The Tourism Department has launched its official website allowing the general public and trade partners to have easier access to information on the department’s role, as well as the different services it offers.
The Tourism Department falls within the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine. It’s new website —www.tourism.gov.sc – provides details of the different sections within the department, statistics, products maintained by the tourism department, news, among other information.
The new website was officially unveiled at the Ministry’s Headquarters at Botanical House, Mont-Fleuri, on Friday September 29, as part of activities to mark this year’s Tourism Week.
This was in the presence of the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Principal Secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Francis, Principal of the Seychelles Tourism Academy, Flavien Joubert as well as staff of the Tourism Department.
The Tourism Department’s IT Manager, Paul Gertrude said: “The aim having the new website is to ensure that our stakeholders are well informed about the department’s role, promote engagement between the department and their publics, as well as ensure accessibility to their services and products.”
It has taken the department about two years to design and develop the new website with the help of Cyberwave Computing 2000, whose director, Mario Rotolo, was also present at Friday’s launching ceremony.
The event also provided the perfect opportunity for the Tourism Department to recognise tourism establishments that have adopted sustainable practices, deserving of the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL) certificate.
Coral Strand Hotel has become the newest member of the SSTL family and it was the General Manager of the hotel, Sujith Surendran who accepted the certificate on behalf of the hotel.
Applicable to hotels of all sizes, the SSTL is a voluntary sustainable tourism management and certification programme, designed to encourage more efficient and sustainable ways of doing business. It works on a point-based system and all hotels have to satisfy 24 “must” criteria, and depending on their size, the hotels have to score additional points in each of eight theme areas — Management, Waste, Water, Energy, Staff, Conservation, Community and Guests.
Scoring an additional six points in any area, is the third criteria that has to be fulfilled to obtain certification. The criteria are specifically designed to ensure that minimum standards are met by each establishment.
Three other hotels — Heliconia Grove, Banyan Tree Seychelles and Kempinski Seychelles Resort — were also presented with SSTL certificates after they were re-certified. So far, a total of 15 hotels hold the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label certificate.
Speaking at Friday’s ceremony, Minister Loustau-Lalanne said: “I am indeed very happy that the SSTL is a programme, which is getting more recognition and it is very encouraging to see more hotels getting certified and others who are getting their label renewed, congratulations to you all.”
The launching of the website and presentation of SSTL certificates were the last activities coordinated by the Tourism Department for Tourism Week, although the Seychelles Tourism Board had other activities planned.
PS Lafortune noted that the department will be keeping some of the activities featured this year on the calendar for the next tourism week in 2018, while new initiatives will be brought on board to create more awareness of the tourism industry.
“I think it [Tourism Week] brings awareness to the public. This year we spoke about sustainable tourism and I think it was important for us to explain what it means and how we can go about to ensure the tourism industry, which is the pillar of our economy, continues to be there for us today and also for the generation to come,” Mrs Lafortune added.