文I 塞舌尔共和国旅游部 翻译I 李丛 图片提供I 塞舌尔共和国旅游部
Island Tourism in Seychelles
By the Ministry responsible for Tourism of the Republic of Seychelles; Photo by Tourism of the Republic of Seychelles
The tourism industry is the main contributor driving the Seychelles economic growth, contributing to approximately 30% of GDP. The number of visitors to Seychelles increased by 10% in 2016 to reach just over 303,000. France, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Italy and UK were the main tourism markets for Seychelles in 2016 accounting for 49% of total visitor arrivals. Receipts from international tourism grew from USD 393 million in 2015 to USD 407 million in 2016 equivalent to USD 1, 342 per visitor. The average number of employed persons in tourism related industries stood at 11,714. This represents 25% of total employment in 2016. Of these, 8,716 or 18.63% of total employment were in the Accommodation and Food Service Activities industry. At the end of 2016, there were more than 1,550 operators in the Seychelles tourism sector of which an estimated 1,200 were Seychellois.
The most valuable assets for tourism development that Seychelles is endowed with are natural and cultural attractions. Seychelles is blessed with pristine white beaches some of which are regularly voted among the best in the world and a large number of endemic plants and animals. Almost 47% of Seychelles land area is designated as protected areas for environmental and biodiversity purposes. In 2010, the President committed the country to the target of protecting more than 50% of its land area for conservation. However, the total marine protected areas amounts to less than 1% of the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In 2012, the Government of Seychellesannounced plans to designate 30% of the Seychelles EEZ as Marine Protected Areas, which will make it the second largest marine reserve in the Indian Ocean, half of which will be strict no-take zones. The rich natural heritage of Seychelles is reflected in its two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Aldabra Atoll and Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve.
Seychelles visitor’s arrival has reached over 303,000and China is our 6th leading market with a total of 14,549 visitors recorded in 2016. Seychelles has a total of 19 tour operators who offer holiday packages to these visitors.
Tour Operators in Seychellesare governed by an approved policy which allows for a minimum of 51% shares held by Seychellois and 49% shares by foreigners. It should be noted that there has been a steady growth in this sector over the last 3 years.
Key industry status quo
Seychelles currently has 571 tourism accommodations businesses which are spread across Mahé, Praslin, La Digue (the three main inner islands) and other islands. There are currently 35 large hotels, 54 small hotels, 62 guest houses and 420 self-caterings in operation in Seychelles. This represents a total of 12,026 beds or 6013 rooms. The majority of hotels are located on the main island of Mahé.
Currently there is a moratorium on the development of large hotels in Seychelles. Hotel development is allowed up to only 24 rooms where a foreigner may own up to 80% of the shareholding (minimum of 20% Seychellois shareholding).
The moratorium is however not applicable to the outer islands of the Seychelles. There are scopes for investment and development on the outer islands of the Seychelles and this includesinvestment opportunities in small boutique hotels and eco lodges.
As mentioned above there is a moratorium on the development of large hotels however minimal development still exists in other areas such as restaurants where there is currently a gap in specialty restaurants offerings.
There is a total of 63 restaurants available which amounts to 3059 covers. There is still a demand for more specialty restaurants in the country. It should be noted that investment and ownership of restaurants is open to locals and non-Seychellois alike however for non-Seychellois it is restricted to 21 covers.
Yachts and live aboard charters are also a prospective area for investment to provide the opportunity for tourists and locals to discovery of all the islands. Seychelles also welcomes the development of marinas and refueling facilities on the outer islands in order to accommodate the increase in yachting, boat charters and cruise ship activities.
There are currently 159 yachts and live aboard charters operating in Seychelles. It should be noted that yachting operations are open to foreign investors however there are specific policy requirements that needs to be met in order to invest in this sector.
The requirements for yachting and live aboard are as follow:
● 4-5 yachts – requiring a minimum of 51% Seychellois share
● 6& above – Open to foreigners
● If the boat is 50ft or above and investment of $500,000 a foreigner may start with one boat on an owner operated basis.
There are also other tourism businesses/activities available but these are strictly reserved to Seychellois. These activities are:
● Boat charter businesses
● Water sports businesses
● Dive Centres or dive operatorsbusinesses.
Travel agent businesses
Travel agent businesses is strictly reserved for Seychellois only.
Potential areas for foreign investment in the tourism sector
Eco lodges and Boutique hotels on the outer islands of Seychelles
Investment opportunities in the accommodation sector is available specifically on the outer islands. It should be noted that out of 115 islands only 10% are developed with a hotel facility.
There is a demand for more specialty restaurants offering different cuisines in the country. Foreign cuisines are encouraged in order to give more diversity to the experience and improve the choices available.
Luxury yachts over 50ft.
Seychelles has a total of 115 islands to visit and the yachting, diving, fishing and cruise industry has the potential to offer a special experience to sea lovers. There is a need to increase the number of quality yachts/live aboard to further develop this sector of the tourism industry.
Mini Cruise ships and regional cruises
Aside from yachting activities there exists the potential for investment in mini cruise ships to allow the discovery of the 115 islands.
As mentioned above the development of marinas on outer islands is important in order to accommodate the increase in yachts, boat charter and cruise ships operating in the Seychelles waters.
There is a growing potential for development and investment opportunities in this area as Seychelles only has a few resorts which offer this product.
Seychelles is interested to attract suppliers of alternative energy equipment such as LED devices, water saving devices and equipment, as well as attracting management and recycling agencies which would recycle scrap metals, plastics, glass, and paper on commercial scale.
Seychelles also welcomes any new innovative ideas to increase product diversification in order to increase visitors experience and spending.
Tourism cooperation between Seychelles and China
Seychelles has very strong and close bilateral cooperation with China which has further developed over the last few years. Over these years there has been many successful projectsthat have been jointly accomplished in the tourism sector. Seychelles looks forward to continue developing excellent people to people relations with China and hopes toexpand the cooperation ties through increased collaboration on a number of future joint projects. This will hopefully include additionala ccomplishments in areas such as exchange of best practices, exchange of ideas and information specifically on tourism policies and statistics.
Following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tourism Cooperation between Seychelles and China, which took place on 11th September 2017, in Chengdu, there has been the new provision to establish training programmes in the field of the tourism industry in order to enhance skills and techniques in specific areas with the aim of improving each other’s tourism sector.
The other objectives of the MoU is to provide a broader framework for cooperation in the tourism sector through tourism and data exchange, support for marketing and promotion programmes, training programmes, exchange on tourism product development and collaboration between tourism associations.
Furthermore, the Bilateral Air Service Agreement in place between Seychelles and China will assist to improve the air links between the two countries. Hence Seychelles looks forward to having Chinese airlines flying to its shores.