The Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles is reaping the fruits of reopening its borders early in August, as over 2,000 tourists have arrived its shores, earning it about USD 31million in revenues for local tourism and hospitality businesses and the economy overall.
Seychelles authorities were slow in certifying hotels and resorts to start with but have accelerated certifications across the main islands, with many hospitality businesses, including restaurants, now open again after complying with the new regulations.
The country also adjusted arrival requirements for tourists in view of the current rebound of the pandemic in key markets in Europe, such as France, and introduced a new category of ‘Special Status Country‘ which will permit tourists to come to the Seychelles while on arrival meeting minimum quarantine requirements.
Dozens of hotels and resorts have reportedly already applied to be granted the status of ‘Transit Hotels‘ where visitors can spend the first four days after arrival before being tested on the fifth day.
Subsequent to that test being negative will tourists then be permitted to leave the hotel premises, while during the first four days they must remain within the hotel perimeter.
Countries across Africa are now scrambling to reopen and permit tourists back in, following the successful examples set by among others Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, but also of Ethiopia where airport operations never stopped.
As reported by ATCNews during recent days have several Southern African countries announced that tourists were welcome again – as long as they were meeting health and safety conditions while Egypt and other North African tourism destinations too see their tourism sectors begin a revival phase.
Notably, among the strong opinions expressed to ATCNews by readers from Uganda, is the Pearl of Africa inexplicably amongst the very last of Africa’s major tourism destinations to consider a reopening, with officials clearly trying to reinvent the proverbial wheels which have been in motion in other countries across Easter Africa and the rest of the continent for as long as two months.
The local travel and hospitality industry in Uganda has taken an unprecedented beating in financial terms and the government, always swift to extract taxes and fees from the sector, has failed to provide sufficient financial incentives to the industry.
Meanwhile are the Seychelles once again providing leadership for the African tourism industries how to balance the need to earn money with the need for health and safety, serving as a textbook example how to lead from the front.