Victoria, Mahe (Seychelles) – October 2, 2017 (travelindex.com) – Yield from the tourism industry is again on the table. “High end tourists who spend more” is once again the call. Sharing with the Tourism Board the address of that magical shopping centre where one can pick up these tourists “off the shelf” would be a start, but as the new Seychelles pushes down this path we see a subsidiary of Air France confirming its arrival with direct flights from Paris.
They are not high-end and they will be competing directly with the existing Air Seychelles non-stop direct flights to Paris. This discussion is on the table even though everyone knows that the country’s yield from tourism is not a matter the State has any control on. Applicable Room Rates by Hotels remains a private sector decision and they charge what they feel is possible and what holiday makers are comfortable with. An empty bed will never be sold after the day is gone, thus the constant drop in rates when Seychelles is not enjoying a very high occupancy level in its hotels. Now we are hearing that some in Seychelles are calling for higher-end tourists who will spend more and also that Seychelles needs fewer tourists. I am unsure who will be sitting in the economy section of all the planes flying to the islands if and when Seychelles pitches itself as a high-end destination ONLY. Talk this week has echoed dismay by worried small Seychellois hoteliers who see the discussions as pushing for the demise of all the small ‘home grown establishments’. Taxis are also set to be hit by this new call for high end tourists only and a drop in visitor arrival numbers. Taxis will be compelled to fight for Seychellois transfers only because the high end tourists use private limo-transfers or helicopters. Seychellois need to watch out because they can be, and probably will be bystanders in their tourism industry.
One positive sign is that British Tour Operators are reacting positively with the announcement of British Airways. Many are flying to Seychelles to re-look at hotels they are programming and getting ready for BA’s return. They are enthusiastic but have also spoken about the current state of insecurity. The case of Margaret Devlin on Praslin is today being spoken about. This UK couple have personally written to the Saint Ange Tourism Report and we are addressing the incident in this issue.
Stop Illegal, Unregulated & Unreported Fishing
The 2017 report from Stop Illegal Fishing takes a look at the work of the FISH-i Africa Task Force and focuses attention on the actions and cooperation that are still needed to tackle Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing in the Western Indian Ocean.
At the second earth summit with much prompting and insistence of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), global goal 14 for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is dedicated to “life below water” or below our common oceans. SDG 14 contains 7 targets covering issues of great concern such as tourism, nutrition, overfishing, pollution, scientific research, coastal zone and reef management, both being critical to islanders livelihood and being a first line of defense against tidal surges.
IUU is one of the practices that contravenes the very ethos and spirit of sustainable management of our oceans. ‘One in four fish in Africa is caught illegally, this threatens the sustainability of fish stocks, damages the ecosystem and deprives governments of income and people of livelihoods’. Seychelles has been hailed as one of the cleanest inhabitable oceans on the planet. Its small population is one of the highest per capita consumers of fish on the planet. Those two elements combined explain a lot about the diet culture that is now part of our DNA and the tourist attraction to the destination that is the number one pillar of the archipelagic economy. Illegal Unregulated and Unreported fisheries is identified as an illicit activity that must be effectively discouraged if not totally annihilated as an unsustainable criminal activity in our ‘Blue Economy’.
The FISH-i Africa Task Force was established in 2012 in the Republic of Seychelles at the Coral Strand Hotel. It was established to do exactly that the aforementioned. Fish-I was officially launched by the former Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr. Peter Sinon with fisheries officials of five founding members: Comoros, Kenya, Mozambique, Seychelles and Tanzania. This was considered a pioneer endeavour operating outside of traditional political structures. Since then, FISH-i has facilitated information sharing and regional cooperation that has led to significant enforcement actions and increased compliance in the region. Since 2012, FISH-i Africa has expanded with the addition of Madagascar, Mauritius and Somalia and now has eight members.
Stop Illegal Fishing Chairperson Elsa da Gloria Patria welcomed the publication of the 2017 Report. She stated that, “FISH-i Africa and the VIGILANCE programme offer a great opportunity to clean up the illegal activity that is taking place in the fisheries sector. Our countries and our people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods and their development we need to make sure that our resources are protected and our blue economies get a chance to thrive.”
‘FISH-i Africa: Our future’ sets out a real agenda for change; looking at the roles and responsibilities that port, flag, coastal and market States can play. Nicholas Ntheketha, Chair of FISH-i states, “FISH-i has been a big success and has achieved real cooperation with tangible results, but as we look forward we see the need to develop this cooperation further, we need to incorporate greater contact and communication with key port and flag States and we need to make sure that we have strong cooperation with all the relevant authorities at the national level.”
