Tourism: Seychelles should be concerned after Costa Cruise’s withdrawal from the Indian Ocean

Alain St.Ange says this is a warning bell and the Ministers of the Vanilla Islands must meet urgently to prepare a joint action plan. The main stakeholders in the tourism sector are starting to get worried after the announcement of Costa Cruise, which puts an end to its operations in the Indian Ocean. This announcement comes after the announcement of the liquidation for bankruptcy of Thomas Cook,
the British tour operator. Hoteliers and Tourism Industry Professionals are meeting and waiting for an official communication from the authorities. Costa Cruise local representatives in Mauritius are saying that for now only travel agents have been informed, not
suppliers. They argue that this situation causes shock and considerable consequences for the various suppliers and the Mauritian destination as a whole. This withdrawal of Costa Cruise is equivalent to the loss of a three thousand passenger ship every two to three weeks from October to April. Job risks include independent guides, meeting and greeting officers, loss of income by DMCs, Port Victoria, SEPEC, Taxi Operators, lost of sales by Arts & Craft Dealers among many other shortfall. Discussions are also highlighting a lack of revenue not only for local suppliers such as
restaurants, local markets and parks among others but also for airlines who flying in and out passengers leaving or boarding the ship in Port Victoria. The tourism situation got tougher but a week ago with the world’s oldest tour operator, Thomas Cook,
who declared bankruptcy after failing to find the necessary funds for its survival, triggering the unprecedented repatriation of its 600,000 or so customers holidays in the world. For the leader of the ‘One Seychelles’, former
Minister of Tourism, “This is now a worry and Seychelles needs to rally its allies before more bad news comes our way.” Seychelles and the region worked hard to get this armada of cruise ships to work in the region. The Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands has always led the way in terms of cruises. “Too many people have invested in tourism. Many many work in the industry today and it is this same industry that remains the pillar of the Seychelles economy. The Tourism Cross Sectorial Ministerial Meetings need to finalise items on its agenda and Seychelles must stand together for its tourism” said St.Ange