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Seychelles tourism authorities call on La Digue to register unlicensed rooms

Victoria, Seychelles | June 3, 2024, Monday @ 17:30 in Business » TOURISM | By: Sedrick Nicette Edited By: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3670
Seychelles tourism authorities call on La Digue to register unlicensed rooms

The carrying capacity survey on La Digue was done from 2019 to 2021. (Gerard Larose)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - Licensed tourism establishment operators on La Digue, Seychelles' third most populated island, who have additional unlicensed rooms  are being asked to apply for a change of use permit to the Tourism Department.

The announcement was made on Monday by the principal secretary for tourism, Sherin Francis, during a press conference.

Francis said this exercise will start on June 4 and end on July 4. 

"According to our data, there are 764 licensed rooms on La Digue, but there could be unlicensed operational rooms," explained Francis.

She said that these unlicensed rooms may have skewed the results of the carrying capacity study done in 2021. The carrying capacity survey on La Digue was done from 2019 to 2021 to establish the current tourism development status concerning a number of key indicators such as the economy, the environment, social welfare, and productive infrastructure.

Among the recommendations of the survey is that a moratorium be put in place for new establishments which was extended to December 2023.

However, the Tourism Department has noticed that there are people who are illegally renting rooms that are meant for residential purposes.

After presenting a proposed strategic accommodation establishment development plan for La Digue to the Cabinet of Ministers, the Tourism Department was instructed to ascertain the total number of rooms on La Digue, so that a phased review of the moratorium can be conducted.

At the moment, there are 128 licensed tourism establishments on La Digue, with 764 rooms.

"We are doing this exercise to find how many operational there are on La Digue. These rooms have already been built and so they are impacting on all the infrastructures on the island, such as electricity, water, sewage and waste management," added Francis.

The operators of these establishments will be given until July 4, to come forward and apply for the change of use for these unlicensed rooms. They must do so by submitting their applications to the Seychelles Planning Authority.

To be considered, operators must include a copy of the current tourism accommodation licence, while also ensuring compliance with all existing minimum requirements stipulated in the Tourism Development regulations. They must also comply with other requirements set by other regulatory bodies such as health and fire departments.

Francis added that having the correct data is very important, especially for policy planning purposes.

She said it is in the best interest of those involved to come forward during this exercise and added that there will be no penalties to anyone who does come forward to make the change. 

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