Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Website Update

 Mason's Travel News Gets a New Home


Masonstravel.com has had a bit of an update – and you can now find all of our information, latest travel news and great industry resources in one place! Please visit
our News Page for the latest travel news from the Seychelles.

For more information about Mason’s Travel – Seychelles’ leading DMC – please visit masonstravel.com or feel free to contact us.


Friday, 5 March 2021

Covid-19 Update

Seychelles opens up to the world - 25 March 2021



The Indian Ocean island destination has announced that it will be welcoming visitors from across the globe, irrespective of their vaccination status, as from March 25, 2021. Visitors from South Africa will still not be permitted to enter Seychelles for the time being until further review.

The announcement was made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde in a press briefing this morning, Thursday, March 4, 2021, at the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) conference room at Botanical House following the Tourism Task Force Committee meeting.

Visitors will now only be required to present a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to departure.

There will be no quarantine requirement nor restriction on movement upon entry into Seychelles.

Additionally, the minimum stay in establishments upon arrival will no longer be applicable.

However, visitors will still be required to adhere to other public health measures put in place in view of the pandemic these will include wearing of face masks, social distancing, regular sanitisation or washing of hands.

The new measures also give visitors access to all communal area within the hotel premises inclusive of bars, swimming pools, spas and Kid’s club.

Minister Radegonde stated that the decision to review and relax the entry procedures in the country has been made possible in view of the success registered in the aggressive vaccination campaign that the country embarked on earlier in the year.

“The vaccination campaign has been quite successful. The government has done everything in its power to make sure that the population is protected. We have now arrived at the point where opening our borders further is the next step to allow for our economic recovery. The measures being announced reflect broadly the recommendation of our tourism partners and have been done in full consultation with and the endorsement of our health authorities.”

The small island nation off the east coast of Africa whose economy is based primarily on tourism was the first African country to launch a bold, comprehensive and effective Covid-19 immunisation campaign, in January 2021.

The destination will continuously review the new entry measures to ensure that at all times the health and safety of the visitors and the local population are not compromised. More details will be available shortly through the updated travel advisory on www.tourism.gov.sc.


Submitted by Seychelles Tourism Board
Photo: Torsten Dickmann for STB

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Mason's Travel News

Mason's Travel bids "orewar" to two of their most committed team members



After 33 and 43 years respectively of dedicated service to Mason’s Travel, Claude Bijoux and Jourdan Tirant are setting their sights on a well deserved retirement and spending more time with their respective families.

Claude began his career in 1988 as a driver - a position that he had maintained throughout his journey with Mason’s Travel. His extensive wealth of knowledge and energy were very impressive, and were appreciated by clients and colleagues alike. He always ensured that his clients received personalised experience while under his care, and has made lasting friendships with many of Mason’s Travel’s repeating clients.

Jourdan began his career in back 1978 as a driver and worked his way up to the position of Transport Executive - a role that he had maintained up until his retirement.

After taking a brief hiatus, Jourdan rejoined Mason’s Travel in 2013. The smooth functioning of Mason’s Travel’s operations within the transport division – whether in the office or at the airport - is evidence that Jourdan gave generously of his time and experience to his role.

Over the last 43 years, Seychelles’ leading DMC has benefitted from Claude and Jourdan’s leadership, knowledge and ethical approach to hard work. Their positive can-do attitude and infectious joie de vivre will surely be missed!


The entire team at Mason’s Travel will feel the absence of Claude and Jourdan, and will never forget their contributions to the company.

On behalf of the Management Team, we invite you to join us in wishing Claude & Jourdan all the best in their retirement!

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Seychelles Tourism

International Tour Guide Day: SIF shares latest Vallee de Mai research with Mason's Travel Guides


Established by the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) in 1990, International Tourist Guide Day is recognised each year on 21 February.

This year, due to lock-down restrictions in Seychelles in February 2021, Mason’s Travel’s passionate guides were not able to spend the day doing what they love – sharing their local knowledge with visitors to the island nation. However, they did team up (virtually) with the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) and their equally-passionate team of researchers at the Vallee de Mai, for a series of informative digital presentations on the latest work and research being conducted at the World Heritage Site.