Sandy Davies of ‘Stop Illegal Fishing,’commented: “The scale and extent of illegal activity in the Western Indian Ocean has come as a real surprise to all of those involved in FISH-i Africa. We started out with the traditional expectation that most operators set out to comply with rules, or opportunistically took advantage of gaps and loopholes. But what the FISH-i investigations and analysis have shown is that in fact there are a significant number of operators who set out, deliberately and systematically to act illegally. They do this through falsifying information, forging documents, hiding company information behind secretive shelf companies and flags of non-compliance. Even when caught red handed, it is difficult for coastal States to exercise effective sanctions and penalties as vessels routinely abscond from authorities, change name and change flag. This is a significant undertaking involving around 500 vessels and a lot of work, but we believe this is the most effective means we have to end illegal fishing in this region.” Davies added, “We’ve had a strong response already to VIGILANCE and will be looking to work with a range of organizations and funding partners.”
FISH-i Africa plans to counter these systematic illegalities with a systematic programme of ‘VIGILANCE’ which will verify and cross-check the documentation and characteristics of all the vessels licensed to or flagged by the FISH-i members. www.stopillegalfishing.com
Aldabra, Once upon an Island – See The Wonderland Before It’s Lost!
The premier of this film was at the 2016 edition of the Carnaval International de Victoria in Seychelles. With films like the Lion King and the Beauty & the Beast under their belt the film producers today say:- Join us on an adventurous 3D expedition to the shores of a mysterious island lost in the waters of the Indian Ocean. To an atoll, which has stubbornly rejected human life yet is home to a community of exotic animal characters and their entertaining tales. Cross your fingers as turtle hatchlings tumble into lethal shallows teeming with hungry sharks. Gaze in wonder at the world’s largest terrestrial crabs clambering up palm trees in search of juicy coconuts. Hold your breath in awe as a giant grouper fearlessly guards an ancient shipwreck against all comers. Discover how the giant prehistoric tortoises live together with their babies. Explore an island, which has risen from the sea only to be engulfed once again by ocean currents and rising seas. Meet our heroes, Elvi, Tory, robber Buster, Snooper, fighter Luis and many others in the story full of excitement, emotions and unexpected twists. Discover Aldabra before it’s lost!
A Family Feature Documentary from the Czech Republic 2017 of 73 minutes. Sales by Vision Films with Robert Schneider as the producer and principle investor in the Aldabra project.
UK producers describe Seychelles as the perfect ‘castaway’ paradise for brand new comedy series coming to E4
The wonderful backdrop and sceneries of Seychelles have convinced producers of an upcoming UK television series that the popular holiday destination is also a perfect filming location. Kerry Waddel, the producer of High and Dry — a new comedy series filmed entirely on location in the Seychelles — said they are looking forward to returning to the island nation to film a second series of the sitcom.
Starring popular British comedian Marc Wootton, the series being produced by a UK-based company, Baby Cow Productions, unfolds with passengers surviving a plane crash on a deserted island. Shooting of scenes for the six half-hour episodes were done at some of the well-known beaches on the Seychelles main island, Mahé, namely Anse du Riz, and Anse-Major, which is where the key scenes were filmed. The filming was done from July 9 to August 4, 2017.
Ms Waddel said: “We were looking for a location ‘castaway’ paradise and we found it in the Seychelles. Our requirements were unspoilt white sandy beaches, clear blue sea and jungle and we discovered them all to perfection. Our island had easy access to the airport and small enough to move around easily with fabulous accommodation at a reasonable rate.”
The Seychelles Tourism Board that pitched the idea to the UK production company to choose Seychelles for once, provided full support for the filming on location along with other local authorities.
Ms Waddel said: “STB helped us with the permissions to film, location finding and keeping location costs to a minimum. The people were kind, friendly, trustworthy and helpful. All contributed to a successful shoot.”
While the outcome is positive, the filming did have its share of challenges, but the Baby Cow production team and their actors were able to rise to the occasion and enjoy the perks of filming on a beach destination surrounded by beautiful wildlife.
“The main challenge was the location we chose as it was so remote. There was no access by road so we had to land everything and everyone by boat. This was hindered slightly by some tricky sea swells to negotiate but the crew rose to the occasion and jumped in the water to move the equipment around,” said Ms Weddel.
“We also chose a cave location one day that was a good one hour trek to walk to. The crew were thrilled at seeing tortoise, fruit bats and unusual wildlife and to experience the tropical life on a daily basis,” she added.
