Chinese family enjoying prolonged vacation in Seychelles due to COVID-19 |25 April 2020
Thirty-three year old Zhouhu Yang along with his mother, sister and nephew are among the few visitors that have chosen to stay in Seychelles during this pandemic.
Presently refuged at Villa Veuve on La Digue, the Yang family from mainland China has seen their two-week vacation extended to one month, then two and now three months due to COVID-19.
Yang, who lives in Beijing, quit his job in 2018 to become what he describes as a ‘global traveller’ and prior to bringing his family to Seychelles, he had spent the last quarter of 2019 travelling across North and Latin America.
It is his second time in Seychelles after first visiting and falling in love with the islands some three years ago.
During their unexpected lengthy stay, Yang has captured their vacation time in Seychelles through photos and videos which he shared on several Chinese social media platforms such as Wechat, Sina Weibo, Tencent and Tik Tok.
It did not take long for the photos and videos of Seychelles’ sandy white beaches and sparkling blue sea to gain the attention of many people in China including a Chinese journalist who shared one of Yang’s video on Seychelles.
The video in question now has over 200 million views and garnered hundreds of comments asking about Seychelles.
“Some people, mostly Chinese, have expressed their interest in visiting Seychelles after the pandemic since most of them have never even heard of this little group of islands,” Yang told Seychelles NATION.
“I have received a lot of requests from Chinese news outlets who want me to describe my time spent in paradise during the pandemic.”
Even without knowing of the Seychelles Tourism Board’s (STB) new digital campaign, ‘Dream Now, Experience Seychelles Later’, Yang has been able to actively engage with the Chinese market, encouraging Chinese to dream about the day they could also lie underneath a coconut tree on La Digue.
But how did Yang end up on La Digue for three months?
“Obviously this was not in our plans; we arrived in Seychelles on January 26 for a 15-day stay,” Yang explained.
At the time, the Chinese city of Wuhan – the epicenter of the outbreak – had just been placed under lockdown on January 23 and no one could have ever imagined the catastrophic impact the novel coronavirus would have on countries around the world in the coming months.
“By the time we were expected to go back home on February 10, my family and I decided to prolong our stay for a little while with the thought that the situation would settle down. My mother is 70 years old and my nephew is three years old so we did not want to risk the long flight back home until the virus passed,” Yang stated.
But the coronavirus threat did not subside. On the contrary it spread in almost every country, including Seychelles and has now infected over 2 million people.
“We never thought it would last this long,” Yang added.
The Yang family has been greatly assisted by the immigration department which has extended their visas as well as by the Chinese embassy in Seychelles which has sent over some basic medical supplies and masks for their protection.
“The embassy also calls us every other day to make sure that we are doing ok and we are thankful for its help,” Yang noted.
He also made favourable mentions of his Seychellois hosts on La Digue who have provided them with some fresh fruits and produce as well as kept them updated on local news.
The Seychellois couple at Villa Veuve has also graciously provided the family with a discount price throughout their stay.
“We are currently the only customers at the guesthouse but there are other tourists in other places. So far, we have met some French, Germans and South Africans but there aren’t a lot of tourists left on La Digue.”
Although they are spending the pandemic in paradise, Yang noted that his grandmother is having a harder time coping since she worries about their family members back in China.
As the Yang family wait on a flight back home, they ensure that they remain updated on any developments in China and around the world.
“The Seychelles people have been so kind to us and we have had a relatively nice experience, even with the virus. I will definitely come back and bring more friends and family along,” Yang concluded.
The accompanying photographs show Yang and his family spending their prolonged stay in paradise Seychelles.