Thursday, 31 July 2014

Breaking News

Urgent Release!
The Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) has announced on SBC that
it is overhauling two main generators on Roche Ciaman electricity
production unit Mahe.
This will result in a reduction of 8 mega watts of electricity on 
Mahe Island each day, over a period of the next Seven weeks.
Consequently PUC will be load shedding throughout Mahe over 
the next Seven weeks.
While this is the Peak Period of Tourism PUC could careless.
DMC are advise to move visitors on to Praslin and La Digue 
over next Seven Weeks.
Tourism operators are advised to save money to provide refunds 
when electricity cuts into Peak Season and irate clients retaliate.
Finally, increase security as darkness sets.
PL is advised to find someone else to run PUC allow solar panels
at one hundred percent use consumption, and eventually sell PUC
to a private consortium.
End the Madness
This is a Seychelles Freedom Party Release
Big fire breaks out at dump site Providence next to Eden Island
The Public is advised to avoid the area take necessary precautions
if they must travel in area .
Remain aware of possibility of noxious odours that may affect your
health .
Travelers need not cancel their trip to Seychelles.
But they may consider spending more time on Praslin and La Digue,
transiting in Mahe only while  the fire persists.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Peak Season Replaced By Poof Season in Seychelles!

Two (2) months ago, when Minister Pierre Laporte was approached by the Seychelles Broadcasting  Corporation (SBC) on the issue of the ongoing economic downturn in March, April, May, June, he said that this is a seasonal issue and it is normal, no cause for alarm and we have to wait and see into November.
This answer of course, allows Minister Laporte off the hook, he can buy time, spend time looking after newly acquired boats, enjoy borrowed planes, and plan for his next BMW automobile if he likes. But for the People of Seychelles, the answer was not good enough.

Scratch Your Skin To The Bones
Players in the Tourism Industry are scratching their skin off their bones, looking for an answer to the economic quagmire Seychelles faces. These people trusted the SPPF in vain that the Government would be responsible in action when it comes to the Tourism Industry. They invested heavily, borrowed from banks, put their lives into their businesses. Their staff who are bar men, waiters, waitresses, housekeepers are career workers in their field. Few become managers and then move on to start their own business. These people rely on sound thoughtful analysis from government; they rely on government to act in the interest of the Tourism Industry. They count on Ministers to work overtime when failure lurks around the corner, not push the problems to next year. 
Seychelles is a wonderful country in many respects. It is also a micro state. Big problems can be solved fast if leaders focus. But they must focus on the problems not their personal opportunities in the mist of the problems. PL it is time to abandon the Patty Lablache way of solving problems for Seychelles. Do what is right for our country, not your pockets.

NISD Alarm Bell-Ring! Ring! Ring!
The National Bureau of Statistics last month put out a alarm bell that the country seems to have overlooked. The Statistic Bureau conducted a survey to assess national productivity to help the IMF understand why Seychelles does not produce 8% GDP.  IMF has been lost, dumb founded over the lack of productivity in Seychelles.

A Non-Productive Paradise!
The Report revealed that the country is productive above 0% only Two (2) months out of the year. The production levels per month of -3%,-2%,-1%, 0%,1% , 2% should be cause to a NATIONAL ALARM BELL and a Government should be burning the MIDNIGHT oil with private sector to address these cronic  problems that now appear to be crippling the Seychelles economy permanently.

The Gill Golden Rule of Productivity
Rule: Anything that inhibits productivity should be stamped out immediately.  In the case of the downturn naturally the Cabinet was hanging on to Mr. Laportes’ words of “wisdom” : he said -“ wait till the next quarter” …to know what we did wrong all year.
These famous words of Mr. Laporte exposed his lack of knowledge of what was happening in the Tourism Industry the engine of economic growth for Seychelles. It is noteworthy to say that even the IMF was counting on the Tourism Industry to produce 12% increases per year in Arrivals and 8% financial growth per year. Not 12% growth in Arrivals and 0% growth in revenue.
A chain of potential revenue PL, is only as strong as its weakest link. Think about that for some time and let me know what you thought of.
Nouvo Sesel!

