Friday, 16 October 2020

Fauna and Flora

Legends of Seychelles' Iconic Coco de Mer

The nut and tree of Seychelles’ iconic coco de mer have inspired many myths and legends over the years. This unique species of palm is endemic to Seychelles and produces the world’s largest seed (15 – 30 kg). Despite its considerable weight, the suggestively shaped nut is known to have been carried by strong ocean currents when falling into the water, and was the cause of much bewilderment and speculation when they were found washed up on the beaches of distant islands or discovered floating by passing ships.

Prior to the palm’s discovery on Praslin and Curieuse in 1734, it was widely believed that these nuts – shaped like a woman’s buttocks – were grown in underwater forests and possessed magical properties. This belief resulted in the nut being named “coco de mer” – coconut of the sea.

Malay mariners believed that aquatic forests of coco de mer were home to a mythical giant bird, named Garuda, which was capable of hunting lions and elephants and was known to prey on helpless survivors of shipwrecks.

Mystery surrounding these nuts, and their hypothesized healing powers (some believed the coco de mer to be an antidote to any poison), lead them to become very valuable. In Maldives, any nuts discovered automatically became the property of the king – with the penalty of death threatened against anyone found concealing or selling a coco de mer.

After the terrestrial nature of these palms was discovered in the 18th century - together with the remarkably phallic-shaped flower stems of the male plant - rumours circulated that the trees would uproot themselves during stormy nights and join together to make love. The legend held that anyone who witnessed this botanical liaison would instantly go blind or be struck dead.

Perhaps the most famous myth surrounding the coco de mer was penned by General Charles George Gordon in 1881, when he visited current-day Vallée de Mai and wrote home proclaiming to have uncovered the original Garden of Eden, together with the Forbidden Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Today, coco de mers are protected, and can most famously be seen at the Vallée de Mai. Inter-island day trips and land transfers can be arranged to visit this mythical tree, and our knowledgeable guides are the best people to share the legend of Seychelles' national plant. Contact Mason’s Travel today to book your coco de mer experience.

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Airline News

Seychelles welcomes BA return - and a second direct commercial connection to Europe 

Adding a supplementary choice for European travellers to the beautiful Seychelles islands, British National airline, British Airways places its name on the list of airlines serving the destination.

Several months after its last flight to the Seychelles International airport of Pointe Larue, British Airways landed on Sunday, October 11, 2020, on the shores of the tropical destination.

British Airways becomes consequently the second European airline providing a direct commercial connection to the destination to keep Seychelles closer its prime source markets composed of six European countries.

In an interview following the weekly high-level forum leading the implementation of the National Integrated Framework for the Reopening of Seychelles, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Chief Executive, Mrs Sherin Francis mentioned that the arrival of British Airways places Seychelles in a favourable outcome for the having two direct European flights is a great achievement for the small destination.

“Visibility to our customers and connectivity has been key elements of our marketing strategy. The STB and its teams around the world have been working in close collaboration with its airline partners throughout this period to make sure that the efforts invested benefits all parties. At this crucial crossroad, it is important for us to keep the momentum,” said Mrs Francis.

The STB Chief Executive further mentioned that her and her team has been holding regular virtual meetings with airline partners to keep them updated. The STB is also engaging in several joint marketing activities with airlines to keep the destination visible and reach out to their customers.

Mrs Francis emphasised that as the destination is striving to remain safe and accessible for visitors an important indication that Seychelles remains of interest to potential visitors lies in the fact that mostly all airline partners serving Seychelles have so far committed to the restart of their services on the destination, which is a good implication that the demand exists.

“The load of passengers from the European airlines and even the other airlines remain quite interesting considering the challenges that exist for travellers today. Although some airlines are yet to confirm their dates of return, the commitment is still present,” said the STB Chief Executive.

As the raft of marketing activities are picking up slowly on all the markets, The STB Chief Executive further mentioned the STB remains committed in keeping the destination visible across all markets.

