The Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Didier Dogley, visited 8 hotels on Praslin. This was his first hotel visit on the island since he took over the tourism portfolio in April. Minister Dogley was accompanied by the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune. The delegation visited a variety of hotel establishments from those having as little as two rooms to bigger ones with up to 50 rooms mainly along the north east coast of Praslin. The visit started off at the Acajou Hotel in Cote D’Or, followed by Les Villa D’or, SkyBlue Guest House and a stop at L’Archipel located at Anse Government. The ministerial delegation also visited Cote D’Or Footprints, Heliconia Grove, Les Lauriers Petit Hotel ending the tour at Le Duc de Praslin. During his interaction with the hoteliers, Minister Dogley noted that this regular hotel visit exercise remains on top of his activity list as it allows him to meet with the community of hotel owners, have a better understanding of the trials faced by the industry and how to capitalize on the existing strengths to keep on growing the tourism industry. Minister Dogley also encouraged all hoteliers to work towards making their respective brand one that is associated with sustainable tourism, as well as empowering their staff. “My team at the tourism department is committed to empower our Seychellois workers to provide the best services this industry can offer to clients. We are currently working on a programme that will put together a well-defined training for all stakeholders,” said Minister Dogley. For their part, the hoteliers highlighted their satisfaction with regards to their occupancy rate. They also shared with minister Dogley their successes in the industry, divulging some of the current marketing strategies, pride in encouraging the local talent and their role in promoting cultural tourism. The hoteliers also took the opportunity to highlight some common concerns including the increasing cost of doing business on Praslin. They also mentioned issues like infrastructural problems, frequent electricity cuts, shortage of water during the dry season, lack of police presence resulting in increase in crimes and insecurity, the handling of stray dogs, guests being swindled by unlicensed tourism service providers among others. The hoteliers also made some recommendations for the minister’s consideration including the need to set up a task force to handle the most pressing matters at Cote D’Or. Minister Dogley said he will be taking immediate actions to remedy issues that falls under his portfolio and will be communicating other concerns to the relevant ministries. Minister Dogley who is pursuing the hotel visit initiative set by his predecessors has already conducted a similar visit on Mahé and La Digue.