The tourism industry remains the pillar of the Seychelles economy which is why the Government continues to consult to ensure the industry is consolidated for the long term. The island’s Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange recently met with Mrs. Daniella Larue, the Consultant commissioned to undertake the exercise of developing its Strategic Plan to discuss the progress of work. Also present at the meeting was the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Naiken, Principal for Seychelles Tourism Academy, Flavien Joubert as well as the technical team of the Tourism Department and members of the UniSey.
The exercise which started in late 2015 comprised of updating the current Tourism Master Plan as the tourism sector in Seychelles is one that is continuously evolving. Matters such as the need to promote sustainable development using a value chain framework is now seen as a key component within the Master Plan and is in fact consistent with the goals set for the tourism sector.
Mrs. Larue stated that the document points to the policy, regulatory, infrastructural, institutional, marketing, human resources and statistical gaps that need to be addressed to achieve such targets under the sustainable tourism goal. She stated that a number of recommendations have been made in order to assist in addressing the gaps identified.
The Tourism Department’s Strategic Plan set out for the upcoming five years was also presented with strategic areas pointing to policy formulation, product development, human resource development and risk management.
Minister St.Ange welcomed the fact that development of Blue Economy Tourism is being developed as an important element within the Strategic Plan as it is becoming an even more significant component within the tourism sector. Minister St.Ange also stressed that with the Strategic Plan of the Department being developed, it is important that the meaning of tourism within the context of Seychelles is well understood by all and embraced. “Tourism is not just the hotels and guest houses. Tourism is more and impacts on everyone’s life in our country” said Minister St.Ange.
The Strategic Plan scheduled to be completed by September 2016, will be complemented by the carrying capacity study also expected to be completed by the end of September. The latter will assist in identifying the right step towards sustainable tourism as it will recognize the current status of the main islands in terms of number of developments and the maximum it can accommodate.
The support and coordination of all relevant stakeholders is therefore important so as to ensure that the action plans set out in the Strategic Plan is achieved. The Department of Tourism has commissioned a local Consultant to undertake this exercise in their continued drive for Seychelles to lead its tourism industry for the benefit of its people and for its economy.