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Saint Ange Tourism Report 23rd July 2017

July 25, 2017 Destination Seychelles No Comments Email Email

Welcome to Edition #7 of 2017.

This last week was a sad week for Seychelles as we said goodbye to Louis D’Offay, the highly respected and much appreciated tourism personality of our island Nation. We issued a Special Edition of the Saint Ange Tourism Report (Issue #6 dated 18th July 2017) to mark his passing, and to honour this great man.

Alain St.Ange

We take this opportunity to once again extend our heartfelt condolences to Louis’s children, Jean-Paul, Simon, Jean-Marc, Lucas and Caroline, as well as to the rest of the D’Offay family, all valued staff at L’Archipel Hotel, and to all the friends of Louis D’Offay for their sad loss.

Louis D’Offay enjoying quality time on the sea

On Saturday 22nd July, Louis D’Offay was laid to rest on his island home, Praslin. A large congregation was present at the Baie Ste Anne Church of Praslin to pay homage to Louis, and I was honoured to be called upon to deliver the eulogy for my dear friend.

Reactions from our fifth edition of our Tourism Report revealed a marked interest across the board concerning the exorbitant costs of building material on Praslin and La Digue Islands. Government fees and levies on barges and cargo boats are crippling the tourism industry on these islands. Many commenters highlighted the necessity of Government to appreciate the plight of Seychellois and the repercussions that their decisions would have on those looking to build homes or small establishments on these islands. It is our view that Praslinois and Diguois should not be punished for living and working on these islands. These islands are strong economic providers and stimulators for Seychelles, and their inhabitants should be helped, not hindered, in their respective ventures.

The Alwyn Talma situation on Praslin also continues to generate significant public interest. This is one apparent injustice which many readers feel is unacceptable in this day and age. We will continue to monitor the unfolding of this saga closely.

Another dilemma voiced by the private sector recently is the lack of support by Government for public transportation. All public transportation in Seychelles today, with the exception of the SPTC buses and air travel, is operated solely by the private sector. Ferries and taxis are used to transport tourists and locals alike from one destination to the next. Gone are the days when the iconic, Government-owned and operated ‘Lady Esme’ would shuttle you across the sea, rolling sluggishly through the waves, and prompt you to reach for your trusty vomit-bucket. The four-hour long trip to La Digue was gruelling for those without sea-legs, such as myself.

Today the ferry services have been taken over by the private sector. Trips to and from La Digue, Praslin and Mahé Islands are more comfortable and take significantly less time than they used to. Public service buses, on the other hand, were once in the private sector and are today firmly and squarely in the hands of the Government.

Taxi services are also solely operated by the private sector. The importance of taxis in Seychelles cannot be denied; with hundreds of thousands of tourists flooding our island Nation every year, the reliance on public means of transportation and taxi services to get from one destination to another is very high.

With unlicensed taxis, or taxi pirat, on the rise in Seychelles, Government clearly needs to support the industry. At present, there are a number of incidents being reported to the police which implicate unlicensed taxis; one report has pertained to an unsuspecting victim being sexually assaulted in ataxi pirat after a night out in Victoria, and another involved an unlicensed taxi being used as the getaway car following a burglary from a guesthouse. The industry needs to be regulated for the benefit and safety of consumers. A centralised taxi service system ought to be implemented whereby passengers would call a central dispatch office for taxis and the nearest taxi would be directed to a waiting customer. Steps such as these will ensure the accessibility of licenced taxi services, thereby maximising the safety of locals and tourists alike, and minimising the likelihood of them being scammed by abstract and unregulated taxi fees.

The State supports bus services today and we must accordingly have similar support for ferries and for taxis. Each rupee in Government charges (including fuel levy) incurred in the public transport service is inevitably passed on to the customer. It is time to have parity across the board in Government-controlled and private sector-controlled transportation services, in terms of subsidized charges.

