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Cabinet briefed on tourism carrying capacity study |26 May 2023

Cabinet on Wednesday approved a number of measures that will allow for the development of Seychelles as a high-value, with low impact destination.

This came after it was briefed on the results of the Tourism Carrying Capacity Study for the islands of Mahé and Praslin, conducted by Sustainable Travel International.

The study confirmed that the tourism sector is a significant contributor to the economy and also revealed that the focus of investment mainly on accommodation facilities, has led to little innovation in terms of visitor experience.

Speaking to the local media, Vice-President Ahmed Afif said this shows that Seychelles as a country has amassed a lot of high-yield tourists, meaning that when the tourists arrive in the country, they are paying for a big package within their stay in Seychelles. “What we have seen is that since tourists have been entering the country since 2010 and upwards, they were bringing a lot more money per tourists,” he stated. “They were bringing in close to $2000 ten years ago per tourist and gradually it dropped. Just before Covid, it was $1600 and now recently we have seen a tendency where it is rising again. However, it is not what we were getting ten years ago,” explained Mr Afif.

He said that in the last ten years, the investment in tourism has dropped, especially in the big hotels. This was due to the moratorium that was put in place a few years ago when it was felt that Seychelles should “start thinking on how many people the country can hold”. 

Cabinet was also briefed on the approval of the Tourism Development (Standards) Regulations. These regulations provide for the minimum requirements necessary for the maintenance of standards of the different tourism products within the industry. Furthermore, it will introduce the national grading system for accommodation establishments. The minimum requirements for Accommodation Establishments will comprise sets of criteria for hotels, self-caterings, island resorts and guesthouses. In addition, the minimum requirements for Tourism Enterprise will comprise sets of criteria for restaurant, hire craft, watersport, dive centre and dive operator, tour operators (DMC), and travel agents.

Vice-President Afif explained that certain requirements such as looking at the sizes of the room and the overall general service provided by tourism establishments need to be in order. This will allow the rating to be given based on points, whereby the big hotels will be rated based on stars and smaller hotels will have what is called a ‘Secret Seychelles’ rating where there will be a gold, silver and bronze tier.

At Wednesday’s meeting the results of a population and housing census, conducted in April 2022 were also presented to cabinet. The census covered the number of people counted in the survey disaggregated by citizenship status and nationality. It also covered the Labour Force Indicators and Household incomes. Data on access to utilities, amenities and cooking fuel were also collected. The census also looked at the population of people not vaccinated against Covid-19. The types of disabilities among the population were also counted. 

The results revealed that the population is currently 102,612, which includes 20 percent of migrants. Out of 28,561 houses, three-quarters own their own houses, while the remaining quarter are either renting houses or getting accommodation as a GOP.

50 percent have fully paid for the houses while the rest are repaying a loan.

A quarter of those households are living under an average house income of R10,000. Women are the person in charge in two-quarters of those households.

25 percent of all the houses are getting R20,000 and upwards as a household income. 


Sunny Esparon 

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