Seychelles joins the eco bandwagon

With the intention of enhancing tourism, Seychelles has announced eco-friendly projects to capitalise on the nation’s rich natural wealth.

For a small island nation such as Seychelles, conservation projects are not that easy to implement. However, the nation has declared more than 50 percent of its land as protected reserves, no mean feat considering its size and economic limitations. The move, according to the authorities, will preserve the nation’s natural reserves, as well as enhancing tourism that will act as the main revenue earner for the state.

James Michel, president of the Seychelles Republic, has taken a personal interest in preserving the nation’s natural resources and has been a strong advocate for the protection of the environment. He was personally involved in the moves to have over half of the country declared as protected reserves. The president said that his government would work as a custodian of the rich natural resources that the country had received from nature. Seychelles recently named Prof. Rolph Payet as the islands’ minister for the environment, and he is an expert in climate change and the ecological problems faced by small island states.

The Seychelles minister for tourism, Alain St.Ange, said, ‘The Seychelles government wants the islands to not only retain the spectacular natural beauty it has, but wants to also regain grounds of areas we allowed development to gain an upper hand.’ The minister also said that the nation was focussing on sustainable development, and stressed the need to develop infrastructure without harming the environment.

For example, alarmed at the increase in the number of petrol cars on the nation’s La Digue island, the government is encouraging citizens to use battery-operated vehicles by removing all duty on the imports of these vehicles.

Such initiatives, according to the tourism minister, will increase tourism and also improve the experience for tourists who are keen to explore the natural wonders of the islands.

Seychelles to capitalise on its position as a honeymoon destination

Following a recent high-profile honeymoon in the island, Seychelles is promoting itself as the first choice for honeymooners to celebrate their wedding.

The island nation is to promote its exotic mid-ocean islands as the most sought after wedding and honeymoon destination. The Island was recently featured in a full-page report in the UK-based Planning your Wedding Magazine. The Tourism Board of the island said that the much publicized honeymoon of Prince William and Kate Middleton a year ago has taken the name and fame of the island far and wide.

An official with the board said, ‘but since that royal honeymoon, the world has been descending on Seychelles for their honeymoon to have their own taste of paradise and to appreciate what the young British Prince and his spectacular bride enjoyed. Earlier this month nineteen young Chinese couples also chose Seychelles for their wedding. That group wedding event was another first for Seychelles.’

Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. It is located about 1,500 kilometres east of mainland Africa and is close to the island of Madagascar. Its population of 86,525 is the smallest of any African state, and the nation also enjoys the highest Human Development Index in Africa. The nation also has a good official score, as per the Ibrahim Index, in Safety and Security, Participation and Human Rights and Human Development.

The group of islands are made up of 42 granitic islands, the beach of Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue, two coral sand cays north of the granitics, and 29 coral islands in addition to other geographic attractions. The climate, though humid, remains stable all through the year.

British Travellers Looking for Holiday in Seychelles

TravelSupermarket, a UK-based online travel company, has reported that coverage on a recent BBC2 series is boosting vacations to Seychelles, an island country in the Indian Ocean.

The company is reporting that airing of BBC 2’s Sunday evening programme, Indian Ocean with Simon Reeve, has resulted in a spike in the number of reservations to the island country. While the first part of the television series aired on April 22, 2012, bookings and searches have increased by around 3,500% after airing of the second part of the series on April 29, 2012.

An island nation, Seychelles, consisting of an archipelago of 155 islands, is located to the northeast of Madagascar and around 1,600 km east of Kenya. Located on a coral reef, Mahe is the main island of the island nation. The area offers eco-tourism for global travellers, who are attracted by the array of sea life beneath the crystal clear waters, as well as natural habitats of various kinds of birds and giant tortoises. The accommodation for travellers includes inexpensive self-catering accommodation and guesthouses, as well as luxury accommodation such as the Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort and Spa, and the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles.

Bob Atkinson, a travel expert at TravelSupermarket, said, ‘Television programmes such as this are a great window to the world so it is no surprise we have seen a huge surge of interest in the Seychelles following the episode last Sunday. I suspect there will be further spikes in searches as the programme continues around the Indian Ocean to exotic destinations such as the Maldives and Sri Lanka.’