Seychelles can today boast that it is a leader in the field of the environment and sustainable development. Our environmentally-conscious youths have been pushing and lobbying Government to ban plastic bags in our small Island Nation for months. The youth is right to seek to protect the Seychelles that they will inherit tomorrow. Despite Government taking a firm stance on the issue and implementing the ban months ago, the National Assembly have raised the matter once again and opened the issue up for debate. Not only is questioning the Government’s decision on this matter a slap in the face for all those who lobbied hard to have their voices heard and to spearhead Seychelles into a cleaner and more sustainable future, but it reflects a step backwards and a significant danger to our Nation’s leadership role. It is hoped that Seychelles remains firm in its resolve to protect our fragile environment, and that it does not succumb to the pressure of the minority who seek to destabilize progress for the sake of convenience. We must respect the youth and the environmentally-conscious individuals who fought for this ban, and allow them to have a say in their own future.

Last week we proudly announced the introduction of Mr. Ameer Ebrahim as our Environmental Consultant. This week we have the honour of announcing that Mr. Peter Sinon has also joined the Consultancy as the Development Consultant and Dr. Claire Holder of the UK has joined us as the expert for training seminars on the management of major events, festivals, carnivals, fairs, tourist attractions and the like to help them meet their objectives and achieve success.

Former Minister, Peter Sinon

Peter A.G. SINON is a well-rounded, experienced professional economist with experience in Development, Diplomatic and Political work. He graduated from the School of Development Studies in the University of East Anglia in United Kingdom with a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies (1987-1990) and a Masters degree in Development Economics. Mr. Sinon’s professional experience has landed him with enough experience to now venture into Development Consultancy.

His career began as an economist within the Department of Economic Planning of the then Ministry of External Affairs, Environment and Economic Planning. He eventually rose to the position of Director of Economic Planning. Mr. Sinon later established the first Resident Embassy of Seychelles in South Africa and went on to assume the role of Executive Director for the Eastern Constituency of the African Development Bank Group. In 2010, Mr. Sinon was nominated by former President James Michel as the member of his Cabinet, assuming the portfolio responsibilities for Natural Resources, Industry and Investments, until his resignation in 2014.

Mr. Sinon is currently an independent Development Consultant who is focused in ‘formulation and spearheading efforts to the realization of Development projects’.

For more information about Mr. Sinon, please visit www.peter-sinon.com

Dr. Claire HOLDER, OBE, is the woman behind today’s Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street party. The Notting Hill Carnival Roadshow Company is a charitable organisation established in 2002 to promote the arts of the Notting Hill Carnival and provide assistance and expertise to other events.

Dr. Claire Holder & Alain St.Ange

The organisation provides artists and performers for events, as well as organises and contributes to training seminars on the management of major events, festivals, carnivals, fairs, tourist attractions and the like to help them meet their objectives and achieve success. To this end, the organisation is able to provide well-qualified lecturers on a range of subjects related to the strategic management of events in which issues such as the impacts of professionalism, effective leadership, good governance and management are explored.

The organisation is able to provide tailor-made packages on different aspects of organisational management to suit any organisational environment and will work with managers of organisations to assist in enhancing their skills.

The organisation is headed by its Chief Executive, Dr. Claire Holder, who led and managed the Notting Hill Carnival for thirteen years. Her expertise is in designing systems for change management with emphasis on the need for professionalism and the importance of effective stakeholder management. The organisation’s Finance Director, Chris Nortey, also plays a lead role in seminars. He is a Chartered Management Accountant and retired Senior University Lecturer in Strategic Management and Financial Accounting. His expertise is in developing strategies and designing systems for the revitalisation and tong-term development of failing organisations across the various organisational sectors. Other areas of expertise that the organisation is able to contribute to seminars through its well-qualified partners are in public relations, press and marketing to enhance the profile of events and their organisation; the production of events, including choosing appropriate equipment to achieve the best impacts; and the management of events to ensure a smooth process and flow of activities.

As our Consultancy grows we shall become a One-Stop Shop for your Tourism Needs.

Finally, it is important to again say thank you all who are reposting the Saint Ange Tourism Report. From Africa wide to the Americas, to Australasia and the couple of Worldwide NewsWires for the Tourism & Travel Trade. It is very clear that our direct mail-out is being strengthened by the reposting being done by all the online NewsWires. Together, we are stronger and are doing a real service for the tourism industry.

Bel Air Hotel, a National Treasure

Roland & Natasha Rassool, the proud owners of Bel Air Hotel

The small family-run Bel Air Hotel was launched at the dawn of Seychelles tourism in the 70s. Sadec and Ruth Rassool, the parents of the current owner of the property, Roland Rassool, were seen as being adventurous when they turned their family home at Bel Air overlooking Victoria into a small hotel.