Grand Opening Savoy Five Star-Beau Vallon  
At about the same time Mr. Laporte was waiting until the end of the year to know what happen all year, the credibility and ability of the Seychelles in raising  FDI was about to be exposed by the GRAND OPENING of Savoy Hotel Five (5) Hotel, with 166 rooms in the front of one of our best beaches in Seychelles and the World.
The opening of SAVOY at Scr. 2,800 per night two people with bed and breakfast, and is still running horrendously low occupancy rates like one of Richard Branson ‘s plane to the moon.
The Savoy is selling for the same rates as Seychellois self catering units. Ho ho ho! PL FDI program has turned into a total failure.
Now what? Build 10,000 more rooms PL?
Well, the investors of SAVOY have said this place is the worse investment they could ever dream of. They have been fooled by local investors love for their country and misunderstood where they were investing.
From the backed up toilets to the lack of staff and lack of fruits and vegetables, not to mention the occasional but regular attack of Tourists violently here and there, without an effective Police Force. Even the Commissioner has gone into retirement, but he is still holding on to his chair and desk at Central Police even though he no longer wears his uniform.

Fix The Problems That Plague Tourism Industry PL, Fix it Fast!
PL you may not like what I have to say, but you need to hear it. Pierre, Kalawan, Ernesta, Georges, and all these good fellows will not tell you this. What you need to do is work overtime, day and night, to fix the problems plaguing the Seychelles Tourism Industry.
Remember this: the New Season starts in November, so get your act together fast. Do not wait till next year. You will drag Seychelles into 2016 under the banner of failure.

Just because SNP is wearing Mancham’s hat and shoes do not believe that you are doing well and do not believe you are in a safe seat: your people are dumping you everyday and they are joining SESEL POU SESELWA-SFP everyday.

Back To Minister of Finance
As for Pierre Laporte’s thought of the moment: Wait till end of the year……..well Mr. Laporte (door in English), the year is over already based on NISD reports. By end of August national productivity will be back at -3% and that is why you will run out of money to run the government and that is why you will need another Supplementary Budget. God knows your ministries and departments are already asking for more money.
You better go dig the road in Bel ombre in front of the La Buse site, the treasure (The Golden Cross of Goa worth 3 Billion Pounds we need it) is underneath the road.

Seselwa Unite!
Sesel Pou Seselwa!
May God Bless All Freedom Loving Seychellois!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Why would Bank of Ceylon want to open branches in Seychelles & Solomon Islands?

Why would Bank of Ceylon want to open branches in Seychelles & Solomon Islands? Why does Mihin Air fly to Seychelles?
Despite their stated Vision of “Bankers to the nation” and the Mission - “Extending banking service to larger society as a beneficial beacon in the country” it’s not so difficult to understand which ‘nation’ or the ‘section’ of the Sri Lankan society Bank of Ceylon is trying to serve with their recent opening of a branch in Seychelles.
With a population of 90,024 and rated as the highest income inequality country in the world, Seychelles has less than 100 Sri Lankans living there. Seychelles is also considered as the money laundering base in Africa and a haven for dirty money! There have been several investigations on reported money laundering cases in Seychelles including by the former Ukrainian President. Anyone can verify these facts with a bit of internet research.
Bank of Ceylon is also looking at opening a branch in Solomon Islands, which has a population of 549,598 and may not have a single Sri Lankan among them. The World Bank says Solomon Islands, one of the poorest countries in the Pacific, had a GDP per capita of US$ 2,068 in 2013, compared to US$ 9,736 of Sri Lanka. It’s no mean a country to engage in any profitable banking business. However with its well established offshore financial services / tax-heaven banking systems, Solomon Islands is a popular destination for many Sri Lankan politicians!
Ask yourselves why Bank of Ceylon is opening branches in countries that have none or paltry Sri Lankan population? Wouldn’t it serve a better good if branches are opened in countries from where the bulk of Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange US$ 7 Billion per year is earned, especially in the Middle-East? It would be most appropriate now for Bank of Ceylon to add “Assisting predatory politicians to conceal their masses of illegally gotten money” to its Mission statement.
Why does Mihin Air Fly to Seychelles? The next would be that they will fly to Solomon Islands as well. Central Bank / other banks regularly repatriate foreign currency notes in bulk through air(lines) as a part of their normal business. It doesn’t have to be legitimate but with absolute power and control, so can they!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Jean Paul Adam Admits Dirty Money Through The Back Door

Call renewed to investigate money laundering via Seychelles 
July 17, 2014 2:00 am
By Mario Andree

Ceylon FT: An opposition lawmaker charged that the government and Central Bank were silent over allegations that influential Sri Lankans could be using Seychelles as a transit point to launder money into Swiss bank accounts. Earlier, Seychelles Foreign Ministry refuted such allegations, but did not discount under-the-table deals.

UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva, a trained economist, said yesterday (16) that he had called on the government and Central Bank to look into the matter. "There is information that money is being laundered and authorities need to look into this very seriously," he said.