Mauritius and Seychelles sign ‘groundbreaking’ treaty for joint management of continental shelf

At a ceremony held on 12 March as part of Mauritius National Day celebrations, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam and the President of the Republic of Seychelles, James Michel, signed an historic Treaty, to provide for the joint management of a vast area of seabed for the benefit of present and future generations.

As a result, Seychelles and Mauritius now have joint jurisdiction over an additional area of 396,000 square kilometers.

I have seen tremendous development and progress since my last visit in 2005. Mauritius is moving fast with dynamism, and together, we can collaborate for the benefit of our people,” said President Michel during the meeting.

President Michel commended the signature of the landmark agreements, and thanked the government of Mauritius for working with Seychelles to achieve the historic partnership.

“It is really remarkable we have managed to achieve this together- it is the first time two countries have signed such an agreement without going through arbitration. It is an extraordinary symbol of our genuine desire to work together as neighbors, as partners, and friends,” said President Michel following the signing.

The signing of the Treaty took place at Clarisse House, the Prime Minister’s residence. It follows the endorsement by the United Nations in April 2011 of a Joint Submission by Mauritius and Seychelles for 400,000 sq km of seabed.

The President said that the Mascarene Plateau region would provide the economic, social, and cultural wellbeing of present and future generations as Seychelles and Mauritius look after he resources of the ocean together.

“We believe that the ocean which surrounds us has immense potential for Small Island Developing States [SIDS], as well as coastal states. We need to harness the power of the blue economy. The ocean unites us and, therefore, it is vital that as two neighborly nations, we are able to access, manage, and conserve resources of the ocean seabed and subsoil together.”

The first treaty proclaims the extended continental shelf outer limits in order to provide for its recognition under the respective national laws and for the extended purposes of international law, which entails depositing the coordinates and charts showing the outer limit boundaries of the Extended Continental Shelf.

The second treaty provides an overarching framework for the establishment of a joint management for the joint administration and management of the Extended Continental Shelf, which is to be proclaimed under the first treaty.

 

Swim ban lifted from world’s best beach

“A return to normality,” for many tourists who enjoy the world famous beach on the island of Praslin, after the swim ban was lifted last week.

Voted year after year as the World’s Best Beach, Praslin, the tourist Mecca of the Seychelles, has seen the introduction of lifeguards on its beach at Anse Lazio, following the freak shark attacks mid-last year.

Experts from South Africa have been assisting the Seychelles government with a long list of what to do, which the authorities have been following as they prepared to reopen the beach.

The popular Anse Lazio Beach is popular with tourists and locals, and it remains an idyllic setting for romantic swims or just admiring the beauty that still exists in this era when the world is being overtaken by development.

Alain St.Ange, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, was on the island of Praslin after the swim ban was lifted, and after enjoying a swim with hoteliers of the island, he met with the press for an interview right on the beach itself. “As a country, we worked hard to ensure that recommendations made by South African experts were looked at. We sought more help from Australia in the field of training for our life guards. Today, we feel satisfied that we are ready to reopen the beach, which is adequately manned by Seychellois life guards,” Alain St.Ange said.

Seychelles is known as a year-round tourist destination, as it does not have winter. The country has clean and clear white sandy beaches that are lapped by the clean and clear turquoise blue seas. This is why tourists continue to flock to this mid-ocean group of islands that offers both granitic and flat coral islands. Tourism remains the pillar of the Seychelles economy.

Seychelles host eco-friendly marathon

The Seychelles islands are set to host its annual Seychelles Eco-Friendly Marathon for the year 2012, which will take place on February 26.

The Seychelles Eco-Friendly Marathon has been taking place in Seychelles since 2008. It was initiated by Mr. Dong Chang Jeong, the Seychelles Honorary Consul General for South Korea, who is also head of the Seychelles Tourist Office in Korea. The event was conceived to contribute to Seychellois’ health and to unify Seychellois and visitors.
The marathon indeed helps to bring Seychelles to the attention of more travelers and contributes to lifting the Seychelles brand around the world. For the 5th edition, the islands can expect to receive some 300 overseas participants, on top of several hundred local participants.