They attributed their Bel Air Hotel success to their homely atmosphere and good Seychellois Creole food. Today, Roland and Natasha Rassool have upgraded the small hotel, but the charm and delicious local cuisine remain a strong selling point for this establishment.

Bel Air Hotel

The hotel boasts eight bedrooms and an ideal locality; it is one of the few hotels in Victoria and is mere walking distance from the heart of the city.

We extend our warm congratulations to Roland and Natasha Rassool on their well-managed establishment and fully recommend Bel Air Hotel as a home away from home.

Savoy Spa, Seychelles – a new Manager at the helm

Therapist Nathalie Pierre

The Manager of an establishment brings new flair and very much their own style to the table. This is the case for the Savoy Spa of the Beau Vallon Savoy Hotel. South African born Michelle Barkhuis was very recently recruited to head this great Spa Complex. Michelle has a wealth of international experience to offer.  After completing her studies in South Africa, she received a scholarship to study in England. After completion of her studies, she was given yet another opportunity to work in the United States of America.

Her career started then, when she stepped onboard her first cruise ship to take on a total new life and it marks the beginning of an incredible journey.  Michelle travelled to all the continents of the world and has seen all the wonders of the world. From glaciers breaking in Alaska and the northern lights in Norway to the beautiful Islands of Hawaii, she now finds herself on the sandy shores of Seychelles.

She says that from a young age she has always had a zest for people, places and a fast pace of life. She entered the Beauty Industry at 17 years of age and has never looked back. She explains that she enjoys inspiring people to take their health and wellbeing needs seriously and that she is lucky enough to have evoked a passion for this in so many people.

“Working at sea seemed a natural step for me as I was able to meet people from all over the world in a high-pressured environment with high expectations for level of service and of revenue. I have managed teams of 23 to 78 since the age of 21 and pride myself on being a fair leader who instils energy, passion and enthusiasm in my employees in order to deliver a wonderful experience to our guests.

Becoming Spa Director at sea enabled me to spread one single message to over 200 therapists and showcase my training and development skills, a natural marketing ability and the natural tact, astuteness and flair for people a great leader needs. I am excited to be in Seychelles and having the opportunity to work with such an amazing team at The Savoy Spa and Hotel,” says Michelle Barkhuis.

Wellness and Spa is today an integral unique selling point for tourism destinations. Michelle Barkhuis has a team of 4 Seychellois Therapists over and above 2 from Bali. The Spa has 2 Seychellois Attendants and also 2 Receptionists.

Savoy Spa is advertised by the hotel as being a unique place to discover and transform your mind, body and spirit. They have an extensive menu of fusion of traditional treatments and emerging trends in worldwide spa service environments inspired by local surroundings.

Dereck Barbe, the Seychellois General Manager of the Savoy Hotel says that their Spa, situated virtually on the beautiful Beau Vallon Beach, is today a unique selling point for their prestigious establishment.

The “Pirate Era” left its mark in Seychelles

Activities and natural attractions supported by the culture of the destination bolsters the island’s tourism industry.

Yield from tourism is not just pricing more (and giving less). It is opening doors for visitors to enjoy and, in so doing, spend their holiday budget. The next challenge is for the country to see the earnings of the tourism industry, but this is a discussion for another time.

Christopher Gill has opened one facility at his Iles Des Palmes Eco Resort on Praslin that needs to be seen by visitors as well as by Seychellois. Gill explains that pirates arrived to the Seychelles islands and greater Indian Ocean towards the end of the 17th century, and that they came from the Caribbean where royalist naval ships of England, Spain, France were making their trade more challenging. They initially based out of Madagascar, St. Marie island, and preyed on vessels approaching and leaving the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf.

Oliver Le Vasseur, famously known as “La Buse”, was born in Calle, France, in 1760. He was a famous pirate of the Indian Ocean laid to rest in the Mariners cemetery St. Paul, La Reunion. In 1721, he offended the government of France as a Corsair gone rogue, associating with English pirate Captain Taylor. Together, they attacked French and English ships alike.

