Monday, 24 June 2019

Conservation News: Six Senses

Six Senses Zil Pasyon's Corals Are Growing

The sustainability team completes the first stage of the coral restoration project 

FÉLICITÉ ISLAND, Seychelles – June 19, 2019 – In May 2019, the sustainability team at Six Senses Zil Pasyon successfully completed the first stage of its coral restoration project. The project was put in place in October 2017 on the surrounding reef of Félicité as a technique to accelerate its recovery. It is part of a larger habitat restoration plan, which continues to unroll on the island in collaboration with two local NGOs; the Ramos Marine & Island Reserve and Nature Seychelles alongside the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA). During the first two years of the coral restoration project, over a thousand grown corals have been transplanted back to the reef in the marine protected area between the northern side of Félicité and Coco Island.

Coral bleaching
Over recent years, corals have been under threat due to global heating and climate crisis. Because of the sudden increase of sea surface temperatures, the corals expel the algae living in symbiosis within their cells that provide up to 90 percent of their food requirements, making them white and resulting in widespread mortality (a process called coral bleaching).
Coral reefs comprise thousands of tiny creatures, named polyps, which exude a hard exoskeleton made of calcium carbonate. This creates a complex structure offering shelter, food and protection for a wide array of organisms and affecting livelihoods, food security and economic progress of marine species. This increase in the ocean’s water temperature can be caused by El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), an event intensified by climate change, which caused up to 95 percent mortality in coral reefs and reduced coral cover from 50 to 5 percent around Seychelles in 2016.

Resilient species of coral
Some types of corals manage to survive these conditions and create heat resistant strains capable of functioning in warmer waters. Based on this, the coral restoration project was born on Félicité and its objective was to plant two resilient species or coral back onto the reef in order to create a healthy and self-sustaining ecosystem.

Coral nursery
An underwater nursery was built for the corals to grow before they are transplanted on the reef. This mid-water structure of 66 x 20 feet (20 x 6 meters) consisted of 22 ropes attached to PVC pipes, anchored to the sea floor and kept afloat using jerry cans. The nursery was situated around 23 feet (seven meters) from the surface to avoid sedimentation, coral predators and to facilitate an optimal light for faster coral growth. Because of their growth, survival rates, and their resistance to the temperature anomalies in 2016, the species selected were Pocillopora grandis and Acropora abrotanoides.

Replanting results
By August of 2018, a total of 1,750 fragments were stocked in the nursery and the transplantation process started in October 2018. Grown corals were fixed onto the rocky seafloor or on old dead coral using a mix of water-resistant materials. Within three months, the team was delighted to see that the coral tissue had started to grow. The project was completed in May 2019 with 1,339 successfully transplanted corals over the 1,750 grown colonies. At the beginning of the project the sizes varied between 1.20 to 4.3 inches (three to 11 centimeters) and in the final stage some of them reached an approximate size of 15.74 inches (40 centimeters).

According to the satellite models of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there is a warning for a coral bleaching event in the Seychelles this year, induced by El Niño heat stress, with the highest chance of mortality occurring between May and August. Some studies declare that colonies which survived previous bleaching events have higher chances of survival and can spread their resilient characters. In the same way, transplanted corals can help recruit new juvenile corals naturally, increasing the recovery of the ecosystem, as it’s being proved in other Seychelles regions, making coral reef restoration effective for a longer period.

What’s next?
After the successful completion of this first phase, the next step will involve the monitoring of the reef’s health, and especially of the transplanted corals. The Sustainability team are now conducting surveys for the design of a new type of coral nursery, which will further enhance the restoration of the marine ecosystem surrounding the island of Félicité.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Conservation News: North Island

North Island’s New Environment Centre

Seychelles, 13 June – Much of the Seychelles’ attraction lies in the wonders of its environment, from untouched beaches and coral reefs to tropical forests and rare endemic species. Despite its size, this small island nation is a pioneer in ecotourism, with the highest percentage of its landmass protected in the world. Home to endangered species and abundant natural splendour, it is no wonder North Island similarly seeks to protect its unique biodiversity.

Over-tourism poses a threat to the earth’s fragile ecosystems, but not here. You can visit North Island knowing you can leave it even better than it was found. Not only is this a private island exclusive to guests, limited to only 11 villas at that, but also one that takes a sustainable approach to its development and operations. Once an abandoned copra plantation overrun with invasive alien species, North Island is busy restoring the environment to its original pristine state, undoing the damage wrought by man. In celebration of over 20 years of sustainable tourism, North Island has built a new Environment Centre, offering a unique opportunity to further environmental awareness as well as a chance for guests to connect with nature while leaving behind a positive impact.

