tanzania, Aldabra impact fees being increased at late notice, booked visits to IDC islands, and the difficulties of dealing with so many entities for one country: SIF, IDC, Nature Seychelles in addition to the usual port and tourism authorities.
During their visit to Seychelles the delegation met with the Public Health Authority, Immigration and Customs officials, Island Development Corporation, IDC aviation, Minister of Tourism and Culture and the Seychelles Island Foundation.
Outcomes of the delegation’s working visit were that the vessel will now be able to clear into the Seychelles from the last foreign port of call which four the operators is a much safer and more reliable option. The delegation will make a proposal to Seychelles Island Foundation to create what they say would be a more reasonable fee structure for small vessels to visit Aldabra. The IDC gave the delegation clarity on the status of some of their islands such as Farquhar. The Minister of Tourism agreed that one authority should take ultimate responsibility to facilitate the visits and schedules of cruise ships schedules and liaise with the many stakeholders concerned, and suggested the Port Authority take on that role.
Overall the delegation was happy with the progress made and looks forward to several more years of visits to the Seychelles on board the MS Island Sky and MS Serenissima.