Africa: Austrian Airline debuts in Seychelles Island


Austrian Airlines made its arrival in Seychelles recently after their exciting announcement made to the press well over a year ago. The airline arrived full of eager passengers and it is said that the prospect of future bookings are excellent.

It can even be said that tourism for Seychelles is so integral that it is the bread, butter, jam and even the hand that holds the bread. Today, every Seychellois needs, more than ever before, to stand together to protect and defend this industry that employs thousands of locals. It is also the industry where many Seychellois have invested their life savings. Increasing the tourism industry and its yield is a necessity, and this remains dependent on a good air transport policy for the islands as it does in operational costs.

Tourism and Civil Aviation need today to be dancing to the same Sega beat. Aviation in the Indian Ocean Region is working hard to find its rhythm, but challenges remain. Protectionism of National Airlines versus the importance of bolstering tourism and the economies of the islands are difficult discussions, but we learned a painful lesson when the Seychelles tourism suffered after a Russian Airline was refused 5th Freedom Rights to fly on to Mauritius after their Seychelles stop from Moscow.

Seychelles is small and cannot expect to be the end of the line for all airlines. South-South air connections could see new Seychelles stops, but the golden 5th Freedom Right must be part of the Open Air-Space policy.

Today, the weaker Seychelles Rupee is helping pull in the visitors. However, the cost of operation in the islands is also on the rise because of the necessary imports to keep the tourism industry alive. The weaker Seychelles Rupee is also impacting on the lives of the Seychellois, the hosts to the increased visitor numbers. Data from ForwardKeys reveal continued strong bookings for Seychelles, but the ratio of profit versus costs for operations need to be monitored to ensure the win for the islands is a financial boom for all.

This is why the new proposed taxes on salaries of those sitting in the upper salary bracket need to be revisited. The tax burden will need to be absorbed by the businesses and they will, in turn, pass it on to the visitors and this vicious cycle will end up pricing Seychelles out of the market. Instead of pointless politics and launching racial slurs in the National Assembly or in the local newspaper, politicians in Seychelles should be focusing on this real issue at hand, rather than hoping the problem goes away if little attention is drawn to it.



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