Since its reopening to commercial flights in August 2020, Seychelles has been welcoming regular flights from three airlines including Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways and Ethiopian Airlines. Edelweiss restarted its flights to the destination in September.

Monday, 12 October 2020

Seychelles 250 Year Anniversary

Seychelles Postal Service Releases Limited Edition 250 Year Anniversary Stamp on World Post Day

The Seychelles Postal Services proudly presented the SCR 12 commemorative stamps in the Honour of the sestercentennial anniversary of the country during the annual World Post Day celebrations.

The presentation of the unique stamp and its first-day cover was held at the Seychelles Postal Services Head Office in Victoria on Friday, October 9, 2020, in the presence of CEO of Seychelles Postal Services, Mr Errol Dias and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Mr Alex Etienne.

Mrs Sherin Francis, 250 years Committee Chairperson, her Excellency Mrs Francesca Alexandra Azais Ambassador for the Sovereign Order of Malta-based in Seychelles, members of the Seychelles Postal Services board and few members of the 250 years Committee were also present to see the unveiling of this historical philatelic moment in Seychelles.

Inspired by an original painting of her Excellency Mrs Francesca Alexandra Azais, a fervent 250 years collaborator to the 250 years Committee and designed by Eileen Hoareau, the 250 years commemorative stamps, portrays the first landing of 1770 as interpreted by the artist with a creative touch.

Gifted to the 250 years Committee to mark the celebration this year, the artwork was in turn offered by the committee to the Seychelles Postal Services for use.

Friday, 9 October 2020

Seychelles in the Spotlight

Seychelles Tourism Board Office in Italy celebrates the World Tourism Day 

The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) office in Italy, organized an event in Rome to celebrate the World Tourism Day 2020 and reconnect with the top Trade Media partners and Airlines’ representatives in Italy after a long time of absence in the limelight.

The event, held at The Hive Hotel, in the centre of Rome on a spacious terrace with a scenic view on the beauties of the Eternal City was hosted by Ms Monette Rose, STB Director – Italy, Turkey, Greece, Israel & the Mediterranean and STB Marketing Executive, Yasmine Pocetti both based in Italy.

The evening’s programme, which started with a networking cocktail, followed by a seated dinner, saw the presence of the main tourism trade media on the Italian Market as well as the participation of the airlines' partners representing Emirates Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and Qatar Airways.

The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Tourism and Rural Development’, celebrating the tourism sector’s unique ability to drive economic development and provide opportunities outside of big cities without neglecting smaller communities that would otherwise be left behind.

Ms Monette Rose stated that the celebrations of this important sector also provided an occasion for all those present to reflect on the important role tourism plays in preserving and promoting culture and heritage all around the world.

“Placing Seychelles forward and engaging with our partners is our most important strategy at this time. We have seized this significant day for the industry as a reminder of its importance. It was also a great platform to ensure that our partners know that the destination is more than ever ready to receive visitors,” said the STB Director for Italy. 

Hotel Updates: Hilton Labriz

Introducing The New Labriz Gastrolounge at Bel Ombre: 
Destination Dining and Drinks with a Contemporary Chic Atmosphere

The newly opened Labriz Gastrolounge is a contemporary, chic, sophisticated destination with a casual atmosphere offering discerning diners a gourmet experience, blended seamlessly with fine wines and refreshing cocktails, combined with spectacular sunset views and live entertainment.

Open daily from 11am to 11pm as The Labriz Gastrolounge provides the prefect venue for everything from business meetings to sundowner drinks or a romantic date night. The contemporary space has everything needed for work or play, complete with delectable dishes and luscious drinks including am array of international wines, cocktails, fresh juices and mocktails. Savour sharing platters, sip fine wine, watch the sun set over the ocean to the sultry sounds of Live music or our in-house DJ.

Hotel Updates: Constance Lemuria

Constance Lemuria reopens with True Stories on Offer

Constance Lemuria in the Seychelles re opened its doors on 1st September with the new ‘Constance Stay Safe’ safety measures in places. Comments General Manager Bruno Le Gac “We are all very excited to resume service and we are looking forward to welcoming our first guests, who believe me will be even more pampered than before.”

