In a meeting held this week at the ESPACE Offices of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Minister Alain St.Ange met with Mrs. Iris Richter, the Consultant commissioned by the Tourism Department to undertake the carrying capacity study for Seychelles. The aim of the study is to determine the current status of the islands and the acceptable amount of tourism development that can occur whilst still remaining sustainable, and assist Government in taking informed decisions on all future tourism development projects. This study was following Government’s decision in June 2015 to impose a moratorium on the development of large hotels until such time as such study is undertaken.
During the discussion, it was pointed out that with 12,272 hotel beds available that of which excludes the approximate 1100bunks on live aboard yachts and cruisers, the tourism industry needs to seriously take stock of the current supply and assess the way forward. Minister St.Ange stated that it is important to assess the bed stock against the air seat capacity especially point-to-point seats from key tourism source markets. These initial discussions were carried out in the presence of Anne Lafortune, the PS for Tourism as well as Team Members of the Tourism Department and Tourism Board.
Much focus was also placed on airline seats to Seychelles and the growing number of transit passengers and the employment and labour demands with attention to the overall workforce and the expatriate labour demand. The issue of tourism economic capacity was also raised. Mrs. Richter concluded by providing a number of preliminary recommendations that will be presented to the Minister along with the final findings at the end of September. The Carrying Capacity Study will then be presented to the Cabinet of Ministers for Government consideration as it has a bearing on the country as a whole.
To note, this is the third major project being undertaken by the Department of Tourism this year. The carrying capacity study will tie with the Tourism Master Plan which is in its final stages of completion as well as the Hotel Classification Programme and all combined, will contribute to the new way forward of the Department of Tourism. “Seychelles depends on tourism, the industry that is now the pillar of the island’s economy. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture has the duty to work to provide for Seychelles a future to believe in with their tourism industry. This is why we are being proactive and working on projects to help continue the consolidation of Seychelles Tourism” said Minister St.Ange.