More sports tourism sites need to be developed in Seychelles, investment minister says
Vidot pointed out that the Eco-Friendly Marathon was a way to bring in more visitors through sports. (Seychelles News Agency)
A number of sites have been identified in Seychelles to build facilities for sports tourism activities as part of the government's plan to diversify the tourism industry, a top official recently.
The Minister for Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry, Devika Vidot, said that while tourism activities are Seychelles' biggest source of income, there is a need to increase the amount of money that tourists spend during their stay.
Sports tourism will, therefore, provide adequate sports and leisure activities and the hosting of international sporting events can bring in more people as well as increase Seychelles' visibility.
With regards to the investment in the facilities, Vidot said that the Seychelles delegation at the Expo 2020 in Dubai presented the concept to a number of interested parties. Some of them have come up with ideas and visited Seychelles to identify areas in which they could invest.
"We have already identified a number of sites where investors will be able to build facilities as part of this project, such as Beau Vallon, the Roche Caiman Sports Complex, Anse Royale and even on Praslin," she added.
Tourism is the top contributor to the economy of the island nation in the western Indian Ocean and is the industry which was most severely affected when the COVID-19 pandemic caused a downturn in travel. Since then, Seychelles' government has been increasing its efforts to diversify the economy.
|The Seychelles sports tourism team at the Dubai Expo led by Minister Vidot (front middle). (Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry) Photo License: CC-BY|
"The government's plan for diversification of the economy is also centred on expanding tourism, fisheries and sports with new activities and investments," said Vidot.
She added that sports tourism was identified as an area with a lot of potential, where the main focus is on using the country's resources to promote this concept, with emphasis on water sports.
One such case in point is the recently announced project at the Beau Vallon Regatta site, where a proposed sports arena will see state-of-the-art facilities built with a basketball court, gyms and even a boot camp facility.
Vidot said that in the plan, Seychellois investors will have priority over foreigners, although the government is aware that some of the projects require a lot of capital that can only be obtained from foreign investment. This is why the government is allowing foreigners to partner with local investors for their projects.
The minister said that despite the emphasis on sports tourism at the moment, it is not a concept that is new to Seychelles as it was already being implemented.
She pointed out that the Eco-Friendly Marathon was a way to bring in more visitors through sports, among other events organised over the years.
The Seychelles Eco-Friendly Marathon was initiated in 2008 by Seychelles' honorary consul general in South Korea, Dong Chang Jeong, as part of efforts to encourage people on the island nation to stay healthy. The marathon has now become an annual event that attracts locals and foreigners working or holidaying in Seychelles, as well as foreign participants who come expressly for the marathon.
Since 2018, Seychelles has been hosting part of the International Swimming Federation's (FINA) open water swim world series. The project is organised in the collaboration of the Ministries of Youth, Sports and Family, and Tourism and Foreign Affairs.