Standardising the quality of Seychelles' hotels - 61 hotels to be assessed for new grading system
Aerial view of the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa, located on the Seychelles third largest island of Silhouette. Labriz is one of the 61 hotels that will fall under the new grading system for hotels in Seychelles. (Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa)
(Seychelles News Agency) - With vacationers worldwide seeking the best not only in terms of price but also the best accommodation and services, tourism destinations are constantly facing increased competition and, therefore, strive to offer the best possible products to attract visitors.
Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago of 115 islands, where tourism is the main pillar of the economy is no exception to the rule.
In a bid to improve the standard of hotel accommodations across the board, the island nation’s tourism authorities are setting out to put a new grading system or hotel classification programme in place.
A number of hotels having more than 10 rooms have been selected to be assessed as part of a pilot test to design this new classification system.
During a recent visit to one of the selected hotels, Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa, located on the Seychelles third largest island of Silhouette, the archipelago’s Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St Ange said there should be more focus on the products on offer to visitors.
"The marketing of Seychelles is working, but our attention needs to now look at the product that we market. The Brand Seychelles needs to live up to expectation,” said St Ange.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, there are presently over 400 hotels in Seychelles. At the moment, each one is using their own criteria to grade themselves up to five-star level.
The new grading system is aiming to create uniformity in the way the accommodations are classified.
In an email interview, the Principal Secretary for Tourism Anne Lafortune, told SNA that while the original plan was to pilot test 25 hotels they have decided to include all of the 61 hotels that will fall under the new classification programme.
“This will be in their interest as it will provide them with an initial idea of where they fall within this scheme,” said Lafortune.
A set of criteria falling under two main categories; that is the physical aspect and the service aspect will be used during the assessment process.
“The element of Creole authenticity in terms of décor and service [including food, music] will also feature among the set of criteria to be assessed,” she explained.
|The pilot test will be assessing the physical aspect and the service aspect including the element of Creole authenticity in terms of décor and service. (Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa) Photo License: All Rights Reserved|
The Tourism Department is tasked with undertaking the physical assessment while independent assessors will be the ones to judge the level of service which will be topped with comments and feedback from the guests themselves.
“The grading system or Hotel Classification Programme is expected to improve the tourism sector by harmonising the standards of the hotel offer," said Lafortune. "Where the present situation is one with the hotels self-grading, different criteria are being used by these hotels and this creates confusion for the consumer. The programme is expected to increase our competitiveness on the international market as hotel grading schemes are becoming a norm around the world.”
While only 61 out of the 470 accommodation businesses will fall under the new classification programme when it is implemented the others which include self-catering establishments, guesthouses and hotels below 10 rooms will be assessed under the Seychelles Secrets brand.
The classification programme is still work in progress and the tourism trade is expected to get the opportunity to give their input before this is finalized for implementation in 2016.
The archipelago of 115 islands situated in the western Indian Ocean, with a population of around 90, 000 people is a firm favourite with holidaymakers from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Southern Africa, and with a variety of large hotels, guesthouses, self-catering apartments, private island resorts and spa hotels, there is something to suit the needs and pocket of just about every visitor to the islands.
The archipelago recorded 232,667 visitors between January and December 2014.