Guides connected with SIF researchers via Zoom from Mason’s Travel’s various offices in Praslin and Mahé. The researchers shared some of their latest findings related to the Seychelles Black Parrot, Coco de Mer, the park’s lizards and geckos, and the control of Yellow Crazy Ants in the Vallee de Mai. The informative presentations also outlined key takeaway messages for visitors to the park and how tourists could assist with SIF’s conservation efforts (eg. sharing photos of ringed Black Parrots and checking clothes and bags for Yellow Crazy Ants before entering protected areas), as tour guides are an important channel of communication between conservationists and visitors.



Guides had the opportunity to ask some of their questions about species found at the Vallee de Mai and shared commonly asked questions that they received from visitors.

As a proudly Seychellois company, Mason’s Travel is committed to providing innovative and authentic experiences of the islands to their clients from around the world. Clients that book their popular Vallee de Mai excursions can now look forward to receiving the latest, detailed information about the reserve’s inhabitants – together with enhanced health and safety precautions and Mason’s Travel’s characteristic Creole congeniality.


 





Friday, 12 February 2021

Hotel News

An Exciting New Chapter: H Resort Rebrands as STORY (Seychelles)



10 February 2021 saw the launch of the much-anticipated STORY (Seychelles), flagship resort in the Seychelles of STORY Hospitality, a dynamic, UAE-based hospitality management company with an innovative approach and singular vision of excellence.

Formerly H Resort, this popular luxury resort lies directly on Beau Vallon beach in the bustling north of Mahe and offers an unparalleled collection of opulently appointed rooms and suites and villas that represent the epitome of tropical luxury.

STORY Hospitality will serve as the umbrella parent marque bringing a full suite of options to travellers and visitors with two different hotel brands: STORY Hotels & Resorts for a superior visitor experience as well as CUE Hotels, a modern lifestyle brand.

The new identity aims to deliver inspiring transformational hospitality, allowing guests to find a new perspective from their travels and experience of the world in a new way, through exceptional service and stimulating surroundings, coupled with modern and sophisticated spaces.


As its name suggests, STORY (Seychelles) is about creating ‘stories’ for its guests - not only to relish, but also to participate in- during their stay.

Fuelled by a unique set of operating beliefs, STORY (Seychelles)’s objective is, in essence, to inspire its guests by kindling passions and awakening new dreams either through their introduction to new experiences, or to existing experiences but freshly perceived in novel and surprising ways.

The launch of the STORY Hotels and Resorts brand in Seychelles promises to usher in a new age of the Intrepid Discoverer - but not this time, as in the past, in search of new continents and their riches; now, rather, seeking a deliciously eclectic mix of new sensations, impressions and experiences that are genuinely lasting and potentially life-changing.

A STORY that Sparks Inspiration.

The resort management looks forward to welcoming you to STORY (Seychelles).




- Submitted by STORY (Seychelles)





Friday, 5 February 2021

Mason's Travel News

Mason's Travel Invests in Green Cleaning Technology


Mason’s Travel has been a driving force behind Seychelles’ tourism industry for almost five decades. Never one to shy away from embracing innovation, Seychelles' leading DMC has evolved with international travel standards to maintain its market position and fulfil its promise of offering world-class services and an authentic Seychelles experience to clients from around the world.

As a family-run business, the safety and well-being of guests and employees has always been a top priority for Mason's Travel - no more so than in today's COVID 19 era. With teams operating on the front lines of the tourism industry, the tour operator's commitment to creating safe and sanitary environments in which staff can interact with guests, is at the forefront of all business decisions.

Mason's Travel recently became the first DMC in Seychelles to invest in a new method of sanitizing their extensive fleet of vehicles, by introducing the use of a FOGAIR device - a disinfectant nebulizer. This improved "fogging" method of sanitization releases a disinfectant solution in a fine mist, which coats all vehicle surfaces evenly and effectively.