Dr. de Silva highlighting the decline of Sri Lankan deposits in Swiss banks to 83 million Swiss Francs from 87 million Swiss Francs previously also comes with the sudden increase of deposits from Seychelles to three billion Swiss Francs from 1.7 billion Swiss Francs.

According to a recent report in Seychelles, the country's foreign minister Jean-Paul Adam said, "We have all the mechanisms in place, meaning if there are any suspicious transactions we have the mechanism as well as cooperation with other countries, to investigate. We have the financial intelligence unit (FIU) that has intervened in several cases where money has been transferred here illegally and seized the money and in some cases repatriated the money to foreign governments and companies that were making accusations against the companies."

However, Adam also admitted that backdoor operations were taking place. "It does not mean, I want to be clear, that there aren't people who are misusing the structures in place, there are always those who try to find ways to go through the back door instead of going through the legal channel, but more and more we can see that with the structures we have in place the chances of them being successful is minimal."

Dr. De Silva questioned the reasons behind Sri Lankan State Banks opening branches in Seychelles (90,000 population) and scheduling regular flights by state budget carrier Mihin Lanka. 

Jean Paul Adam, Here Is The Evidence That Validates The Truth!

Dr Harsha de Silva, MP is a Sri Lankan economist and politician. A current member of Parliament of Sri Lanka, he has gained lime light as a media personality hosting several talk shows relating to development and international matters. In the recent years he voiced his opposition to the economic policies of the current government.[1]
Educated at the prestigious Royal College Colombo, he gained his BS in Business Management from Truman State University in 1988 and went on to complete his MA and PhD in Economics at the University of Missouri in 1993. He has also participated for an executive program on evaluating social programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006 as an Eisenhower Fellow.[2]
As an economist he worked for the DFCC Bank, going on to become its chief economist and treasurer. Thereafter he was the co-founder and Joint Managing Director of The Nielsen Company.
Dr Harsha De Silva's Press Conference in Colombo

Proof of money laundering via Seychelles

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Soap Opera of Ex - Rene Thug - Do not mess with us!

Pascal Chetty James Michel should be ashamed of himself. Michel needs to apologize for the coup.

  • Remove
    Hansel Laljee Robert, I have known you for a long time, when you were still at Seychelles College, we used to play basketball and volleyball at the gymnasium .
    All this time we were friend and remained friend after you joined the armed forces.
    I feel the pain that you have to apologise publicly for your role in the armed forces.
    You are a decent person.
  • Remove
    Jean-Marc B Lablache Good on you Mr Ernesta.
  • Remove
    Judy Chang-Him ''The healing of my people come first and foremost'' isn't that powerful! This means a lot for all the victims n their families. I truly admire your courage to come forward, you are a beautiful soul. Thank you Mr Ernesta. God will help you through.
  • Remove
    Kathleen Pillay Well done Robert. You will have the respect of many for this gesture. Let's see whether others can walk the talk for a true healing of our people allowing everyone to "move on".
  • Remove
    Charles Zialor Good one so we all have to follow the path that robert had taken thats is the true reconsilt god bless u my friend
  • Remove
    Serge Rouillon Sorry guys but the reality of our country is we are ruled by the ignorant materialistic mentality who believe more in covering up the dirt of the past under the carpet and now asking us to help them to show the outside world a happy face- repentance and humility is not on the agenda for these people. Instead they look for symbolic smokescreens in fake monuments gestures and speeches.

    Jean-Marc B Lablache I agree with u Nikol Roz. Nu bezwen a sak moman kestyonn konportman lentansyon motiv politisyen. Unfortunately they get away literally with murder. Non mon pa viktim vi ki in dir piblikman I pare pu cooperate si mon ti en viktim mon ti pu met li dan en sityasyon kot I ti pu walk the talk.
  • David Pouponneau Mr. Ernesta i believe was a powerful personnel within the inner circle of the SPDF.He must surely recall the short lived army rebellion during the early 80's and its aftermaths.
  • Jafar Tall I read the article with interest but cannot actually see what he is apologising for? Being paid by the Seychelles Govt? What acts did he do? I cannot just forgive and forget....say it all, say it loud and be truthful. This is, in my humble opionion, just a ploy to gain favour on his own ambitions....did he have a hand in the abuduction of my Father and counteless others? Did he torture, mame and kill? A brief newspaper apology is court is where this needs to take place? How does he recompense for the 35+ years of hurt? Can I bury my father? this stage NO.

