Seychelles Tourism Arrivals Up But Yield is Down
This means visitors coming to Seychelles are spending less, staying less nights and worse over all, it exposes the little detail that our Tourism product has departed the realm of exclusivity and high yield niche and is becoming a mass tourism type of destination, something we said we should avoid at all cost as a Country since we lack capacity for mass Tourism.
I break down some issues that have been left unfettered and is the combined cause for the downturn in revenue which is real now to Government of Seychelles and the Trade alike.
1.Transfer Cost From Mahe To Praslin and La Digue Excessive
The three Island experience for visitors is a bit like visiting different stations for rides at Disney for the Seychelles. Each island has a unique experience, and unique assets that each visitor must visit, to sense the full breathe of a Seychelles holiday (Another World"). Because flights are expensive and Cat Cocos follows market trends to raise prices upwards, inter island frolicking is at an all time downturn, minimizing Visitor yield per day earned through excursions, ferry, taxis and handling. Government needs to take swift action to lower fuel tax incidences,and seek out cooperation with Air Seychelles, Cat Cocos and Cat Roses to lower ticketing pricing by at least 35%. It will take a year to feel the impact of such critical move to increase Yield. Government must reassess its fuel taxing policy which has a material impact on high cost of goods, services, in Seychelles.We are no longer competitive.
2. Fair Trading Commission needs to look into the discriminatory ticket pricing ongoing at
Air Seychelles domestic for a ticket to Praslin. This discriminatory pricing takes place on baggage allowance as well from other carriers, that have onwards guests going to Praslin.If Air Seychelles is implementing unfair trade practice on ticketing and baggage allowance, then its profits are artificial on the domestic route. Tickets can cost SCR. 1,500 one way and commonly cost SCR.1,200 one way for a 15 minute hopper using kerosene as fuel. This is totally not acceptable, and the Fair Trading Commission needs to investigate Air Seychelles and draw the line to protect the Tourism Industry and inter island trade and commerce. Why has SCAA stayed silent on this pricing scheme when Air Seychelles maintains a monopoly in the domestic air service business?
3. Food Prices Are Still Too High In Seychelles
The cost of food in Seychelles remains still until today, very high. When we add the incidences of tax to the food bill and 15% VAT to a restaurant bill, the price is excessive for what a Guest pays comparably to other sun, sea and sand destinations. Many destinations are now selling "all inclusive, food, meals, beverage" in a holiday package. Some Guests demand it (South Africa). Players in Tourism need to wake up to this and government must address this issue to keep Seychelles competitive. The Fair Trading Commission should investigate the high pricing of hotel suppliers. These costs are passed on to the visitor. They must also see what can be done to reduce taxes on fuel for inter island cargo ships, who are passing on shipping costs today to the hotels at a rate that is unbelievable.
4. Airlines/Hotels Need Low/High Season Special Promotions
The Ministry of Tourism with SHTA should work out a strategy to encourage airlines flying to Seychelles, to offer low season rates throughout the year and specials for the same period. During high season, airlines need to be systematically encouraged to offer additional flights. Until now, the Ministry of Tourism and the SHTA have been shooting from the hip on the issue. The end result is a lop sided air capacity state of affairs during low season and High season. During low season, we do not have enough seats. A careful tweek of this situation could result easily with 20% higher yield for the Nation.
5. What Happen To Moratorium on Change Of Use Applications
We all appreciate the need to allow Seychellois entry into Tourism Industry. This has happen with 400 houses been granted change of use. But many of these "change of use" are non-Seychellois, owners, many do not even reside in Seychelles. This needs to be curtailed immediately. Non Seychellois have no business running hotel rooms out of their houses. This practice must be stop. The Government policy was hotels with under 30 rooms be reserve for Seychellois. What happen? Additionally because we have a over supply of beds in the country, and these small operators cause money to go unbanked and they are underselling the market. It was resolved two years ago that a moratorium on Change of Use applications would be put in place. Yet, Planning Land Use, is still accepting change of use for Tourism development. In many instances in subdivisions. This is the single action that will cause the greatest damage to the Industry, to encourage unfettered participation, a free for all in a limited demand setting. Tourism Industry is a serious industry and the Government must treat it as such. If it does not, it is government that pays the biggest price, not the guests.