The mist-solution, which is both non-toxic and environmentally-friendly, remains activated for over 18 hours and is able to coat surfaces not easily accessed with traditional cleaning methods. The disinfectant vapour can also be circulated through the vehicle's ventilation system, ensuring that even filters and air-ducts are thoroughly sterilized.

The solution is a product developed in Canada, where trials demonstrated proven-effectiveness in the elimination of 99.999% of all viruses and funguses, in just 30 seconds. Unlike traditional sanitizers, the solution is not wiped off after application and remains active on vehicle surfaces, preventing contact-spread of viruses like COVID 19.


For all it's effectiveness, the solution is surprisingly gentle and is non-hazardous to plant and animal life. It has no special disposal requirements, is non-staining and non-corrosive. It is appropriate for use on fabrics and coming into contact with clothing, or for application directly onto vehicle switches and electronics. Mason's Travel is so confident in the gentleness of the solution that it is even applied it to the electric control panels in their luxury vehicles, like the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid.

By adopting this new method of sanitization, alongside previous methods, Mason's Travel's clients are assured of a safe and comfortable travel experience. The method is applied to all vehicles used for transfers, excursions and private tours, and can even be applied to guests' luggage, as the solution has no strong chemical odors and there is no risk of clothing or luggage being stained or damaged by the disinfectant. Mason's Travel's drivers, guides, ground handlers and maintenance teams also benefit from the reduced risk of cross contamination from commonly-touched surfaces.

Mason's Travel continues to practice preventative measures in line with the recommendations of the Public Health Authority, and their teams are fully prepared - and eagerly excited - to welcome clients to Seychelles.

Contact Mason's Travel for more information about tours, excursions and transfers in Seychelles.

Monday, 1 February 2021

Fauna and Flora

Celebrating Protected Areas in Seychelles


On Sunday 31 January 2021, Seychelles celebrated Protected Areas Day. The Indian Ocean destination is a global Protected Areas champion, with one of the world's highest ratios of land and sea set aside for protection. Seychelles has recently declared 30% of its marine territory - an area roughly the size of Germany - as protected and roughly 47% of its total landmass is reserved for Protected Areas. These include National Parks, Special Reserves, World Heritage Sites and Protected Wetlands.

THE BENEFITS OF PROTECTED AREAS:
Protected Areas safeguard critical natural zones that are deemed to provide a range of goods and services, protect historical and cultural resources of national or global importance, or are considered important for the sustainability of indigenous and endemic species. The range of benefits provided by protected areas are many:

PROTECTED AREAS SAFEGUARD BIODIVERSITY
Every day up to 150 species become extinct. Protected Areas guard critical habitats for species so that they can thrive in nature, unimpacted by human disturbance. Recent studies have shown that, on average, the number of species found in Protected Areas is 10.6% higher than in areas outside of protected zones. 

PROTECTED AREAS ARE IMPORTANT FOR TOURISM
Areas protected for their unique biodiversity, natural beauty or cultural significance are frequently popular tourist attractions. On average, visitors to Seychelles will visit 2.4 Protected Areas during their stay, with a 2017 survey indicating that 87.5% of all tourists will visit at least one Protected Area during their holiday.

MARINE PROTECTED AREAS BENEFIT FISHERIES
Marine Parks, and areas where fishing is not allowed, are surprisingly beneficial to the fishing industry. They allow for areas where fish populations can thrive and grow, before moving out into unprotected waters where they may be caught by fishermen. Since Marine Parks also protect the breeding grounds of many species, they ensure healthier, more sustainable fish stocks and allow individuals to grow to bigger sizes.

PROTECTED AREAS PROMOTE ECONOMIC GROWTH
Protected Areas are economic engines. Tourism is the most important pillar of Seychelles' economy, as it contributes to more than 50% of the country’s GDP and supports 30% of its workforce. Fisheries are the second-most significant contributors to the nation's GDP - both industries are supported by Protected Areas in sustainable ways that prioritise longevity and the protection and cultivation of natural resources.

