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Seychelles boat operators and owners welcome the move of government authorities to listen to their concerns

Seychelles boat operators and owners welcome the move of government authorities to listen to their concerns ( The Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, appealed to boat operators and owners to be upfront in their marketing drive to further tap into the tourism industry and reap additional benefits. Minister St.Ange was speaking during the boat operators and owners meeting on Praslin last Thursday.

“Seychelles tourism arrival figures continue to show positive signs. The figures are shooting up considerably because of the Seychelles Tourism Board and the tourism industry’s vigorous marketing strategy on the international markets. The benefits of this marketing strategy can be measured in the positive trend of tourism arrivals, contributing economically to the private sector players and to the country. Visitors coming to Seychelles also directly inject revenue into the boating industry. Boat operators are thus a variable, but an important component of the tourism industry which needs to be eye-catching in its promotion drive. The Seychelles Tourism Board has the mechanism to guide boat operators with its marketing tools,” said Minister St.Ange.

The boat operators and owners meeting on Praslin was one of the recommendations put forward following their last meeting on Mahe on October 4 with the Minister for Internal Affairs and Transport, Joel Morgan; Minister for Environment and Energy, Rolph Payet; the Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange; and the Minister for Housing and Land Use, Christian Lionnet.

Charing the meeting, Minister St.Ange explained that all Seychellois involved in the tourism industry should become part of parcel of the industry.

“One of our core missions is to make sure that Seychellois takes ownership of the tourism industry, and this will be achieved only by getting more and more Seychellois involved in their industry that remains the pillar of their economy. It is important that each and every Seychellois sees himself or herself in our country’s tourism industry. Unfortunately, I feel that boat operators are not yet feeling this drive launched by the government when the Seychelles Brand of Tourism was launched. Government is here in Praslin and met you on Mahe recently, because we are and we remain committed to boat operators as we are to our tourism industry,” said Minister St.Ange.

After a short address by Mr. St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, questions were taken from the floor. The first question raised in the meeting was in regards to Goods Service Tax (GST) and Value Added Tax (VAT). Boat operators called for a revision of the 15% VAT and more clarifications on how the VAT replacing the GST in January 2013 will work.

Answering the question, the Director General for Policy and Strategy in the Ministry of Trade and Finance, Rupert Simeon, explained that boat operators with an income of five million and above are automatically registered under the VAT scheme. Those that their income falls below the benchmark will have a choice to decide whether to register or not in the scheme. He explained that Seychelles’ introduction of the 15%VAT is of a reasonable rate when compared to other countries.

Responding to concerns voiced out in regards to boat vandalism and lack of police protection on Praslin’s beaches, the Commissioner of Police, Ernest Quatre, and the Principal Secretary for Transport, Department in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Transport, Terrence Mondon, both re-assured the boat operators that work is being done to reinforce beach surveillance and to guarantee safety and security for boat owners on the island.

On the issue of the role of DMC in the promotion of small businesses, boat owners suggested that visitors coming to Praslin from Mahe boarding Air Seychelles could have access to inflight magazines advertising products of licensed operators. Similarly, advertising boards could be erected at both domestic airports and at the ferry terminals to market their businesses.

The government officials panel was also comprised of Captain Joachim Valmont, Director General of SMSA; Ronald Cafrine, Special to the Ministry of Finance; Raymond St.Ange, the Special Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs; and Captain Percy Laporte from the Seychelles Port Authority, and they answered questions relevant to their respective departments and bodies.

The boat operators and owners made it a point to also address all the thirteen points that appeared on their agenda as had been previously circulated to the different ministries. These included the issue of sanitation at the restaurant site on Curieuse island, insurance cover, and illegal boat operators.

At the end of the meeting, it was recommended that each government representative put the point raised to the attention of their respective ministers.

PHOTO: Minister St.Ange chairing the boat operators&owners meeting at Tante Mimi Restaurant on Praslin / Photo from Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture


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