    If you have the balls to whisper to the newspaper to further your own political interest, say it out loud, you need no court to have your airing. You are a liar and a coward. If you had a hand in the abduction of my father you will never ever be forgiven, enjoy your special place in the hereafter. I suggest you go confess to a priest but absolution from me is very unlikely. Your hands are likely stained with blood, I hope it resonates and shines brightly in your darkest of hours. We are all given free will - what we choose to do is up to us, no one forced you to do the acts you allege you did but not actually saying it. Think hard before you open your mouth again.

    If you are so brave now - why wait? There will never be reconciliation because the Government will not let it. So...what next? Suggest grow a pair or crawl back and receive your stipend from your paymasters.
    11 hrs · Unlike · 4
  • Hatim Tall Well said dear brother. Why dont you bring down the house of cards? We wait with baited breath. Somehow i think you will try to find some solace by say something buy like any politician you know they are lying their lips are moving. Grow a pair and stand up blow the lid name names and lets see what will happen. Please excuse me if I don't hold my breath waiting.

    The supporters of Ernesta are mainly his family and Boulle camp who he works for.
    Seems SNP is bashing him to now finish him off.
    Ernesta holds a lot of information.
    If he wants forgivness, it should not be so fast.
    He needs to come clean with all information.
    He must offer himself to Justice for his crimes done under the color of law and state authoritarianism.
    Christopher Gill,
    Leader of Seychelles Freedom Party.
  • Monday, 14 July 2014

    We're on our way - Nwa pe vini

    Monday, 14 July 2014 - 17:00 | Download hirunews 
    Sri Lanka Foreign Bureau states that they have completed necessary measures to send Sri Lankan professionals to Seychelles.

    According to a statement released by the Foreign Bureau, several jobs including Accountants, Management positions in administrative fields as well as experienced English teachers are available in Seychelles.

    A preliminary meeting was held today between Seychelles ambassador and Chairman of Foreign Bureau regarding the matter.

    Senadhilankara said that Lankan workers will secure a large number of employment opportunities in Seychelles. He said that many employment opportunities are available in the tourism sector in that country.
    This was revealed during the discussions held between the Chairman and the Seychelles Ambassador Waweil Williams at the SLBFE. Mr Senadhilankara said that the Sri Lankan skilled workers could obtain employment in tourism and hospitality industry.

    The Ambassador acknowledged that there is a employment potential in the growing construction industry in Seychelles too and Sri Lankans could avail those opportunities. Other areas of interest mentioned during the discussions include accountancy, administration and management.

    Chairman said that the possibility of sending English teachers and educationists also would be explored. Ambassador said Seychelles wanted skilled workers from Sri Lanka and any employee should be trained before sending for employment.

    A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Governments of Sri Lanka and Seychelles, was signed at Temple Trees in the presence of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and President of Seychelles James Alix Michel during the latter's visit to Sri Lanka. Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera signed the MoU on behalf of Sri Lanka, while Seychelles Foreign Minister Jean Paul Adam represented his country.

    According to the MoU, Sri Lankan workers, in future, would find jobs in the fields of tourism, travel, education, business and marketing in Seychelles. Job seekers could forward their applications on a date announced by the SLBFE through approved official employment agents.

    The Ambassador invited Mr Senadhilankara to pay a visit to Seychelles.

    Sunday, 13 July 2014

    Breaking News

    It is reported that State House is keeping some Madagascar ants in its
    garden.These ants are big very large, and collect in colonies of a few
    thousand at a time.They are known to burrow into tree logs and eat
    other bugs. They are also red and are known to eat trees and even rubbish.
    It is reported that these ants are most prolific at the State House 
    News Agency.The Brain of these ants according to scientist is very small. 
    Because of this they pose a particular danger to the health welfare and
    general well being of the country.

    Saturday, 12 July 2014

    Money Laundering - Sri Lankans Using Seychelles as Residential Address Have Opened Swiss Bank Accounts Alleges UNP Parliamentarian Dr.Harsha de Silva.

    Dharisha Bastians
    Sri Lankan deposits in Swiss bank accounts are now being listed under residential addresses in offshore havens like Seychelles, as Switzerland tightens financial regulations in line with European banking standards, United National Party Parliamentarian and Economist Dr. Harsha De Silva revealed yesterday.
    According to the UNP Legislator, the most recent report from the Swiss Central Bank reveals that deposits by Sri Lankan citizens amounted to 83 million Swiss Francs in 2013, down from 87 million in 2010. De Silva said that in 2013, 65 million Swiss francs were in the form of indirect deposits.

