The economic situation in Seychelles is clear for all to see – it needs attention. People are suffering and the only industry that is able to bring immediate redress is tourism. The islands need leadership and this with the ability or experience to bring about the needed change to get the economy back on track.
Seychelles has announced a slow somewhat discriminatory re-opening program that will condemn more business to closures because they cannot sustain the forced closure any longer. Reopening does not mean that the islands will see a sudden invasion by tourists, it will be a phased approach anyway but imposing more quarantine measures now may just be a final nail for many. Seychelles must be looking at mitigating the challenges by being proactive and working with airlines planning to launch flights to Seychelles. Rapid tests at boarding is an option, but not trying to milk the tourists deciding to come here with overcharged rates for the tests. We need the tourists and they do not need us. Seychelles needs its tourism industry more than ever before and as competing tourism destinations move to reopen they will be aggressive and will fight for their share of the market. We must come down from our high horses and be humble if we want to relaunch the industry our people so need and the industry our economy must have. Many an announcement made are based on what we see on the horizon such as placing China on the list of not vulnerable countries only because of possible charters being assessed today. An open national dialogue is needed NOW.
The COVID-19 pandemic remains a trying moment. Tourism destinations must remain a people’s industry where the human touch guides the day to day industry. Tourists will interact with us Seychellois even if only selected islands are opened. No Seychellois can be guinea pigs. Tourism is for everyone to work for and benefit from. The people and their livelihood must be placed at the centre of every decision taken. Should the businesses that keep the people in employment be the focus of decisions or are the authorities planning to pay everyone until WHO announces one day that the epidemic is over – it is a known fact that the Seychelles Government cannot really afford this. A referendum on the actions taken by all in elected offices will arrive very soon and the People will have their chance to pass judgement on everything done and executed in the name of the People, for the People and by the People.
A recent community styled meeting at Anse Aux Pins that saw Gafur Yakub and Andre Rassool join a Government PS to talk about diversifying the economic base with greater emphasis on agriculture. It was a great move and Rev Fr Lonnie Adrienne, the Roman Catholic Priest of Anse Aux Pins and those who helped organise this meeting need to be congratulated. This will help and needs to be supported, but tomorrow onwards it is still tourism that remains the industry to pull Seychelles out of the doldrums it finds itself in.
Source: Saint Ange Tourism Report