The Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture has embarked on a series of “door-to-door” hotel visits to ensure that its senior management team understands the properties as well as the challenges and successes of these establishments. The first in this series of door-to-door visits started on Praslin, with 27 establishments ranging from 5-stars to small hotels. Alain St.Ange, the Minister for Tourism and Culture; Anne Lafortune, the Principal Secretary for Tourism; Sherin Naiken, the Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board; Rose Mary Hoareau, the Director of Marketing at the Tourism Board; and Sinha Levkovic, the Director Standards and Regulations at the Department of Tourism first stopped at the Constance Lemuria Resort where they were welcomed by the management team of the hotel. Minister St.Ange explained to Constance Lemuria Resort`s management team that it was important for his ministry to embark on this innovative door-to-door approach as this ensured more dedicated quality time with each hotel manager to understand challenges and constraints faced by each and every hotel on the island.
“It was time for us to break away from our traditional approaches of holding meetings with big groups of hotels. Normally we rallied everyone in a room to listen to the trade, but few spoke, and we often left the meetings unsure if we had heard the vies and opinions of everyone. We knew that we needed to hear of not only your successes, but also hear firsthand of your challenges. We felt it was time to dedicate more time than ever before to the industry and meet you on a more personalized basis. Seeing properties are one thing, knowing properties is as important for everyone,” Minister St.Ange said.
Tourism establishments are a booming industry on Praslin, with an estimated of 113 hotels currently licensed on the island.
The growth of hotels on Praslin Island is undoubtedly putting a strain on these properties to recruit. From 5-stars to small properties, the difficulties to recruit a suitable workforce in the tourism industry remains a major challenge. Although Constance Lemuria Resort boosts a workforce of 400 workers, of whom 53 percent are locals, Bruno Le Gac, the resort`s new General Manager, said that shortage of staff is a persistent problem at the hotel.
“The Resort`s `Bright` program of training Seychellois to take management and supervisory positions is well on track. More than 22 Seychellois benefited from this program. Our major challenges now are to recruit Seychellois, especially those working on the island to work at the resort,” Mr. Bruno Le Gac said.
On his first day of door-to-door meetings, Minister Alain St.Ange and his delegation visited the following properties in the Amitie, Anse Kerlan areas of Praslin: Constance Lemuria Resort, Terasse sur Lazio, Villas du Voyageur, Cap Jean Marie Villas, Anse Kerlans Beach Chalets, The Islander & The Islander Annex, Chateau Sans Souci, Butterfly Villa ex Villa Grand Mer, Villa Plein Soleil, Villa Sofia, Sunset Cove, Sea Shell Self Catering, Casa Tara, Villa Castello, and Castello Beach Hotel.
During the various meetings with the different hotels and guest house managers, it was pointed out that the ongoing shortage of local workers is pushing small and 5-star hotels to seek to recruit foreign workers. Many small hotels also complained that they found GOP for the recruitment of needed foreign workers rate high and the process complicated. They also said that they have to bear the cost of medical fees for their foreign workers to local agents, even if they had their own paid insurance.
Hotels in the Anse Kerlan area complained about noise pollution from Air Seychelles flights especially early mornings and evenings.
The majority of hotels, large and small, visited on the first door-to-door visits on Praslin have said that they are satisfied with their occupancy level, and for the couple of hotels that are experiencing difficulties with their occupancy levels, Minister St.Ange encouraged them to work closely with the Seychelles Tourism Board to better market their products.
The Ministry of Tourism and Culture`s first door-to-door visits on Praslin concentrated in Anse Kerlan, Amitie and Grand Anse. Tomorrow, Friday, March 28, Minister Alain St.Ange and his delegation will continue with hotel visits in the Grand Anse area of Praslin. The Minister said that he would then be back again on the island in the coming weeks to visit hotels and guest houses in the other regions of Praslin.
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