Official: Seychelles remains open for tourism, visitors are safe from COVID-19
Radegonde said that "there will be no change to our plans - Seychelles will remain open to tourists." (Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles remains open to all tourists except those coming from exempted countries, and the island nation will not be introducing quarantine measures for inbound visitors, said a top official on Friday.
The Minister for Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, outlined that in various interviews he has done with international media houses such as CNN, BBC and the Telegraph, the message remains the same: "Seychelles remains safe and tourists are not infecting Seychellois."
Radegonde said that like the Ministry of Health has outlined, the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases are because some Seychellois are not taking enough precautions.
"When it comes to visitors, they remain safe. Establishments that they go to are certified establishments following the different health protocols that are in place. There will be no change to our plans - Seychelles will remain open to tourists. There won't be any quarantine measures for visitors coming into the country," he added.
According to the Ministry of Health's last update on Thursday, Seychelles has 2,739 active cases of COVID-19 and has recorded 32 deaths.
A total of 69,708 people out of the target population of 70,000 has received the first dose of either Sinopharm or Covishield, amounting to 99.6 percent of the goal, while 61,360 people have received both doses.
Talking about the fact that France has issued an advisory discouraging its citizen from travelling to Seychelles, the minister said that the country has all the right to do so, however, "for me, this advisory defeats the purpose because up until now, French citizens are not travelling to go anywhere."
Seychelles is currently not accepting visitors from South Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Brazil.
Since the re-opening of Seychelles' borders to commercial passenger flights on March 25 to relaunch the tourism industry, the island nation has welcomed over 24,000 visitors.
As Seychelles' main European markets remain closed, the island nation is currently depending on its secondary markets with Russia, Israel, and UAE ranking in the top three.
Tourism is the top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
Going forward, Radegonde said that the nation must work to prevent other countries, especially the top three secondary markets, from issuing a similar advisory to the one France released.
"We need to ensure that we do not put ourselves in a position where these countries will take such decisions. We need to make sure that the rate of infection goes down. This is a collective work that each and every Seychellois needs to do," he said.
"We are giving our full support to the ministry of health and we are continuing to relay the message to the whole world that Seychelles is safe. Even if Seychelles has a high rate of infection, we also have a high vaccination rate. It is clear that due to the high number of people who have been vaccinated, even if the infection rate is high, not many people are getting serious COVID-19 complications," added Radegonde.