The first maps of Mahé demarcate Beau Vallon to Danzille area as “La Place De La Buse”. This area was a key treasure exploration site by Cruise Wilkins from 1958 onwards.

When the warrant for Le Vasseur, known to be on Mahé, was issued, it is believed that he fled his lair to set sail.

La Buse is known to have been on the run from 1729-1730, when he was eventually caught on St. Marie, Madagascar, alive. He was escorted to St. Denis, ILe De Bourbon, accused of high piracy. The sentence was to be hanging in town on the gallows.

Olivier Le Vasseur’s body was carted from St. Denis to St. Paul, and laid to rest at the Mariners cemetery where he still rests today, along with his secrets.

There are three known pirate ovens in Seychelles, one being the Silhouette oven, belonging to Jean Francois Hodoul (privateer). The other pirate oven is at Anse Forban, belonging to Corsaire Nageon.

The third Oven

This third oven, its owner unknown, is speculated to have belonged to La Buse, who built it while on the run, hiding from the French Navy.

Hawthorne Dew jug

A Hawthorne Dew Thom and Cameron Tappit jug (whiskey flask from Scotland) were found on the property near the pirate oven.  These were common in mid-17th century and 18th century. The term “Tappit” refers to the spout above the flask, similar to a bar tap.

These items, among others, such as a musket trigger with hand engraved Fleur de Lys and hearts, can be found in the display room of the hotel.

On the same property also lies a calorifer, distillery and patouli house, all national heritage sites. This property remains the only coastal plantation on Praslin, its structures the most intact and undestroyed.

The Pirate Oven remains the most significant archaeological discovery made in the last 25 years that links us to the Pirate era. The Praslin property remains an archaeological treasure trove, with numerous sites still undergoing investigation, such as the Pirates’ cemetery towards Anse Badamier and Colin Medar treasure site, by Dr. Wilkins and his team.

Sign when arriving at Christopher Gill’s property

Tourism through Culture
Tourism remains the dominant economic sector in Seychelles. Iles Des Palmes Eco Resort has attempted to preserve these heritage sites so that Seychelles does not lose this chapter of our island Nation’s history. Christopher Gill says he hopes Seychellois and visitors can appreciate these historical artefacts to enrich their lives upon visiting the national heritage trail.

Creole Travel’s New Attraction

Zephir

Creole Travel has introduced a new addition to their fleet; they describe their latest attraction as a “cool vessel”, named Zephir.

Activities and excursions can and will help increase the yield from tourism. Creole Travel offers with their new boat an opportunity to enjoy the underwater life without getting into the water.

Eric Renard of Creole Travel says, “Our knowledgeable team welcomes you on board to sail and witness the beautiful marine life of Seychelles through the widening viewing glass of Zephir. The adventure starts from respective jetties all the way to its designated marine parks where clients would get the wonderful opportunity of glimpsing and identifying different marine species such as lazy sea cucumbers, cute starfishes, shy sea turtles, beautiful baby sting rays, school of colourful fishes and many more. Of course, the fun does not stop there! On your way back, you will get to see the picture-perfect skyline beauty of Seychelles as you cruise through the grandiose vast water of the North coast embedding you with remarkable experiences”.

Congratulations to Creole Travel Services for this exciting latest addition to their fleet.

The Island Experience

Why go to a resort when you could escape to an island?

Denis Island Hotel

Denis Island 
A tiny speck in the Indian Ocean ringed by flawless white sand, just 375 acres and none of it off-limits to see and explore. Denis Island is a living, breathing island community, for those who believe giving back to nature is the only way to receive its bounty in return. It is a place where you can sunbathe along beaches renowned the world over for their pristine beauty, snorkel in a sea turtle sanctuary, spot some of the rarest birds on earth, and go sport-fishing at the edge of a continental ocean drop-off…and all of that in a single day.
You will not find a signal for your mobile phone when you arrive. There is no in-room internet, nor any cable television in your air-conditioned and extremely comfortable bedroom. This is for you to unplug from digital distraction and reconnect to the loved ones you hold dear, and to the earth that you share with them.
On Denis, you will rediscover a forgotten mode of luxury: one of real food and real people, immersed in nature on one of the most secluded islands in the world.

For more information http://mailchi.mp/b0276e46fb84/saint-ange-tourism-report-7th-edition?e=6c11f6658d

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