PROTECTED AREAS HELP TO SLOW CLIMATE CHANGE
The planet's oceans and forested areas are essential for regulating global temperatures and absorbing greenhouse gases produced by modern industry. In addition to helping to stabilise global weather patterns, protected forested areas also help manage erosion and flooding, which can wreak havoc on nearby settlements and economies.

PROTECTED AREAS PROVIDE ACCESS TO CLEAN WATER
Most communities rely on freshwater sources for their drinking water. Well-managed natural forests almost always provide higher quality water - these Protected Areas help to absorb pollution from the atmosphere and regulate soil erosion, which in turn means fewer sediments and contaminants in water sources.

PROTECTED AREAS BENEFIT LEARNING AND RECREATION
Protected Areas provide the settings for healthy outdoor recreation and exploration. In Seychelles, popular recreation activities include hiking, snorkeling, diving, fishing and time spent on the beach. Exploring Protected Areas offers tourists and residents alike the opportunity to understand and appreciate nature while enjoying exercise and improving their overall health and well being. Much evidence has been accumulated on the recuperative effects of spending time in nature. Well-managed Protected Areas also offer important arenas for research and an improved understanding of our planet.


In Seychelles, a range of NGOs and conservation organizations - such as the SNPA, MCSS, ICS, SIF, GIF and SeyCAtt, to name a few - work tirelessly to protect and preserve areas and remote islands spanning over hundreds of thousands of kilometers. 

DISCOVER SEYCHELLES' PROTECTED AREAS WITH MASON'S TRAVEL:
Mason’s Travel has carefully designed a portfolio of exciting excursions and activities that showcase the best of Seychelles' best-loved Protected Areas, making it convenient and affordable for you or your clients to enjoy these important sites. Our knowledgeable, local guides and seamless transfer options make visiting various Protected Areas - scattered across multiple islands - both effortless and informative.
We can also arrange for private tours of Protected Areas for groups or individuals with special interests or that require bespoke itineraries. Contact our reservations team today!



Special thanks to the Seychelles National Parks Authority for the graphic and above information and for maintaining over 30km of hiking trails on Mahe Island!

Monday, 18 January 2021

Covid-19 Update: Seychelles Becomes More Accessible

Seychelles becomes more accessible - Welcomes all vaccinated visitors


In an announcement widely welcomed by the tourism industry, the Indian Ocean archipelago has reviewed its entry requirements for visitors, making the destination immediately more accessible to travellers that have received both doses of the covid-19 vaccine. The review marks part of the restart of the island nation's tourism activities for 2021 and beyond.  

The announcement was made 
on Thursday, January 14, 2021 by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Mr. Sylvestre Radegonde, during a joint press conference with his counterpart from the Ministry of Health, Mrs. Peggy Vidot. This follows the recent launch of the country's national immunisation campaign, which is expected to vaccinate roughly 70% of the local adult population by mid-March 2021. 


The new measures are to be implemented in two phases:

1) With immediate effect: 

Seychelles will open its borders to vaccinated visitors from any part of the world.

Vaccinated Visitors:
Visitors must be able to show that they have received two doses of an approved* covid-19 vaccine. They can only travel two weeks after they have received their second dose of the vaccine. Visitors must submit an authentic certificate from their national health authority as proof of 
covid-19 vaccination, together with a negative PCR test certificate obtained less than 72 hours prior to travelling to Seychelles. Infants and children may not be required to be vaccinated. However they will need to have a negative covid-19 PCR certificate taken not less than 72 hours before travel.

Vaccinated visitors may only stay in establishments or liveaboards that have been certified by the Public Health Authority. They will be allowed free movement but must follow all health protocols in place at their respective tourism accommodation/liveaboards. Vaccinated visitors will not be subjected to surveillance PCR test (usually done on the 6th day) once in Seychelles, however, their airline or final destination may require it.