“The Environment Centre is literally and figuratively the epicentre of North Island. Conservation lies at the very heart of our philosophy; it is our raison d’être,” says CJ Havemann, Environment Manager. The new facility is the hub of environmental activities on the island and serves as a base for resident conservationists and environmental volunteers. Filled with informative posters and artefacts on display, it is a treasure trove for learning about the local environment.

More than that, it is an interactive experience where guests meet conservationists to set off on guided hikes up the granite hills. Or hop on a private electric buggy and take a tour of the entire island. Stopping along the way to meet its friendly Aldabra Giant Tortoises, of which it’s home to approximately 100, spot tiny Seychelles White-eyes hiding in the lush forests, or happen upon nesting Hawksbill Turtles on North Island’s beaches – one of the few places in the world where they feel safe enough to come ashore in broad daylight. These threatened species have shown promise for future generations, with ever more breeding success on North Island.

Guests are encouraged to visit the island’s nursery and plant a tree. North Island has cleared vast amounts of alien species and planted hundreds and thousands of indigenous trees in their place, but there’s still more land to rehabilitate – the perfect opportunity to offset one’s carbon emissions in travelling to the island by helicopter. Guests are also invited to join educational talks in the evenings to learn more about the island’s fauna and flora and find out how they can assist in creating a ‘Noah’s Ark’, to preserve that which allured them to the Seychelles in the first place.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Notice: Silhouette Solstice Soirée

Silhouette Solstice Soirée

 Attend this exclusive beach party, 
Silhouette Solstice Soirée, at Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa and celebrate the Summer Solstice along with a famous TV star this weekend.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Hotel Updates: Six Senses

Six Senses Zil Pasyon Appoints Mark Leslie as General Manager 

FÉLICITÉ ISLAND, Seychelles – June 17, 2019 – Six Senses Zil Pasyon is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Leslie as general manager.

Mark has an impressive track record in the luxury hospitality sector, having worked with respected brands in many countries around the globe, such as Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Australia, Seychelles and the Maldives. Now adding Seychelles’ Félicité Island to this impressive list, his arrival follows a six-year tenure as general manager in Vomo Island, Fiji.

Graduating from the Westminster College of Hotel Management in London, Mark began his hospitality career with The Savoy group of hotels where he earned the prestigious hotel management apprenticeship as a chef; a role that provided him with a great grounding in food and beverage operations.

With hospitality now firmly in his blood, Mark’s passion inspired him to further his career and learn more aspects of the business, growing his expertise in the rooms division plus sales and marketing. He brings this extensive experience and passion to his role at Six Senses Zil Pasyon, where he will further develop the exceptional guest experiences offered at the resort.

Mark’s intriguing background saw him born in the United Kingdom, raised in Kenya and now calling Australia his permanent home. He’s very passionate about exploring islands and untouched natural environments which makes him a perfect fit for his new home of Félicité. His other interests of fly fishing and 4x4 driving will have to wait for the moment.

It’s not difficult to see why Mark’s favorite quote is “Nothing comes easy and hard work always pays off”.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Airline Updates: Air Mauritius

Seychelles to benefit from Air Mauritius connectivity from Réunion through Mauritius hub

Making the most of her official mission and presence in Reunion, Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Regional Director for Europe, Mrs. Bernadette Willemin and Ms. Bernadette Honore, STB senior Marketing Executive on the island paid a courtesy call to Air Mauritius team based in the city of Saint Denis.

The visit followed the recent confirmation of Air Mauritius serving Seychelles on a twice-weekly basis effective July 2, 2019.

Potential visitors from Réunion, Madagascar, South Africa, Australia and some 18 other destinations served by Air Mauritius would be having access to Seychelles through the Mauritius hub.

The STB team had the immense pleasure of being welcomed at the Air Mauritius office by Mr. Robert Bourquin, Air Mauritius Director in Réunion and his commercial team.

During the meeting, discussions were held on the importance of Air Mauritius operation in Réunion, they further discussed the connection to Seychelles via Mauritius and the commercial effort in progress from the part Réunion Travel Trade professionals to commercialise the route and drive traffic from Réunion to Seychelles.

The STB Team stated the opportunity to have the MK airline and connecting flight as an option to Réunion- Mauritius –Seychelles. Mrs. Willemin stated that it would open the destination to travellers in Réunion and elsewhere to visit Seychelles.

The team added that the new connection would pave the way for combined packages within the region operated by Air Mauritius airline.

