Ahead of the scheduled re-opening of its borders on June 1, 2020, Seychelles through its Department of Tourism has issued a ‘Seychelles Safety Travel Guidelines.’
The guidelines, based on the advice of the Public Health Authority, provides necessary recommendations for tourism related business providers to resume operations in a safe manner while also targeting potential visitors planning to visit the destination.
These series of guidelines, made available to the public through the department’s website, is the stepping-stone for the small island destination to reposition itself on the international market as a responsible holiday destination.
“The guidelines clearly details what needs to be put in place before businesses can welcome guests into their establishments and this includes sanitation and hygiene measures in order to protect locals and visitors,” said the Principal Secretary Mrs. Anne Lafortune at a press conference held by the Ministry for Tourism on Wednesday May 27, 2020.
Mrs. Lafortune further stated that the Seychelles Safety Travel Guidelines also specifies the new criteria for assessment under which establishments will be scrutinized before they are certified adequate to operate.
Seychelles Department of Tourism has announced, during the same press conference, that the destination will be reopening its shores to visitors in 2 phases and that all decisions made by the authority will be based on the strict approval of the Public Health Authority.
Phase one of the re-opening of the borders, which will be effective as of June 1, 2020, will include the lift in air travel restrictions on the destination will be subjected to maximum control.
As part of the safety measures being imposed by the destination, it will be compulsory for all visitors entering the Seychelles to take a COVID-19 test 48 hours prior to disembarking on the Pointe Larue International Airport. A health fee of fifty dollars will have to be incurred on grounds to cover further local health procedures imposed by the Public Health Authority as part of the new requirements.
Phase 1 will also limit the movement of visitors around the inner islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. In order to ensure maximum control, all-inclusive resorts and islands resorts will be recommended to visitors as they provide the opportunity to have guests in a self-contained environment while enjoying their holiday in paradise and respecting the social distancing measures.
Speaking about the ‘Seychelles Safety Travel Guidelines’; the Seychelles Tourism Board Chief Executive, Mrs. Sherin Francis stated that the measures are very important for the destination to follow.
“Safety comes first and as a destination we are committed to limit the risks of any eventual infection on our shores for our visitors and our local inhabitants.
“We are definitely encouraging all our partners to familiarize themselves with the requirements and implement them as we get ready to be start operating under the new normal,” said Mrs. Francis.
She further stated that the new steps taken by the destination adds to the marketing value of the Seychelles and encourages tourism trade partners to use the certificate issued by the department as a Unique Selling Point for their businesses.
“The data collected in our recent researches points that the new travel trends shows people have expressed the desire to reconnect with nature and families. As a destination, we are somehow isolated and have beautiful natural sceneries, which is an excellent marketing opportunity for us, “said Mrs. Francis.
In a related development, the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Praslin, Seychelles will once again admit tourists after the COVID-19 lockdown, with a new booking system expected to become operational from May 25, 2020.
The new booking system is part of the efforts of the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) to ensure the health and safety of all visitors to the Vallée de Mai and its staff during the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.
At present, tourist numbers are low at present, but SIF believes that reopening the Vallée de Mai for visitors is an essential part of its community service, in providing a green space for the local community and the public in general. Since April 9, 2020, the SIF has had to close Seychelles’ most visited natural site due to the global pandemic.
Although security and surveillance operations have been active throughout this closure, it has only been since the May 4, with the easing of restrictions, that research monitoring and operations at the Vallée de Mai have resumed.
With the introduction of this new booking system, SIF is able to reopen this UNESCO World Heritage Site to the public. Despite the difficult current circumstances Seychellois are still able to enter the park for free, whist ticket prices for tourists remain unchanged, at SCR350, for the time being.