High and Dry will air on E4 — a digital entertainment channel owned by Channel 4 in the UK, and while the exact date is yet to be announced, it is expected that the airing will happen early 2018.
Although it won’t be directly mentioning Seychelles, the fact that the beautiful beaches, clear turquoise waters and lush tropical vegetation will be featured this will help to push Seychelles into the UK limelight, which is a market that has been seeing remarkable increase in visitor arrivals to Seychelles over the last two years.
The Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Francis said: “It has been an absolute pleasure working with the Baby Cow Productions team. We are so happy that Seychelles was the chosen location and we hope that this opens up the destination to other similar productions.”
STB also sought the services of a PR company to feature a “Behind the Scenes” documentary about the filming to help create a forum for viewers to engage and discuss the series and also the location when the series starts airing. A page on IMDb, a popular source for movie, TV and celebrity content, is also expected to be set up for the High and Dry series.
Baby Cow productions is an award-winning production house in the UK, established in 1999. Aside of High and Dry, the company has produced some much-loved comedy series including Hunderby, Hebburn, The Trip, Gavin & Stacey to name but a few.
Etihad appoints Tony Douglas as the new Group CEO to take over in January – Air Seychelles is part of the Etihad Group
Etihad has appointed a new chief executive, formerly in a government defence role, to take over the reins previously held by James Hogan. The airline group issued a statement saying the Chairman of Etihad Aviation Group, His Excellency Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei “confirmed the appointment of Tony Douglas as Group Chief Executive Officer, who will join the company in January 2018”.
Douglas joins Etihad from Britain’s Ministry of Defence, where he served as chief executive of the Defence Equipment and Support department, responsible for procuring and supporting all the equipment and services for the British Armed Forces.
In the UK, he held senior positions with airport operator BAA, and as Chief Operating Officer and Group Chief Executive designate of Laing O’Rourke. His roles under airport operator BAA included Managing Director of the Heathrow Terminal 5 project, Group Supply Chain Director, Group Technical Director, and CEO of Heathrow Airport.
Previously Tony Douglas held senior positions in the UAE, most notably as chief executive of Abu Dhabi Airports Company and as chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports Company where he was responsible for the successful delivery of Khalifa Port.
H.E. Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Board of Etihad Aviation Group, commented: “We are delighted to have Tony return to Abu Dhabi to lead Etihad. He has guided the transformation of large organisations in the UAE and the UK, and he understands the UAE and the region. He is also deeply knowledgeable about commercial aviation and keenly familiar with Etihad’s challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing industry.”
The statement said that as group chief executive , Douglas would work with the board and leadership team “to expand and implement a range of strategic initiatives to position Etihad for sustained success in an increasingly competitive regional and global aviation market”.
Douglas commented: “Etihad is a force in global aviation that must continue to adapt and evolve on its own and with industry partners. It is an economic and employment engine for the UAE and the region. With new infrastructure and attractions like the expanded airport, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and Abu Dhabi Global Market, Etihad has a central role in supporting the UAE’s position as a global hub of transportation, tourism, commerce, and culture.”
Tony Douglas will be supported by a team which includes Ray Gammell, as Group Chief People & Performance Officer; Ricky Thirion, Interim Group Chief Financial Officer; Kevin Knight, Group Chief Strategy & Planning Officer; Mana Mohamed Saeed Al Mulla, Chief Group Support Services Officer; Henning zur Hausen, General Counsel; and Amina Taher, Vice President Corporate Affairs.
The divisional chief executives will report directly to Tony Douglas, including Peter Baumgartner, chief executive of Etihad Airways; Chris Youlten, Managing Director of Etihad Airport Services; Abdul Khaliq Saeed, chief executive of Etihad Airways Engineering; Gavin Halliday, Managing Director of Hala Group; and Robin Kamark who joins as CEO, Airline Equity Partners in October 2017. Air Seychelles is part of the Etihad Group of Companies.
Coffee-In-A-Cone is in Seychelles
Seychelles was invited to share the exciting launch of Coffee-In-A-Cone “The worlds most instagrammable Coffee” at the Chatter Box Cafe at Eden Island. Coffee-In-A-Cone took the social media world by storm and now Chatter Box of Seychelles has partnered with Coffee-In-A-Cone to bring this product to the Seychelles, the first and only country in the Indian Ocean to offer this product. Coffee-In-A-Cone has been featured in major news platforms such as CNN, Daily Mail UK, all major radio, TV and print mediums in South Africa, Australia and numerous social media platforms around the globe.
Marsha & Kirschlee were on hand on Thursday the 28th September to be with their guests as they experienced the latest coffee craze.