VICTORIA, MAHE: Seychelles President James Michel has called upon the tourism industry on the island country to engage with the government to map out a new national tourism development plan, and promote his vision of the Seychelles Brand in the tourism sector.
This took place at a tourism industry gathering which was held at the Domaine de Val des Pres late last week.
The president called for greater Seychellois participation in the tourism industry, in the ownership of hotels, in employment, as well as the supply of local products in the hospitality industry. He said the Seychelles Brand would be a whole new approach to the tourism development of the country.
Beyond the physical beauty
"We can no longer go out there in the global village with only our sun, sea and sand tags. The Seychelles brand goes beyond the physical beauty of our islands. It is the long awaited and much talked about bridge that brings Seychellois social cohesion, arts, history and culture closer to other civilisations," said Michel, who has the portfolio responsibility for tourism.
Michel said that the essence of the Seychelles Brand is the Seychellois identity, charm and hospitality as well as the serenity and stability that the country enjoys.
"Visitors to Seychelles can identify the distinct nature of Seychellois hospitality, our way of life and the unique beauty of our nature and the warmth of our people. Above all, it is a new dynamism. It encapsulates the spirit of Seychellois entrepreneurship in the industry. It will reaffirm and open avenues for Seychellois ownership in tourism-related enterprises. I strongly believe in the ownership of this vital industry by Seychellois. We have to continue to reinforce the structures and enhance the conditions to allow our people to become key stakeholders in the tourism industry."
Managing unique selling points
The president announced that the Seychelles Tourism Board will collaborate with the Planning Authority and the Licensing Authority to manage the country's unique selling points in future tourism planning and licensing of establishments.
He said that a new quality assurance label will be issued annually to tourism establishments and services that guarantee 'Seychelles Tourism Assurance' by the STB.
He announced that the historical site, the Domaine de Val des Prés, will come under STB management, in order to maximise its potential as a functional cultural village, where students from the Tourism Academy will also receive training and valuable first-hand experience. The Anse Royale Beach Park will also be transferred to the STB for further development.
"We will streamline our policies in the management, conservation and promotion of our national heritage. Government has decided to set up a body that will provide for better networking amongst all agencies that have a stake in managing our historical, cultural and environmental sites. This body will ensure that there is harmony in common policies and standards, ensure better coordination and set best practices," said the president.
Michel noted that the Seychelles has seen an increase of 12% in visitor arrivals, compared to last year, and an increase of some 6% over the arrivals for 2008, which was a record year. Seychelles has had the best May, June and July, in terms of visitor arrivals ever recorded.
The Seychelles will continue to market itself abroad under the slogan; 'The Seychelles Islands, another world'.
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