Non-Vaccinated Visitors:
Visitors from countries that are currently permitted entry to Seychelles still need to submit a negative PCR test certificate obtained less than 72 hours (Category 1) / 48 hours (Category 2) prior to travel to Seychelles.

Visitors may only stay in establishments or liveaboards that have been certified by the Public Health Authority. Upon arrival in Seychelles, visitors must stay in their first tourism accommodation/live aboard for 10 days** before leaving the tourism accommodation compound/live aboard.


Entry to Seychelles is still restricted to visitors that have not been fully vaccinated or are not travelling from a permitted country or via private jet. These measures will be in force until mid-March, when Seychelles is expected to have vaccinated the majority of its adult population. Strict health and safety measures, such as diligent sanitization, social distancing and wearing a mask will still apply.



2) Mid-March Onwards: 

Once the majority of the adult population in Seychelles has been vaccinated, the country will open its borders to all visitors - regardless of whether or not they have been vaccinated. All visitors will be required to submit a negative PCR test certificate, obtained less than 72 hours prior to travel.

Visitors are requested to continue to abide by the existing health measures (e.g. wearing of face masks, social distancing, etc) which will remain applicable as per the travel advisory published on the Department of Tourism's website. Similarly, all tourism operators will still be required to follow their existing covid-19 standard operating procedures and protocols.


More details about the new measures will be published in the Seychelles Travel Advisory in the coming days.



Submitted by the Seychelles Tourism Board
*The vaccine administered must be recognised by the Seychelles Public Health Authority. Certification for both vaccines and PCR tests must be submitted online via the Health Authorisation tool. 

**There is no minimum length of stay in place. Visitors staying in Seychelles for less than 6 days will not be subjected to surveillance PCR test, but must stay at a single accommodation establishment. Visitors staying Seychelles for less than 10 days will be required to take a surveillance PCR test on their 6th day and must stay at a single accommodation establishment. After 10 days (provided the result of their surveillance PCR test is negative) visitors are free to move to another accommodation establishment or island.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Industry New: Covid-19 Update

National COVID-19 Immunisation Campaign begins in Seychelles


Seychelles, one of the top tourist destinations for travellers, leaps towards immunization as the country launched its national COVID-19 Immunization Campaign on Sunday, January 10, 2021.

Being the first country in Africa to start a COVID-19 national vaccination program, Seychelles aims to be the first country in the world to vaccinate 70% of the over 18 years of age population in order to achieve herd immunity.

Leading by example, is the President of the Republic of Seychelles, H E Wavel Ramkalawan, as he takes the SinoPharm COVID-19 Vaccine, making him the first Head of State in Africa to take the first jab.

The campaign launch, held at the Seychelles Hospital started on a high note as about a hundred people including leaders, health workers, media personalities received their first shot of the SinoPharm COVID-19 showing their support towards the country’s immunization efforts.

Following the launch, the Ministry of Health will roll- out the administering of the Vaccine to key groups in the country as of Monday, January 11, 2021, starting with Health Care Workers and other front-line groups including the tourism industry operators.

President Ramkalawan restated the need for the country to unite as a nation and to rally behind the Health Authorities to help curb the spread of this deadly virus, protect the lives of all citizens and restore economic development in the country.

President Ramkalawan gave special thanks to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for the donation of 50,000 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, which was offered during President Ramkalawan’s visit to Abu Dhabi in December.

The President added that this gesture is a testimony to the friendly ties that exist between the two nations.

“With such a robust vaccination campaign, Seychelles aims to be the first country in the world to vaccinate at least 70% of its over 18 population. From there we will be able to declare Seychelles as being COVID safe,” President Ramkalawan emphasized.

The president added that the UAE Government would also be donating another batch of vaccines to the country soon.

President Ramkalawan also thanked the Indian Government for an offer of 100,000 doses of the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine which is due to arrive in the country at the end of January.

Speaking of the vaccination Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Mr Sylvestre Radegonde mentioned the importance of this move by the government for the industry.