The STB team in Réunion will be collaborating with Air Mauritius to push their marketing plan in Réunion to commercialise the route among Réunion travellers.

“Currently, Air Austral is operating the Réunion - Seychelles route on a twice-weekly flights during Réunion holiday seasons and one weekly flight out of Réunion holiday seasons. Seychelles having Air Mauritius positioning additional flights in Réunion -Seychelles route connecting through Mauritius hub will compliment and boost air connectivity,” said Ms. Honore, STB representative on the Reunion market.

 Air Mauritius flight will be operating at both Saint Denis and Pierre Fond airports. 

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Notice: Entrance Fee at Veuve Special Reserve, La Digue

Entrance Fees at Veuve Special Reserve

Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA) has upgraded the facilities in the Veuve Special Reserve, on La Digue.

As of Monday, the 1st  of July, all international visitors will have to pay an entrance fee to access the park.

The fees applicable as of Monday, 1st of July, are as follows;

  •        Admission into the Veuve Reserve, La Digue, for non-residents will be SR150 for persons over 12 years of age.
  •       Admission is FREE for children under 12.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Industry News: Seychelles Eastern European Roadshow 2019

Four countries, 4 days, 1 destination: Seychelles Tourism Board Team visited Trade Partners in Scandinavia

On May 27, 2019, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) set off for its annual Seychelles Dedicated Roadshow in Central and Eastern Europe.

The event lasted for 4 days during which representatives of hotels and DMC companies from the Seychelles Islands had an opportunity to meet potential trade partners in 4 countries including Poland (Warsaw), Czech Republic (Prague), Slovakia (Bratislava), and Hungary (Budapest).

The events organized by the STB aimed at reinforcing the presence and image of the destination as well as providing a refined business platform for partners to meet with the leading tour operators and agents in these four countries.  

Ms. Karen Confait, Director Scandinavia, Russia /CIS & Eastern Europe and Ingrid Laurencine, Marketing Executive from Headquarters represented STB, during this intensive Seychelles promotion.

A group of eight partners representing the Destination Management Companies and hotel establishments accompanied them.

DMC partners on the Eastern Europe roadshow included Creole Travel Services represented by Eric Renard, 7° South represented by Marta Kalarus (Warsaw, Prague and Bratislava) and Krisztina Miklos (Budapest) and Mason’s Travel represented by Gerhard Bartsch.

On the hotel establishment sides, Marie Kremer represented Four Seasons Resorts Seychelles, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, was represented by Maria Eremina, Agata Sobczak was present on behalf of Kempinski Resort Baie Lazare, Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort & Casino & Berjaya Praslin Resort, represented by Wendy Tan and finally representing Savoy Resort & Spa and Coral Strand Hotel, was Svetlana Davydkina.

In Warsaw, the evening took place at the newly opened and stylish luxury Raffles Europejski Warsaw that opened its doors with brand new conference facilities.

While in Prague, the well-known luxury Alchymist Grand Hotel & Spa was chosen to host the event, in Bratislava the dinner was hosted on a Danube River in the picturesque River’s Club venue with the beautiful view over the Bratislava Castle. The final stop of the Roadshow was celebrated in the Corinthia Hotel Budapest in a historic Grand Ball room.

In the four cities, the STB team opted for the train and dine format, which included a welcome mingle, followed by B2B meetings-during which all partners had a chance to present their products and discuss business opportunities with the tour operators and agents.  Events in all four cities were attended by over 200 agents, most of which specialises in leisure and some on in MICE travel. The dinners ended with a raffle, where guests had a chance to win prizes from the partners. The prizes included stays in the various hotels in Seychelles, transfer and excursion as well as memorable gifts from the Seychelles Islands.

The workshop format, which was added last year in addition to the presentations, has proved to be ideal as it provides partners more time for in-depth one to one discussion.

Speaking about the Seychelles dedicated roadshow, STB Director Scandinavia, Russia /CIS & Eastern Europe, Ms. Karen Confait, stated her satisfaction to see new partners attending every year.

She added that the event is also the perfect platform to catch up with current partners and to refresh their minds about the destination but also motivate them to sell. Through the various presentations, STB and the Seychelles partners are able to showcase the immense diversity and variety the islands have go offer, in terms of its people, culture, islands and properties and services available.

