COVID-19:CEO of Seychelles Tourism Board speak on impact of outbreak on sector

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The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Seychelles Tourism Board Sherin Francis in an open letter to stakholders of the tourism sector outlines the impact of the coronavirus to the tourism sector and the recovery plans the board is putting in place should the outbreak be contained in the shortest possible time.

Below is the full message

The world as we know has taken a challenging turn on 30 January 2020, when the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

We anticipated that we would be affected as a destination but even more so as individuals, we were concerned for our families, friends, acquaintances, business partners all over the world.

The past few weeks, we have witnessed the spreading of an aggressive virus that has proven difficult for the medical corps around the world to understand and manage. Our thoughts go to everyone around the world as we are all affected by this crisis.

Over the past few weeks, I believe people have realized that the tourism industry is a very fragile one; everything that happens locally and internationally can affects the industry we all depend on as a country.

It is a sad moment for us to see the industry we cherish be brought to its knees; borders closing, airlines and cruise companies shutting their operations, hotel partners announcing reduction of their activities.

The fast evolution of the situation makes it very difficult at this point for us as the Tourism Board to estimate and analyse the impact and damage to the industry and much less to plan the recovery of our industry. These sad days is fuelling our motivation as a Tourism Board to work harder to make sure that our industry now critically incapacitated shines again when brighter days will come.

We are currently working on various plans to bring Seychelles Tourism to a new dawn basing ourselves on a short-term and a long-term plan.

Our short-term plan would be on the assumption that the situation does not deteriorate. If people are required to stay in confinement at home or if there is a countrywide fear, we will have to wait for these to pass before it can be executed.

Since at STB, we believe there are positive things that come out of everything even from crisis as this one, we now have the possibility to shift our marketing efforts locally and provide some supports to partners who are willing to tap into the staycation segment. We are looking forward to this new challenge!!!

On the long run, our recovery plan to get back on our feet as a destination after this crisis will depend on six major things including:

1. The status of COVID 19 in Seychelles does not deteriorate,
2. When and how fast Seychelles re-open its border to the European,
3. When and how fast we will be able to re-establish flights with our main European markets
4. The ability for our tourism services to get back on its feet
5. The propensity for travel given we know the world has entered into a global recession
6. Last but not least how much marketing funds we have available to re-launch ourselves in our main markets.

Above all, for our plan to work, we will need your continued support.

I would like to commend all STB staff for their dedication in this time of need. A special thought to the frontline staff at the Seychelles International Airport, at the Praslin Airport, the La Digue Jetty and also all staff stationed in the four corners of the world.

I am grateful to the industry partners, as most of them have responded positively in all instances when contacted by our teams. This has reassured us in showing that they have our industry at heart and are dedicated towards its wellbeing.

My message to the industry and our partners is to remain strong in these trying times, encourage travellers to postpone and not cancel their travel. To all of our travellers, I am urging you to postpone your travel, stay home and travel later. Remember we are all in this together.

Sherin Francis

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