Seychelles islands host first international food and hotel supplies expo
Seychellois farmers displayed their best produce, giving hoteliers a firsthand glimpse of what they can buy directly from the local producers (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Food is big business in the Seychelles islands which have a population of 90,000 people while welcoming 230,000 visitors every year. With an economy heavily reliant on tourism as its main source of income, the sale of food and hotel supplies is one of the core businesses in the islands, which import nearly 90% of the food consumed.
With an eye to creating more investment and trade opportunities, the Indian Ocean island’s first International Food and Hotel Supplies Exhibition opened its doors yesterday at the NSC Hall at Roche Caiman, a central district near the capital Victoria on Seychelles’ main island of Mahé, presenting a plethora of stalls offering different food, drinks and supplies used in the hotel industry.
A total of 80 companies from Seychelles, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Singapore, and the UAE converged for the three-day show, organised by Sri Lankan company CDC Events & Travels in collaboration with the country’s Small Enterprise Promotion Agency (SEnPA), the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Seychelles Tourism Board and the Sri Lankan High Commission in Seychelles.
|Local food products on display (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo license: CC-BY|
Seychellois farmers were among over 20 local participants, giving hoteliers a firsthand glimpse of what they can buy directly from the local producers in terms of fruits, vegetables and meats, especially as they face tough competition from businesses that import food.
Berjaya Hotels Area General Manager Gulab Rai came to the exhibition to see what was on offer, and the resort group is also a sponsor of the event. He says the show is a very good opportunity for the hotel chain, as they have one hotel on Mahe island and one on Praslin island, the second most populated island of the archipelago.
“We do buy a lot of products and supplies. We buy mainly from South Africa and Dubai which can sometimes be very expensive when the middle agents come in. With this exhibition, now we can see what is on offer right on our own doorstep and we can establish contacts and make deals at much better prices. It is a very good initiative for hotels in Seychelles,” Rai told SNA.
|A wide variety of beverages from the company East Indies, destined for the bars and restaurants of the Seychelles islands (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo license: CC-BY|
One of the exhibitors, Coastal Hire, is a company which has been operating in Seychelles for five years, offering security products such as burglars bars as well as grass cutting equipment and special flooring products.
Its manager Cliff Caesar said that this is his second participation in a commercial exhibition as he took part in the national show in June this year, but it is his first ever experience in an international event.
“As you can see we are displaying new products such as the special decking for floors. It is made out of synthetic fibres and wood, so it lasts longer than the ones made solely from wood. We also offer a ten year warranty period on this product. Other products with which we aim to attract clientele from the hotels sector include the battery powered grass cutters. They are more environmentally friendly and make less noise than the ones which use petrol and are thus better suited for the hotels,” he explained.
Caesar said he hopes that this exhibition will provide even more exposure for his business as the National show in June brought good response for him.
|A variety of tiles and other decorative products on display at the exhibitions, examined by Seychelles President James Michel as he toured the expo on Friday. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo license: CC-BY|
Trading Organisation is a company based in Sri Lanka providing hospitality supplies to 33 resorts in the Maldives with 13 years experience. They are also participating in the expo for the first time in Seychelles.
“We find that there is a need for a direct regular suppliers for the resorts here. We wanted to come here as we have found there is a niche in this market which we can fill and the country is small like the area we are from in Sri Lanka. We always take part in trade fairs and international exhibition so when we got contacted through our High Commission here, we decided to come and explore the Seychelles market, show what we have and make contacts,” the company’s director Gupta said.
|Soaps, candles and scented toiletries that can be used in hotel and guesthouse bedrooms (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo license: CC-BY|
Establishing contacts and networking as well as one-to-one business meetings feature as part of the exhibition, which also includes a culinary competition endorsed by the World Association of Chefs, which has attracted 60 chefs from 10 resorts.
The Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Seychelles Rajatha Piyatissa described the exhibition as both a milestone and landmark event for Seychelles, according to the Seychelles Nation newspaper.
|Exhibitors from Sri Lanka, South Africa, Singapore, and the UAE showed their most popular products (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo license: CC-BY|
“Not only is Seychelles among the most beautiful countries, or the most beautiful country, it has a friendly government towards investors which make it easy to do business in Seychelles,” said Piyatissa.
Earlier this year the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised a House, Garden and Hospitality Expo, in collaboration with companies from Mauritius.
|Tea products on display (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo license: CC-BY|
|Bedding products on display (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo license: CC-BY|