On Sunday, February 26, runners of the 5th edition of the Seychelles Eco-Friendly Marathon will set off from Beau Vallon on the main island of Mahe at 7:00 am, covering the northern and northeastern areas of the main island, as well as its capital, Victoria.

As for the structure of the marathon, there is something for a wide range of fitness levels. This follows the philosophy of the Seychelles Eco-Friendly Marathon that it is to spread the focus beyond mere competition, putting equal emphasis on appreciating exercise and being surrounded by the natural beauty of Seychelles.

Medals and prizes of a range of values are to be awarded to the top five category winners, and all participants who complete the race shall be awarded a T-shirt in addition to their Official Time Certificate.

The Seychelles Eco-Friendly Marathon is recognized internationally through the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) label. It is organized jointly by the National Sports Council, Seychelles Tourism Board, and INOCEAN M&C (South Korean company headed by Mr. Dong Chang Jeong), which is also the main sponsor for the event.

The deadline for entry is the January 31 for overseas participants and February 15 for local participants.

For entries from outside Seychelles, contact National Sports Council athighlevelsports@seychelles.sc or INOCEAN M&C at sey@seychellestour.co.kr for registration. Local participants are advised to register in person at the National Sports Council.

On the same evening, a Korean Night event will be hold at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay hotel where one may savor genuine Korean cuisine and culture with some 500 guests. Here, a prize-giving ceremony for marathon and half-marathon winners will coincide.

 

Seychelles President urges banks to modernise

The Seychelles President, Mr. James Michel, has made an appeal to financial institutions in Seychelles to do more to modernise, provide Internet banking services, as well as affordable credit to help the economy.
The President made the statements in an address at the Seychelles Central Bank Anniversary Lecture, “Technological Innovation Driving Financial Services,” at the International Conference Centre on Saturday, November 19. The lecture was attended by the Governor of the Central Bank, Pierre Laporte, the Chairman and CEO of Polaris Software Lab, Arun Jain, as well as dignitaries.

“… When it comes to innovation, I cannot say that I am satisfied with what the institutions are offering to their clients. For instance, today, not one single bank in Seychelles offers full Internet banking services to their clients! I am encouraged, however, that some of our banks have indicated that this will be forthcoming,” said the President during his address.

The President noted that his government and the Central Bank had made significant strides to improve the regulatory framework in which financial institutions operate and would continue to ensure that the institutional and legal frameworks remain up to date with the financial innovations.

“I applaud the efforts of our public institutions, which have grasped technological changes, and which have already brought about significant improvements in the delivery of their services. … I take the opportunity to congratulate the Central Bank for being one of our institutions that has adopted technological advances to its benefit,” said the President.

The President referred to the recent investment of the CBS in its integrated CORE banking platform, which has allowed the bank to, among other things, increase the volume of transactions it processes, reduce risks associated with a multitude of computer software, minimize security risks, provide real-time balances to government and commercial banks, and enable “straight-through” processing.

The President noted that various forthcoming projects envisaged by the bank, its initiative for the automation of check clearing, which will mean that the exchange of paper checks between banks for the settlement of personal and business transactions will soon be a thing of the past.

The President also urged financial institutions, especially the commercial banks, to do more to help our economy.

“We have a duty to empower our people. We have a duty to help them better their situation, to do business, expand and create more wealth, more opportunities… But they cannot do so without access to affordable credit. Credit remains one of the fundamental drivers of economic growth. Banks can and must reduce interest rates further. Bank spreads today are higher than they were before we implemented our economic reforms three years ago, one of the only few black spots when we look at our overall performance during that period. So I urge banks, once again, to go back to the drawing board and contribute more to our economy through more affordable lending rates. At the same time, let us do more to encourage the savings culture through more attractive savings rates.”

Seychelles honeymoon… the ultimate favorite for the stars

The Seychelles islands tops the list of journalists Andrea Ege’s top ten honeymoon destinations for celebrities.
In her article entitled “The Celebs’ Top Ten Honeymoon Destinations,” Andrea has come out with 10 of the best celebrity destination, and Seychelles is listed as the best place to go for a romantic honeymoon followed by Turks and Caicos, Maldives, Mexico, California, Bora Bora, Hawaii, Fiji, Barbados, and Bahamas, respectively.