“Eastern Europe is a growing market for Seychelles and our dedicated roadshow over the past 5 years has been key in growing Seychelles share of the business. The two largest market in the region, Czech & Poland has shown a significant increase of 45% & 19% respectively for Jan to April 2019 compared to the same period last year. So far, the figures are very encouraging, and I believe that together with the local partners, STB can further develop this region, which has immense potential for Seychelles. Furthermore, the roadshow’ success could not have been possible without the support of the hotels and DMCS,” said the Director of Scandinavian, CIS & Eastern European Markets.

On their part, the travel trade in the four countries confirmed that the destination is growing, with the economy doing well people are looking for destinations like Seychelles for their holidays.

The Seychelles dedicated roadshow, a well-established event since its start over five years ago is now a highlight on the Central and Eastern European market.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Industry News

Seychelles to celebrate 250th anniversary of the first settlement in 2020

As announced by President Danny Faure in August 2018, the celebrations of the 250th anniversary of the first settlement of Seychelles is to be held in August 2020.
A national preparatory committee chaired by Seychelles Tourism Board Chief Executive, Sherin Francis was thereafter set-up to spearhead the planning and organisation of the events.
The committee, which consists of the eight other members namely Jeannine Chung Faye, Emanuel D’Offay, Sybille Cardon, Oliver Bastienne, Tony Mathiot, David Andre, Cindy Vidot and Alvin Laurence, has been meeting on a regular basis to present an extensive one-year plan to commemorate this important milestone in the history of Seychelles.
Following the endorsement by cabinet on May 30, 2019 of the proposed plan to celebrate 250th anniversary of the first settlement in 2020, the 250 years national preparatory committee organised a press meeting to address the Seychelles press partners for the first time and unveil the logo of this historic event.

During the press conference held at the National History museum in the Settlement section on Friday June 7, 2019, that the committee also presented a brief overview of the calendar of activities over the 1-year celebration period, during which all Seychellois will be taken back through a historical journey of discovery about the Seychelles.
A series of planned activities for the 2020 celebrations will be launched on August 27, 2019; the activities scheduled will involve various events in districts and at national level.
“The celebration is not merely commemorating the anniversary of the first settlement, but it is also celebrating the birth of Seychelles - 250 years of Seychelles. As proud Seychellois, it is our duty to make sure that we celebrate this achievement as it should be,” said Mrs. Francis.

The committee chairperson also stated that a secretariat office will be set-up and that will be based at the Seychelles Tourism Board Headquarters in Mont- Fleuri, she encourages all Seychellois who would want to contribute their valuable ideas or make a contribution of their time towards the project to contact the secretariat on the following email info@250yearsseychelles.event.

Mrs. Francis also mentioned that throughout celebration period, the Seychelles tourism marketing strategy would carry the 250th anniversary brand to entice visitors to also take part in these historical events.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Industry News: Hilton Hotels, Seychelles

Seychelles History retraced through a gastronomy as Hilton Seychelles Welcomes Top London Chefs for ‘A Treasure Trail of Taste’  

Announced in May by Hilton Seychelles the series of gastronomic events inspired by the famous 17th century pirate, Olivier Levasseur, dubbed ‘A Treasure Trail of Taste’ will be launched as brothers Luke, Theodore and Nathaniel Selby - London’s newest chefs will disembark in Seychelles on Wednesday June 5, 2019. 

The project initiated by Hilton Seychelles includes an exclusive list of international chefs chosen to retrace the Levasseur’s sailing routes across Britain, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean. 

Over the coming months, the Hilton Hotels in Seychelles namely Northolme Resort & Spa and Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa, will host a succession of culinary experiences. 

During their time in Seychelles, London-based chefs Luke, Theodore and Nathaniel Selby, will be charming the Hilton guests- visitors and locals alike and delight their taste buds as they will offer five exceptional gourmet evenings on both Silhouette Island and Mahé. 

Speaking of the Hilton initiative, Seychelles Tourism Board Chief Executive, Mrs. Sherin Francis mentions the destination’s honour to be part of the project. 

Mrs. Francis further stated that the project reverberates with the destination’s commitment to add value to our visitor’s experience by mixing two important components of its marketing mix- the Seychelles rich history through cultural heritage and its cuisine.  

“At the eve of the 250 years celebrations of the Settlement of Seychelles, what better way to celebrate than going back to the history of our country. It is mostly inspiring to have three young and prominent chefs visiting the Seychelles and bringing their savoir-faire to our aspiring Seychellois Chefs. We hope for them to leave Seychelles with a memorable souvenir of their stay that will bring sunshine to the dishes they will be creating after this experience with us,” said Mrs. Francis.

