In keeping up with the practice adopted by his predecessors, the new Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Didier Dogley, has undertaken his first hotel visit.
Minister Dogley was accompanied by the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, on the visit to eight small establishments of less than 10 rooms in South Mahé.
The visit started at Pied dans L’eau self-catering in the Anse Royale district, where he also stopped at the Coco Blanche self-catering and Le Nautique Luxury Beachfront Apartments.
The ministerial delegation also visited Surfers self-catering at Anse Parnel; Bougainvillea and Chalet Bougainville at Bougainville, as well as Moulin Kann Villas and Captain’s Villa at Anse Forbans.
This allowed the minister to get acquainted with the hoteliers, gaining a better understanding of the dynamics of the industry, and it was the perfect opportunity for all parties to highlight their aspirations for the tourism industry.
“The main objective of the visit was to establish contacts with the stakeholders especially the small hotels, self-catering establishments and guest houses. I believe it is important for me to understand the situation on the ground, to understand what they are doing well, and the challenges they face,” said Minister Dogley.
The hoteliers were very forthcoming as they briefed the minister on their achievements and challenges. The owners of the eight establishments noted that they have a high rate of occupancy throughout the year, ranging from 65 to 98 percent. This, they said, is clear indication that Seychelles remains a much appreciated destination.
They all explained that having a presence on several online booking platforms, such as Booking.com, Expedia, TripAdvisor and Seyvillas, has allowed them to have an online presence and remain accessible to their clients.
The hoteliers highlighted some common concerns including the increased presence of drug users in the Anse Royale district and associated petty crimes, challenges in employing local staff, public bins causing bad smell and spill over during the weekend and finally the handling of stray dogs. Few hoteliers also reported the issues of few to non-existent street lights and the lack of pavement.
The hoteliers also made some recommendations for the minister’s consideration including the need to have public toilets, and to have a few more businesses and attractions in the Anse Royale district for the benefit of visitors.
Minister Dogley has said that he will be undertaking more visits to hotels, not only on Mahé, but also on Praslin and La Digue, as part of his ongoing meetings with stakeholders in the tourism industry.