"The COVID-19 immunization campaign is an important milestone for the restart of our tourism industry as the country balances its efforts to maintain its tourism activities and protect its population from further spread of the virus. The world has not come to a standstill and there are people who are still keen to travel. We need to fast rebuild our industry for our economic prosperity depends on it." said Minister Radegonde.

Minister Radegonde further restated the need for the tourism industry partners to remain vigilant for their safety and the safety of the population.


Submitted by Seychelles Tourism Board

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Industry News: Covid-19 Update

The Seychelles International Airport will remain open for visitors as Seychelles steps-up measures to curb the spread of Covid-19


Seychelles authorities have announced new interim safety measures on Sunday, 3 January with the aim to curb the spread of Covid-19 within the community. 

The Seychelles International Airport will remain open for visitors, however, with revised conditions* of entry and stay for visitors from permitted countries.

As part of the new measures enforced and effective immediately:

  • Visitors already in Seychelles will be required to remain in one accommodation establishment for the first ten days of their stay in the destination and this measure extends to all new visitors entering Seychelles as of Sunday, January 3, 2021.
  • No transfer of accommodation will be permitted until the completion of the first 10 days of stay in one establishment.
  • Stand-alone restaurants will be closed. Restaurants within hotels and guest houses will remain open for their guests only. Other communal area recreational services within hotel premises including bars, swimming pools, spas and Kid’s club will also not be operational.
  • Inter-island travels are strongly discouraged.
  • Visitors coming by sea vessels will not be permitted to disembark on the Seychelles shores before ten days after the last port of call.
A strong plea has been made by the authorities for all service providers to maintain a high level of alert and reactiveness at all times.

The industry is reminded that wearing of a mask is mandatory in Seychelles. Any person failing to comply will be liable for legal actions.

Visitors are also reminded that they are not allowed to use public transport during their stay in Seychelles.


*Revised Conditions of Entry and Stay for Persons coming to Seychelles

Conditions for visitors arriving from Category 1 and Category 2 countries 
  • Pre-travel requirements for visitors coming Category 1 and Category 2 countries remain the same – time-bound negative pre-travel PCR test (sampled <48h from departure time for Category 2 arrivals, and <72h for Category 1 arrivals) and relevant health declarations.
  • All new arrivals must be transferred to hotels directly by certified transports.
  • Both Category 1 and Category 2 visitors must remain Hotel-bound for the first 10 nights from entry (except to attend a regional testing centre for day 6 PCR test). No transfers to other hotels/resorts will be allowed until the completion of 10 days.
  • Visitors in the country from earlier, but within 10 nights of entry, will be switched to new conditions, counting the days from their original date of arrival (i.e. a visitor who arrived 5 days ago, can move after another 5 days of stay).
  • PCR test after 5th night of stay (+/- one day) – a negative result does NOT change conditions of stay until after 10 nights. After the 10th night, movement is allowed outside the hotel premises; further PCR test is not mandated (unless ill or required for travel).
  • Excursions/trips can be organized by/through certified operators for only 1 family unit at a time. Maximum 6 in one group.
  • There is no minimum length of stay, as such:
  • Where departure is before completion 5 nights, the surveillance PCR is exempt.
  • Where departure from Seychelles is before 10 nights of stay and guests need exit PCR test, they can be taken by certified transports to regional testing venues to undergo tests and await the result in their hotel. On the day of departure, they should transfer to the airport through certified transports.
  • And where these guests do not need exit PCR test, they can be taken directly to the airport for departure by certified tourism transports.
  • Tourists who are having symptoms must consult their hotel/resort nurse/doctor/COVID-19 focal person, and subsequently plan further evaluation and/or testing under the guidance of the surveillance/ public health team. Testing of symptomatic individuals must preferably be done at fever clinics.

The industry is reminded that it is imperative they follow all guidelines applicable.



Submitted by the Ministry of Health and Seychelles Tourism Board. Please consult the Seychelles Travel Advisory or contact Mason's Travel for further information or clarifications.

Important Note : This is the current information that we have received from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Tourism and the Seychelles Tourism Board. The situation remains fluid and is subject to change.