6. What happen to The Tourism Master Plan
I read a comment by the Chairman of SHTA Mr John Stravens about the need for a bed count and airline seat count. Indeed, Mr Stravens is 100% to raise this point again, as it is highlighted in the Tourism Master Plan proposals submitted by Miss Marquise David in 2009, when a call for moratorium was made until such time as some critical issues could be dealt with by government. 1. Lack of sufficient water, 2. Lack of sufficient electricity, 3. Lack of manpower, 4. Lack of direct flights or airline seats into Seychelles.
This year alone, we have lost over 24,000 airline seats inbound to Seychelles, from witnessing the departure of numerous airline that stop flying to Seychelles. Would it not make sense to everyone, in the Trade,that we see how we can increase flights inbound into Seychelles, before we run linen on another new bed in Seychelles?
|Mr John Stravens|
SHTA is not wasting time with this situation. The Chairman Mr John Stravens is now promoting South Korea as a new market. South Koreans have on average five days annual holiday per year. Taking a flight on Etihad from South Korea to Abu Dhabi will take one day en route and 1/2 to get to Seychelles. Same on the return. That will leave the average South Korean with three days to spend in Seychelles. They can island hop, Mahe, Praslin, Ladigue, one day each and rush back to catch the Etihad flight back to Abu Dhabi. Hence, a win-win scenario for both Seychelles and Abu Dhabi, in a twin destination holiday. Congratulations to SHTA and STB in this new approach to increasing our numbers. Sooner or later, the numbers will add up indeed. We will only have to add Vietnam Tourist market to the basket under our policy of diversification, but their average national for annual holidays is three days a year and average income is $200 per month.
8. Alain St Ange
Mr St Ange is really doing an excellent job with what he has. Can anyone really complain? Put politics aside, ignore the little details that he was once a executive member of SNP and the future leader of SNP, except Wavel Ramkalawan intended on staying on for life (Dictatorship in Opposition). Really, St Ange is doing fine at Culture, and Tourism, he is doing so well, we no longer need STB. All that can be run under the Ministry of Tourism umbrella, and we could save millions in wasted funds and SHTA shoulf support the winding down of STB and the increase in a marketing budget, if there is still one. We need every cent we can get for marketing now that our strategy is: "worldwide diversification of Seychelles Another World Product".
|Alain St Ange|
9. What St Ange needs to get the Tourism ship moving, is the portfolio of Ministry of Transportation which Joel Morgan handles. Mr Michel should just hand that portfolio to St Ange with one objective: "increase any flight direct or indirect, to Seychelles, to make Seychelles the hub of the Indian Ocean Mauritius is claiming". Sure Mauritius is ahead of us now that they ploughed $400 Million of PRC money into an airport and not housing, or fancy National Assembly, that spends money, does not earn anything. a Palais de Justice that could have been built by European Union funding. But we were ahead of Mauritius in 1970's in Tourism, and we can take the challenge. What we need is the political will of James Michel, make Joel Morgan Minister of Tourism. He has shown that he can handle the SLOVAKIAN market real well, and produced a direct flight to Europe in a matter of hours when he found this MAFIA Tourist, wanted him dead.
Congratulations are in order to Minister Joel Morgan.
Joel Morgan really John Wayne (d) that Bozo Fabrike out of Victoria. Good job, But it should have been done at the point of entry.
Now who got the money for the fake passport and citizenship?
I did not hear anyone in the propped press conference address this little detail.
Sesel pou Seselwa!
May God Bless All Freedom Loving Seychellois!
Written by Christopher Gill, Leader of Seychelles Freedom Party.