As well as the new safety measures in place, Constance Lemuria has introduced ‘True Stories’ to suggest ways in which guests can get the most out of all the things on offer at the resort and the beautiful island of Praslin. Says Bruno Le Gac “ I am convinced that guests now, more than ever, will be seeking to combine a high level of service with a spiritual and meaningful experience”.

The True Stories include:

Miraculous Fishing - pick up your rod and bait at the boathouse and find a perfect spot on the fishing platform over the rocks. Keen fishermen from the hotel team will show you the Seychellois way of fishing and chef will prepare your catches for you to enjoy that evening.

Revive! - enjoy a full day of activities and challenges, starting with a jog around the spectacular golf course before taking a bike out, swimming to the floating plat more and testing your balance on a paddle board. After a sushi lunch take a well-deserved rest in one of the garden hammocks.

Super Robert - with the approach of the turtle nesting season guests can meet with turtle manager Robert who has been at the hotel for 14 years, making sure that guests and turtles live happily side by side. He can tell you all about the turtles and show you their nests and in the hatching season alert you so you can witness the incredible sight of the hatchlings heading for the sea. In addition Robert will take you on a botanical tour of the property and introduce you to the hotel’s giant tortoises Donatello and Leonardo.

Up & Down - take a late afternoon adventure trail to the ‘top of the mountain’ with stunning views over the hotel before walking down for a refreshing swim at the world renowned Anse Georgette beach. Watch the sunset, feel alive and breathe!

A sophisticated sanctuary at one with nature

Constance Lemuria on Seychelles’ Praslin Island, is landscaped to co-exist with surrounding nature, fringed by three white sand beaches, one a turtle nesting site, another voted most beautiful in the world. Accommodation includes 88 Junior Suites, 8 Senior Suites (115m2), 8 beach villas with private pools and Presidential Villa (1,250m2). Leisure features Seychelles’ only 18-hole championship golf course, PADI dive centre, watersports, tennis and Constance Kids Club. Constance Hotels and Resorts is an Indian Ocean expert offering unique experiences, here it is our turtle conservation programme. There are four restaurants, five bars and spectacular private dining on a rocky peak. Constance Lemuria is a member of Leading Hotel of the World.

Further details from .

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Seychelles Tourism Festival 2020

Seychelles Third Tourism Festival; ‘Tourism: Back with Confidence’

The annual Tourism Festival was celebrated on a much smaller scale than the usual weeklong festivities, spanning over just three days. Despite this, the celebrations essentially captivated the importance of this vital industry.

This year’s theme ‘Tourism: Back with Confidence’, echoes the local tourism industry’s slow but progressive revival.

The Festival kicked off with the inspiring words of hope from the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine, Mr Didier Dogley on Sunday, September 27, 2020, marking World Tourism Day. The Minister emphasised on the extensive preparations made and the constant improvement of measures and procedures put in place to help face the challenges brought about by the pandemic and kick-start tourism. He also highlighted the vital role unity within the industry plays in its revival.

Following this, a group of Tourism Pioneers were honoured for their immense contribution to the Seychelles Tourism Industry during a brief ceremony held at Tourism Pioneers Park at the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA).

This year, the fifth edition of the ceremony took place on September 28, 2020, in the presence of the Minister Didier Dogley; the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Mrs Anne Lafortune, the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Mrs Sherin Francis. Its chairperson Mr John Stravens and the academy’s Principal, Mr Flavien Joubert represented the Seychelles Tourism Academy.

Family members and representatives of the honoured pioneers were also present, showing their pride for the recognition of their loved ones.

Mrs Lafortune and Mr Joubert had the honour to unveil the plaque, which featured eight tourism pioneers; Jessie and Carl Collie, Guy Sinon, William Woodcock, Frank and Elodia Payet, Norman Medhurst Esslemont, David Joubert and Julien Parcou.