    “After the names of some individuals with Swiss bank accounts were revealed a few years ago by an international journalists’ group, Sri Lankans are now afraid of having their names exposed again. So many of these deposits now have addresses based in the Seychelles,” De Silva charged.
    Seychelles, a country with a population of less than 100,000 people was gaining notoriety in the world as a major offshore haven and sanctuary for large scale money launderers, the opposition Legislator told a press briefing at Sirikotha yesterday.
    Deposits from Seychelles in Swiss bank accounts have increased exponentially from 1.7 billion Swiss francs in 2010 to over 3 billion Swiss francs in 2013.
    The Sri Lankan Government has been strengthening ties with the South East African island nation, with President Mahinda Rajapaksa undertaking a State visit there last month and the country’s largest State bank opening a branch on the island. Sri Lanka’s national carrier SriLankan Airlines also commenced direct flights to Seychelles late last year.
    “Isn’t it strange that the Bank of Ceylon recently opened a branch in Seychelles, where only 90,000 people live, where there are barely any Sri Lankans to serve? Wouldn’t a branch have been more useful in a Middle Eastern country where thousands of Sri Lankans live and work?” he remarked.
    De Silva said that a recent investigative report in the Economist magazine had revealed Seychelles links with powerful criminal mafias in other parts of the world and companies within companies within companies. “The country that has less than 100,000 people have 140,000 foreign companies. It’s virtually impossible to tell who owns the corporate entities,” the UNP MP explained.
    The UNP Legislator explained that the Seychelles Government had recently granted what has been described as the greatest gift to money launderers, by promising refuge to any criminal elements provided they could deposit $ 10 million in a bank on the island.
    “Among those who have availed themselves of the opportunity is Tunisian dictator Ben Ali’s son,” De Silva charged. He said that countries like Belarus and Belize were also invested in Seychelles.
    It was ironic, the UNP MP said that when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was demanding a list of Indian citizens who hold secret accounts in Switzerland, that the Sri Lankan Central Bank is flatly refusing to investigate the list of Sri Lankans already in the public domain.

    Matara-Beliatta rail track most pricey in the world: Harsha

    The proposed 27 kilometre railway track connecting Matara to Beliatta in the Hambantota District to be built using a Chinese loan facility will be one of the most expensive in the world at $ 14.7 million per kilometre, the main opposition UNP charged yesterday.
    Quoting an estimation made by former State Engineering Corporation General Manager Tudor Wijenayake, UNP MP Harsha De Silva said that the Government cost estimate for the 27km railway track included bridges that had already been built.
    “Two of those kilometres were already constructed during President Ranasinghe Premadasa’s administration. So in truth there is only 25 kilometres of track to build,” the UNP Lawmaker charged.
    Citing an Iowa University report on cost estimation for railway construction in the US, De Silva said that even in the most mountainous regions, the cost per kilometre of track was $ 5.3 million.
    “Are there mountains in Beliatta? Are there rocks and tunnels to cut through in the area?” De Silva charged.
    The UNP MP said it was ironic that a railway track that was going to be one of the most expensive in the world is cutting through one of the country’s poorest areas, where farmers were struggling for water to cultivate their farms.

    Friday, 11 July 2014

    Dirty Money - Sri Lankan Funds Placed In Swiss Banks Via Seychelles

    Friday, 11 July 2014 17:27
    The United National Party (UNP) said today there was a trend where black money including money swindled from development projects was deposited in Swiss banks through Seychelles because Switzerland was tightening its laws.

    It said that though all funds deposited in Swiss banks were not ill-gotten lucre a large amount of such funds were deposited concealing the true identity.  

    UNP parliamentarian and well-known economist Harsha De Silva said the amount of funds deposited in Swiss banks under Sri Lankan addresses had decreased in recent years because of strict laws adopted by Switzerland while deposits through Seychelles had drastically increased.

    “The population in Seychelles is slightly more than 90,000 but the deposits under the addresses of that country are worth about 3,000 million Swiss Francs last year, which is higher than the accumulated deposits under Sri Lankan addresses,” he said.

    Dr. De Silva said most of the addresses in Seychelles are of companies which are registered within another company. (Lahiru Pothmulla and Yoshitha Perera) 

    Wednesday, 9 July 2014

    "If Air Seychelles Returned to Paris...It Should Not Have Left !"

    • Air Seychelles started twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Thursdays) flights from Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Paris CDG (CDG) on 2 July. Operated by the airline’s 254-seat A330s, the service originates in the Seychelles at Mahé (SEZ). Competition on the Abu Dhabi leg comes from Etihad Airways (twice-daily), however it should be remembered that in January 2012 Air Seychelles entered into a strategic partnership agreement with the national airline of the UAE, with Etihad acquiring a 40% stake in Air Seychelles and a five-year management contract. Joel Morgan, Air Seychelles Chairman said during a Paris press conference: “We are delighted to be back in France. Air Seychelles passengers can now choose to travel smoothly through Abu Dhabi while keeping the same plane and the same seat or a stopover in Abu Dhabi. Air Seychelles offers 18 connections between Paris and Mahé per week.” The additional connections are offered through a codeshare with Etihad Airways. The first inbound flight apparently had a load factor of around 60%. 


