New PS highlights priorities of tourism department following restructuring |01 July 2021
Following last week’s announcement of the new restructuring in the department of tourism, its new principal secretary, Sherin Francis, yesterday morning met with local media partners to highlight the priorities on which the department will focus during the coming months and years.
The meeting at her office at Botanical House was also an opportunity for PS Francis to talk in details about the other changes and functions of the tourism department.
She noted that her secretariat will be responsible for press and communications, international cooperation, human resource and administration, destination marketing, product planning and development.
“We have to acknowledge that I am assuming my new responsibilities and facing these challenges at a time when the country is still going through one of the most difficult and biggest ever crisis that the tourism industry has ever faced,” Mrs Francis remarked.
“It is for this reason that we should remain focused on our priorities in order to be able to help the country overcome this difficult time and hopefully come out better,” said Mrs Francis.
She also stressed that in this difficult period for the tourism industry and the country, how we manage and mitigate the pandemic situation and its impact is of paramount importance.
“If we do not give priority to addressing concerns related to the Covid-19 pandemic we will not be able to meet our targets and objectives and our work will be delayed considerably,” Mrs Francis pointed out.
Furthermore, Mrs Francis explained that the changes taking place within the tourism department will not affect the Seychelles destination brand which remains ‘Seychelles Islands Another World’ and that for commercial reasons, the department will be referred to as ‘Tourism Seychelles’.
She explained that the two main divisions of the department ‒ the destination marketing division, and product planning and development division ‒ would complement each other in their respective tasks.
In line with the restructuring, PS Francis said the department’s priority is to look for areas where it could rationalise resources effectively and ensure efficiency across of all its operations in line with the industry’s regulatory framework.
“The focus of the new administration will be to enhance customer satisfaction by refining its support to the industry through training and other programmes to help improve service standards,” PS Francis stated.
Another area of attention will be addressing the gaps in existing tourism policies and strategies.
“A review of the tourism policies for various services in the sector will be conducted to ensure all strategies serve current requirements especially in view of the pandemic and new tourism developing trends,” she further added.
According to PS Francis, this is important to facilitate diversification of tourism products being offered.
In view of the department’s commitment to enhance customer experience, PS Francis stated that the department will undertake an inventory of the facilities and services provided to tourists in Seychelles especially in terms of attractions, sites, and experiences. This exercise will be conducted in collaboration with various stakeholders and would ascertain the availability and quality of facilities, products and services for tourists.
“This will allow us to know where there are gaps so we can improve the quality of our tourism products which in turn would allow us to broaden the scope of destination marketing, visitor experience and revenue generation. This would also help us identify potential areas for growth of services offered to visitors and help us better channel investment into the industry,” PS Francis stated.
Presenting a critical area of concern, PS Francis advised that an assessment will be carried out to understand and review the key human resources issues faced by the tourism sector in Seychelles. The department will be working in close collaboration with relevant ministries to identify the cause of the high staff turnover and low productivity with a view to formulate corrective measures.
The department will also continue with its efforts to continuously raise awareness on the importance of our brand, digital engagement and strengthening Seychelles’ presence on social media which she stated has become more relevant and important as a result of the pandemic.
PS Francis further confirmed that particular attention will be paid to market intelligence, statistics and data driven insights.
In conclusion PS Francis stated that to truly realise the plans of the department there is a need to maintain and strengthen several essential areas of partnership and support ranging from the private to public sectors. She noted that ongoing cooperation and dialogue with other government bodies from regulatory to policy making is essential to ensure that all ancillary functions and services to move forward the industry are aligned.
“For us to put the economy and the tourism industry back on their feet we need the support of everybody and the engagement and commitment of all our partners,” said PS Francis.
Marie-Anne Lepathy/Press release from Tourism Seychelles