Many dream about some really romantic places where they could spend some valuable time with loved ones, and many people have visited different places around the world to find the perfect place for a great romantic holiday; however, Andrea remarked that celebrities prefer quite different regions – both in terms of geography and budget.

Seychelles islands has been chosen for more than just its beautiful location. Andrea makes known that chased by photographers, celebrities not only needs a place that is beautiful and relaxing but also one that is as paparazzi-safe as it gets.

A secluded holiday destination is what celebrities tend to look out for after spending so much time escaping prying eyes and the paparazzi. Lately, the Seychelles islands has been the regular holiday hot-spot, where most of the private beaches would give celebrities a chance to enjoy their romance without creating headlines.

The article also mentioned famous celebrities such as Salma Hayek and Francois Henri Pinault as having a good time at the North Island Hotel after their wedding.

It also named the former famous British couple, Paul McCartney and Heather Mills, even though their marriage did not last, they certainly had a beautiful honeymoon.

As did Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt – they supposedly rented a small villa on Frégate Island for their honeymoon. Just like Liz Hurley with Arun Nayar and Prince William with Kate, states the article.

Seychelles joins up with MTV

As part of their drive to further raise the profile of the Seychelles islands and create awareness, the Seychelles Tourism Board’s CEO, Alain St. Ange, and Tourism Copywriter and Consultant Glynn Burridge met with Patrick Ward, Strategy Manager for MTV Networks Africa, the world-famous cable music channel, to work on a number of exciting projects.
The Seychelles Tourism Board will be looking at ways in which it can collaborate with MTV on providing international coverage via their network of the Carnaval International de Victoria due to be held in Seychelles between March 2-4, 2012 by hosting an MTV team of presenters and technicians who will provide a live feed of the event.

Another possible item of cooperation under discussion is the possibility of MTV moderators using Seychelles as a base for the hosting of events of certain of their corporate clients, as well as exploring innovative ways of showcasing Seychelles’ music to a world audience.

“Given the prominence of MTV in today’s music world and its great popularity among the world’s youth, it is completely fitting that we look at MTV as a future partner in win-win scenarios for both parties,” commented Glynn Burridge of the Seychelles Tourism Board.

Korea has honeymoon appeal

There are many places in the world that can be referred to as hot honeymoon destinations, and the Seychelles is definitely courting the top of such a list.

More and more, especially since newlyweds Prince William and Catherine jetted to the islands for their honeymoon, Seychelles is in the limelight for honeymoon travel.

Such a trend is building up in Korea which is one of the strongest secondary markets for Seychelles.

The Koreans view the islands as not only the place to unwind while being surrounded by glistening waters, tropical palms, and beautiful sandy beaches, but it is one which will leave lasting memories.

At the Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA) held in Seoul last month, Seychelles could have been the most exciting destination of the show, as its romance appeal attracted a lot of visitors to the stand.

The Seychelles Tourist Office in South Korea confirmed that the awareness and popularity of the destination keeps increasing on that market, as more people show interest.

The Seychelles stand was highly appreciated at KOTFA, as it showed the enviable beauty of the islands, as well as a replica of the Seychelles giant tortoise. The latter created a stir, as did the coco-de-mer nut, which Seychelles promoted as the fruit of Eve, which brings luck when you touch.

Seychelles also hosted a “Seychelles Survival Quiz” where five “survivors” were rewarded each day of the show.

Besides their presence at the show, the tourist office in Korea also ran a busy program of PR events and trade promotions for the trade and media, in a bid to further expose the destination and create awareness among the people who sell it.

To further confirm Seychelles’ successful presence at the show, the destination won the Best Booth Design Award for the second year in a row.

The office said after the trade fair that KOTFA has helped immensely to promote the destination to the Korean mass market and that Seychelles should participate every year until such time that it is satisfied that the islands are well-established in that market and the numbers are showing even healthier growth.