    Bahrain telecom operator wins multi-million-dollar claim against Indian firm

    Monday, 7 July 2014

    Ste Ange, The Stifling Bureaucrat

    Published on : Monday, July 7, 2014
    Ahead of Seychelles Tourism Board mid-year marketing meeting, due to be held on 16th July, Seychelles Tourism Board has the visitor arrivals statistics under the microscope. A comprehensive picture of Seychelles visitor arrivals and their impact on the economy can only be relevant if based on factual and up-to-date information. The Seychelles Tourism Board has waited for the release of Seychelles tourism arrival figures for the week ending 29th June 2014, in order to evaluate the trend and draw a realistic picture of the state of Seychelles’ tourism industry.

    The Seychelles Tourism Board has acknowledged that tourism arrivals from beginning of the year to date is but one percent below that of the same period in 2013. This represents a reduction of less than 2000 tourists: 110,494 as compared to 111,814 the previous year.

    The month of June 2014, claimed the Seychelles Tourism Board, was a relatively hard month showing a decrease of 6% on its European market; 5 % in Africa and 7 % in the United Arab Emirates compared to the same period in 2013. The drop in visitor arrivals from Seychelles Tourism Board’s core markets for two consecutive years is no surprise to the Tourism Board, due to a lack of direct flights to Seychelles from those destinations which has impacted negatively on the attractiveness of Seychelles as a vacation choice.

    The Seychelles Tourism Board has taken note of these shortfalls and remains conscious of the challenges connected with re-positioning Seychelles in its core markets. With the announcement of Air Seychelles’ inaugural flight to Paris and with the promise of seats allocated to Seychelles, the Seychelles Tourism Board has forecast a positive trend in tourism arrivals from the European market for the coming three months.

    The Seychelles Tourism Board believes the positive growth can only be achieved if foreign tour operators selling Seychelles as a tourism destination are allocated seats for Seychelles on this code share agreement flight between Air Seychelles and Etihad. Despite the decrease of France (-13%), United Kingdom & Eire (-5%), Italy (-10%) and Russia (-1%), Germany on the other hand has recorded an increase of 2%. This market is doing well because it still has a direct flight to Seychelles with the weekly Condor flight, and also because of Seychelles Tourism Office’s aggressive marketing, especially in the city of Hamburg. Hamburg, one of the most affluent cities in Europe, is a good indicator for Seychelles in terms of its spending power, contributing immensely to beefing up the figure of the country’s tourism earnings, now reaching more than 8 million dollars.
    The impact of Qatar’s strategic decision to pull out of the Seychelles route is, today, felt more than ever within the United Arab Emirates which have registered a decrease of 7% in market share.

    The Seychelles Tourism Board is also faced with the additional challenge of maintaining positive growth in its tourism arrivals from Asia (increased by 21%), China 117 %, America 16% and Oceania 15%. China, one of Seychelles vibrant, new markets is also beginning to influence the country’s tourism earnings. Sherin Naiken, Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board sent a positive message of the healthy state of the country’s tourism industry.

    “We are happy to see an increase in the country’s spending trend for the first half of the year despite a minus one in the visitor arrivals. One of our strategies is to target specific markets which we believe have a high market share of spending power for the country. It is true we’ve gone through bad times, because of a lack of direct flights, Qatar Airways and Air Austral pulling its direct flights and Emirates halving the number of its flights to Seychelles. It’s a positive sign we’re still down to minus one, as it sends out a strong message that despite challenges we’ve been able to drive our marketing strategies.’’

    Seychelles Tourism Board is also cautious regarding its assessment of its secondary markets, indicating that Reunion market which for the past years has not recorded a positive growth (-67%) could eventually take a turn for the better. The reopening of the Reunion-Seychelles route with the commencement of Air Austral’s direct commercial flights on 23rd of June is sure to send out a strong message that the number of visitors from the Indian Ocean Island to Seychelles will gradually pick up.

    Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture said “despite much effort to drive one of Seychelles main pillars of the economy to the front line, the country must be aware more than ever before, that with the advancement in technology, Seychelles is very visible on social media”. Minister St.Ange said using social media to publish any bad news about Seychelles to the world is jeopardizing efforts to build a globally positive image of the country.
    Minister St.Ange said that as a country we should learn to discuss our problems in appropriate forums instead of publicizing them openly on the web.

