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New 'workation' programme hopes to lure working professionals for long stay in Seychelles

Victoria, Seychelles | January 27, 2021, Wednesday @ 10:49 in Business » TOURISM | By: Daniel Laurence Edited by: Sharon Ernesta | Views: 12155
New 'workation' programme hopes to lure working professionals for long stay in Seychelles

The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) is enticing visitors to use the island nation as a home office while on holiday. (Giorgio Montersino/Flickr) Photo License: CC BY-SA 2.0

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(Seychelles News Agency) - Stuck at home doing dreary winter work and wish you were at a beautiful vacation hotspot? A "workation" in Seychelles might be your answer.

Tourism establishments in Seychelles hoping to attract more tourists on working vacation can apply to a programme set out by the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) that is enticing visitors to use the island nation as a home office while on holiday, said a top official. 

The Principal Secretary of Tourism, Anne Lafortune, told a press conference on Friday that to enter the workation programme these establishments can apply under three categories -- basic, premium, and luxury accommodation.

Lafortune said that the tourism establishments would have to meet two main criteria: sufficient working space and quality internet.  Only licensed health-certified tourism establishments will be brought on board the programme. 

"Normally these types of travellers on working holidays come for a 10-day stay in Seychelles, but instead of only this, we are allowing their stay up to one month," said Lafortune. 

The programme has been set up in partnership with the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce (SCCI) and local partners including the Department of Tourism, the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB) and the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA). 

The chairperson of SCCI, Oliver Bastienne, said the concept of the project has been finalized with the implementation phase remaining before it being launched internationally.  

"This means that we are now looking at the preparation of our product and website. We want all partners in the tourism-related field to get involved," said Bastienne.

The idea of the project prompted last year as a marketing strategy when Seychelles reopened its borders to holidaymakers after going through a national lockdown. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC BY

The Chief Executive of STB, Sherin Francis, said that the strategy is to target a specific age group. "We have developed different personalities with regards to the group that we are targeting. It will be people between the ages of 28 to 58 that have reached management level. The target is those within an income bracket that is quite elevated. There are two categories -- those who are self-employed and employees."

Francis added that "working from home has been an approach adopted by many working organizations in the world. It will be a trend that would remain in the long run.”

The idea of the project prompted last year as a marketing strategy when Seychelles reopened its borders to holidaymakers after going through a national lockdown.

Bastienne said that during the first discussions, they were uncertain of how the industry would react to it. "But upon realization, we said why not bring something that is not new, but long term. In the spirit of diversification, we wanted travellers to know that they can enjoy the island nation in alternative ways, other than products we currently have," added Bastienne. 

Tourism is the top pillar of the Seychelles economy and due to the pandemic and current drop-in visitors and in the number of flights by airlines to the island nation, the sector has suffered a massive economic blow.

According to Seychelles’ National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 139 visitors arrived in Seychelles - 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean - in week three of 2021 which represents a decrease of 98 percent compared to the same period of last year. The year-to-date total of 747 represents a drop of 97 percent compared to the same period in 2020.

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Tags: Seychelles Tourism Board, STB, workation

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