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.