As part of their valuable contribution to the industry, Hilton Seychelles is collaborating alongside the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA) to ensure the younger resident talent benefit from having 

Award-winning global chefs on the island. A selected group from the academy will be shadowing the three brothers over the June dates, with one of the top students being chosen to work side by side to Luke Selby in the kitchen, to help prepare the final dinner at Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa on June 19, 2019. 

For their part, the Hilton Seychelles said that they want to offer the best experience to their guests and residents of Seychelles. Judith Heede, Cluster PR & Social Media Consultant from Hilton Seychelles said “This kicks off the ‘A Treasure Trail of Taste’ project. Hilton Seychelles prides itself in the importance of being innovative and creative, and working with our local partners. This project is a way for us to transmit the local spirit,” 

With the coming of the three British chefs in the destination, brand Seychelles would be anticipating an influx visibility and maximization of its potential exposure. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Seychelles In the Spotlight

Seychelles shines in all splendor as Indian Ocean’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination 2019 in Mauritius

The continuous efforts of the destination in matters of ecology is once again saluted by the international tourism industry as Seychelles is crowned Indian Ocean’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination 2019 at the 26th Edition of the World Travel Awards (WTA)  held at the Sugar Beach- A Sun Resort in Mauritius on Saturday June 1, 2019.  

The World Travel Awards Africa and Indian Ocean was held in a grandiose ceremony bringing together several hundred leading figureheads in the tourism industry in the African and Indian Ocean Region including Seychelles representatives Minister Didier Dogley, Minister for Tourism Civil Aviation Ports and Marine, Principal Secretary for Tourism; Mrs. Anne Lafortune and Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Chief Executive; Mrs. Sherin Francis. 

The STB Chief Executive, Mrs. Francis received the prestigious award on behalf of the destination celebrating the destination’s active investment towards the environment. The WTA’s founder Graham E. Cooke was also present for the ceremony.  In view of the Seychelles’ active work towards environmental protection, the destination topped the list ahead of Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius and Reunion. 

Speaking of the honor of receiving the award, Mrs. Francis reiterated that Seychelles’ would remain a pioneer in conservation. 

“As a destination we are proud to be an example to the world, it is rewarding to know that our efforts contribute immensely in the protection of some of the most endangered species and their habitats. This award goes to all the people including environmentalists, NGOs, partners, lovers of nature who work effortlessly towards keeping our islands in a pristine state,” said Mrs. Francis. 

WTA was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. Each year, WTA covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective success within each key geographical region.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Hotel Updates: Hilton Hotels, Seychelles

Hilton runs one Hundred!

As Hilton Wordwide is heading towards the company’s 100th Anniversary this Friday 31st May, the three Hilton Hotels in the Seychelles came together to honor this special occasion by a team run around Mahe.

 Over the last century, Hilton has grown from a single hotel in Texas, to more than 5,600 hotels and 17 brands in 113 countries and territories, with a portfolio that offers a variety of ideal experiences for every type of traveler and trip. 

As part of the centennial celebrations team members from Hilton Northolme Resort & Spa, Hilton Labriz Resort & Spa, and DoubleTree by Hilton Allamanda Resort & Spa ran around the whole island of Mahe. 

Mrs Julita Jeremie, the cluster Human Resources Director was the first brave runner on that Sunday morning and kicked off the 100 kilometer track at the Hilton Labriz Lounge jetty at Bel Hombre and was followed on her way towards Macabee by her colleagues on a Hilton truck . “It was a challenge as I am not a regular runner, but it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed spending time with the team in a different situation”. 

General Manager of Hilton Northolme Resort & Spa, Mr Daniele Fabbri is more used to the track north of his hotel as he runs it a few times a week. He participated in the special activity and followed his staff and colleagues from Silhouette around the island. “The team supported each other one by one with an exceptional spirit. I was impressed by the commitment and I’m proud to work with so many great people. We look forward to another 100 years of success with Hilton”.

Having reached this special milestone the three Hilton hotels have organized different events for the hotel’s guests and team members over the past few months. The team of Mr Fabbri planted 100 Chilli plants in the hotel’s organic garden, while General Manager at Hilton Labriz Resort & Spa Mr André Borg posed with his people underwater, before forming a floating human hundred.

The special anniversary marathon was the latest action in the series of activities and certainly the most challenging. ‘’Today showed Individual commitment leading to exceptional teamwork, I am extremely proud of this high performing team and we showcased all the Hilton values in a fantastic way’’ Operations Manager at Hilton Northolme, Mr Duncan Bond adds. The amazing performances will be crowned now with a private function at the Bel Ombre Jetty on Friday, 31st to which the President is expected.