    Born Free, Tax to Death By James Michel

    Friday, 4 July 2014

    Seychelles: An Invitation for China

    Jody Ray Bennett
     ISN Insights

    The Republic of Seychelles has issued China with an open invitation to establish an anti-piracy base in the small island republic. If accepted, this invitation will have security and strategic consequences for the region.
    On December 3rd 2011, as part of a ‘goodwill’ trip to the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles, Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie met with Seychelles President James Michel and announced a boost in military cooperation between the two states. It was the first time a Chinese defense minister had visited the islands in the nations’ 36 years of ‘uninterrupted partnership’.
    During the trip, Michel announced that the island republic would officially invite China to establish a military base there to help with its ramping up of efforts to combat piracy. The Republic of Seychelles spans an archipelago of over 100 islands approximately 1,500 kilometers off the eastern coast of Africa, just north of the island nation of Madagascar. Despite efforts by the international community and the constant patrolling of warships, this region is still heavily affected by organized (and unorganized) piracy by non-state actors.
    Foreign Affairs Minister of Seychelles, Jean-Paul Adam, stated, “Together, we need to increase our surveillance capacity in the Indian Ocean [...] as Seychelles has a strategic position between Asia and Africa.” According to one report by Agence France-Presse, Seychelles and China signed on to a military cooperation agreement in 2004 which “has enabled some 50 Seychelles soldiers to be trained in China.” Adam reminded the media that China has already given two light aircraft to the Republic, with the visit by Liang signaling a renewed agreement with China for increased financial support, military equipment and further military training. Chinese media reiterated Seychelles’ adherence to the One-China policy.
    But while this cooperative agreement may seem rather insignificant, military analysts in Washington have cited this agreement as a “warning” that demonstrates China’s ambitions in the Indian Ocean.
    “China certainly has an interest in combating piracy in the Indian Ocean. They have requested that regional countries grant them naval base facilities – as happened in Kenya. They currently have warships patrolling the pirate corridor, and no official place for them to rest. Trade is a huge part of their economy; protecting trade is clearly a matter of national security for China,” Deborah Brautigam, professor at the American University’s School of International Service, told ISN Insights.
    A String of Pearls?
    China’s recent launch of an aircraft carrier is fueling these anxieties in Washington. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, “An often-quoted classified report by US government consultant Booz Allen Hamilton in 2004, which was later partially leaked to the media, said China was trying to acquire a ‘string of pearls’ of naval bases that would eventually encircle India. That hasn’t happened so far, and China has made a concerted effort to dampen speculation about its ambitions.”
    One analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington explained to the Los Angeles Times that “[China is] going out of their way to say that [this] is not a base, the same way that the United States doesn’t want to use the word in connection with Darwin, Australia.”
    The move has some American analysts concerned, specifically because Seychelles already houses a small American drone base used to patrol pirate activity and conduct US surveillance missions over Somalia. India is also likely to be concerned by this development.
    “If [China] sets up a base in the Seychelles this would be a huge step, but an inevitable one. They aren’t going to depend forever for their security on our Western defense umbrella,” Brautigam explained.
    “The exact nature of the base is important. If the Seychelles is offering up a massive base, with shipyard support, fuel depots and airfield, that could have a huge strategic meaning in the Indian Ocean and East Africa region. On the other hand, if the offer is simply one of allowing a few days of rest and recreation for Chinese crews along with ordinary refueling and replenishment, that has much less strategic importance. A small ‘anti-piracy’ base may mean that the Chinese counter-piracy force has a convenient rest area to break up long deployments and a staging area for combating piracy near the Seychelles,” retired Navy Reserve Captain Mark Tempest told ISN Insights.
    Like all major economic actors throughout history, China has a rightful concern about security along trade lines – especially when it comes to those routes where access is only possible by sea. Because piracy off the coast of Somalia has proven to be relatively resilient and resistant to the increased patrolling efforts of Western countries, a Chinese ‘anti-piracy’ base is a probable indication of its willingness and capability to protect its growing economic interests on the African continent.
    “It is [also] in Seychelles’ best interests to encourage as many naval powers as it can to participate in counter-piracy operations because Seychelles cannot afford the types and numbers of ships that are needed to fight piracy on the high seas (or even in Seychellois national waters). It is essentially offering up bases in exchange for protection,” Tempest explained.
    For the short term, this development enhances China’s rising role in Africa, which is perhaps indicative of its larger grand strategy. For the long term, the more relationships the Chinese establish and maintain around the globe, the less effort in accessing key strategic military bases if and when the US’ status as sole superpower diminishes or is lost. Until then, the island nation of Seychelles is welcoming China with open arms – and the waters off the eastern coast of Africa are set to gain yet another naval actor.

