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Seychelles' Assumption Island airstrip to be extended 

Victoria, Seychelles | February 3, 2024, Saturday @ 08:20 in Business » TOURISM | By: Alisa Uzice Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 10231
Seychelles' Assumption Island airstrip to be extended 

Savy said that this is a good opportunity to attract high-end tourists. (Islands Development Company)  

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Plans are underway to make the Seychelles' outer islands more accessible and this will be done through a revamped airstrip on Assumption Island, which will include clearing facilities so that visitors can go straight to the island.

The chief executive of Islands Development Company (IDC), Glenny Savy, said, "The Assumption airstrip will have to be upgraded in two ways; it is too short, and it will have to be lengthened and enlarged to cater to international flights. We also intend to collaborate with SCAA [Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority] so that the facilities that will be added to the airstrip will be adequate for immigration officers to clear incoming visitors for example from private jets or cruise ships similar to the ones on Mahe."

He said that this is a good opportunity to attract high-end tourists especially those who wish to spend top dollars to see the Aldabra Atoll, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as they can go directly there from Assumption.

"We've reinvested more than 100 million rupees ($7.5 million) into infrastructure on the islands, this is very important because if we don't maintain these facilities, they will not last. We are such a small country but we already have airstrips on most of these outer islands. We pride ourselves on having adequate and modern facilities, especially for the staff," said Savy.

The CEO said that IDC is encouraging more private jets to come to Seychelles as this is very lucrative for the country.

"We are also planning on having this clearing option for other islands. Similar to the Maldives. They have several points of entry. This is ideal for an island state with many islands."

Savy said that a renovated airstrip will also be ideal for the new hotel project that is being proposed on Assumption.

Currently, the project is going through the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) phase (class 1), which is being carried out by a local non-governmental organisation, Island Conservation Society (ICS) in tandem with the Ministry of Environment.

A question was raised on whether there is a possibility of a conflict of interest as the IDC's CEO is the vice chairperson of the ICS Board of Trustees and a co-founder, and IDC also provides funds for the organisation. Savy denied that there is a conflict of this kind.

"Naturally the scale and nature of this project meant a class 1 EIA needed to be done. I believe that ICS are the best people to do this because they are already familiar with the outer islands and projects being done. Also because of the work they do on the islands, they will be involved from the start of the project until after," said Savy.

With the EIA expected to be completed within the next three to four weeks, Savy confirmed that now the next step is to wait for the approval of the plans that have been sent to the Seychelles Planning Authority.

"The developer, a Qatari company, won the bidding for the project. They've already submitted their concept plan to IDC and it has been approved. Now they are waiting for the Planning Authority to go through the first outline plan that they've submitted," he added.

With the construction of a new hotel on Assumption Island, the possibility of having regular visits to Aldabra was also another point raised. Savy confirmed that this is indeed possible for visitors to the island.

He mentioned that there will also be IDC guest houses that will be constructed to ensure that Seychellois have an affordable and more efficient option to visit Assumption and ultimately Aldabra.

The outer islands which consist of the Aldabra group, Farquhar group, Alphonse group, the Southern Coral group and the Amirante Islands, are popular among tourists on island hopping.

Assumption, which is situated some 1,140 southwest of the Seychelles’ main island of Mahe, is part of the Aldabra group and is managed by the Islands Development Company (IDC).

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Tags: UNESCO World Heritage Site, Islands Development Company

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