    Wednesday, 2 July 2014

    St. Ange whirlwind Tour of Praslin Hotels Near Completion

    Jun 30, 2014
    Seychelles vision, that its people should claim back its tourism industry, is well set in the business attitudes of its nation. More than ever, Seychellois are taking ownership of their country’s tourism industry and are giving an increased commercial value to the island's hospitality industry.
    Praslin, the second biggest island of the Seychelles with a range of 117 small and large hotels, is a perfect example where 90% of the properties are owned by Seychellois, who not only know their island inside out, but are today providing personalize service with a special touch of the Seychellois warmth. In his continued drive to visit all 117 small and large hotels on Praslin, Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture; Anne Lafortune, Principal Secretary for Tourism; Sherin Naiken, the Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board; and Nathalie Didon, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board headed to Praslin on Thursday June 12 for a third visit on the island to visit another 20 hotels.
    With 72 hotels visited so far and 45 remaining, this has kept Minister St.Ange and his delegation much closer to the undertaking of completing its door-to-door visits on Praslin by the month of July. Getting closer to Baie Ste. Anne, Praslin’s downtown, it was evident that guest houses and self-catering properties are owned in this area of Praslin by islanders who believe that they are today the machine of the island’s economy.
    The great bonus for holidaymakers booking a room in these properties is its proximity to the island’s jetty. Within walking distance from the jetty and close to commercial areas, these guesthouses and small hotels are ideal for international and domestic travelers visiting Praslin. Guesthouses and hotels located in Praslin’s center not only develop the sense of business hospitality but venture into craft and textile as well.
    The hospitality and tourism industry on Praslin has come to the realization that business can only grow on the Island if holidaymakers have places to go to cash in on locally-made products. Having a small souvenir shop with products made in Seychelles, or venturing into an open-air museum contributes to adding value to their properties.
    Guest houses and small hotels in the Baie Ste. Anne downtown area provide a conducive level of comfort, design, and personality at all-inclusive prices. They are the gateway to the island of La Digue they all say. With the Southeast Monsoon and strong winds at this time of the year, beach goers are inconvenienced by some seaweed. Owners of tourism establishments explained to Minister St.Ange and his delegation that they have to be innovative in their approach, so that beaches remain clean at all times. In general on Praslin, the small establishments are receiving positive guest feedback.
    Jenny’s Self Catering at Grand Anse, Villa Calice at La Pointe, Coco de Mer - Black Parrot Hotel at Anse Bois de Rose, Le Grand Bleu, Pointe Cabris, Chalet Cote Mer and Colibri at Baie Ste. Anne, Cavern Self Catering Apartments at Baie Ste. Anne, Le Port Guest House at Baie Ste. Anne, Maison Belle at Baie Ste. Anne, and Chez Roro at Baie Ste. Anne all have a feeling of belonging to the Praslin tourism industry and have expressed their desire to grow their businesses.
    On the second day of the visit, Friday, June 13, which started with an early morning tour of properties located at Anse Gouvernement, it was interesting to observe that hotels in this region of Praslin, as they are steadily growing their businesses and continue to strive in their efforts to win a bigger share of the island's tourism market. Innovative ideas are surfacing in these establishments to retain their positions up front in the market especially in the Cote d’Or region, the prime beach destination of Praslin, with a high number of small properties and restaurants. As some restaurants saw a chance to diversify into new activities such as guesthouses, there’s growing concern of emerging “illegal restaurants” on the beach. Such activity is seen as detrimental to legal restaurants positioning in this area. Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, condemned this practice saying it should be curbed because it tarnishes the Seychelles image. Talking with owners and managers of L’Archipel, Villa Milles Etoiles, Sky Blue Guest House, Omusee Self Catering, Les Villas D’Or, Cote d’Or Lodge, Cote d’Or Footprints, Coconut Residence, Cote d’or Self Catering Apartment, Pirogue Lodge and Iles des Palmes, and National Heritage Treasure Trail, the same message was echoed that Seychelles should claim back its tourism industry.
    Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) .
    Source: Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture
     Note: No minister of tourism has ever visited all hotels in Industry . We thank Mr. St. Ange for his effort and example set for other ministers. As the saying goes, lead,follow, or get out of the way. So far, St. Ange is leading all PL ministers.
    Christopher Gill.
    Leader of Seychelles Freedom Party.