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Saint Ange Tourism Report Friday 17th April 2020

April 21, 2020 Africa News No Comments
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The Editorial this week highlights:- a. COVID-19, while serving to unite the world against a common enemy, has also brought the world of tourism to its knees. b. Tourism: ATB Appoints Alain St. Ange on COVID-19 Tourism Task Force for Africa. c. Operation Hope for Tourism by the African Tourism Board Task Force. d. Coronavirus: Africa could be next epicentre, WHO warns says BBC News.  Stand alone articles this week:- 1. Seychelles – Paradise under Threat by COVID19 by Aviation, Travel and Conservation News – DAILY from Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands. 2. Spotted! Alphonse Island’s Resident Marine Biologists Discover Orcas  in the Seychelles. 3. Coronavirus: Congratulations to Didier Robert for creating an “Outstanding 2020 Tourism Recovery Committee”. 4. ‘Humanitarian Call’ to rescue tourists standed in Seychelles and Seychellois stranded in Sri Lanka. 5. Closing Notes.

Alain St.Ange

Welcome to this 2nd edition of Vol 4 of the Saint Ange Tourism Report of 2020.

COVID-19, while serving to unite the world against a common enemy, has also brought the world of tourism to its knees. For the most part, countries have closed their borders, planes have been grounded, and travellers are on lock-down; all in a bid to stop the spread of the virus. These drastic measures, however necessary under the circumstances, have tightened the noose around the neck of tourism-reliant businesses, many of which cannot survive the months of financial uncertainty to come. This extends from the humble fisherman who sold his daily catch to the hotels, to the large-scale Destination Management Companies (DMCs) that employ hundreds of staff. Countries that took tourism for granted are today feeling the financial strain associated with the unprecedented demise of the once thriving industry.

Each Country’s Tourism Ministry and Tourism Organizations need to start making the necessary plans and preparations for how to re-establish itself in the tourism market when the pandemic runs its course and the gates re-open. The Seychelles Government, on its part, has generated a stimulus package, but whether it will be adequate to keep the economy afloat in the long-run remains to be seen.

Christopher Gill, the Chairman of the “Praslin Island Business Association” recently stated that “supporting workers only and allowing tourism assets to deteriorate will leave us with a situation not dissimilar to Syria, albeit not to that extent”. A very recent visit by an influential and well-travelled tourism personality described our ‘product’ (i.e. Seychelles and the manner in which we market it) as being ‘tired’. When asked whether he would return for a holiday, he said “No. The hotels I visited are tired and there is nothing to do. There are no restaurants, no areas to sit and see the island’s culture etc”. In discussions, he noted that Seychelles needs to abandon its current portrayal as being the idyllic destination for honeymooners; we are not living up to expectations and we need to reinvent ourselves.

Repeat visits by holiday-makers are low in numbers. This is a fact. It is no secret that the very heart of our main island of Mahe, namely Victoria, shuts down promptly and without apology at 4:00pm. Local eateries with sufficient seating are few and far between, and our nature trails and beaches are viewed by tourists as being unsafe and oftentimes unclean. Despite this, as a tourism-reliant Country we continue to brand ourselves as an up-market destination, and we insist on pricing ourselves out of the market.

If we are not prepared to rebrand and to develop long-term marketing strategies from the get-go, we will find ourselves ill-placed to compete with hundreds of other Countries, most of which have larger budgets to play with than we do, targeting the same pool of tourists that we are hoping to attract to our shores.

In the interim, local tourism-reliant businesses and the Nation as a whole are continuing to grapple with exorbitant electricity charges, high internet access rates, costs of labor that are highest in the region, new landing fees over and above the already factured passenger service fee in place, and a handling fee for airlines that triples or even in some cases that is over four times what is applicable in the adjacent competiting destinations. Seychelles is dependent upon its tourism industry and must be seen to be going the extra mile to make their tourism industry work.

I have personally made a call for the Central Bank of Seychelles to drop the interest rate on borrowings. Simply differing the loan interests is not enough. Compounding the interests and capital repayments by three to six months just serves to delay the inevitable. The loans taken are not bearing any dividends today for the business community and everyone must stand in solidarity. The Central Bank of Seychelles can do this and should be doing it now.

Tourism: ATB Appoints Alain St. Ange on COVID-19 Tourism Task Force for Africa
by ATQ News of Nigeria

The African Tourism Board (ATB) has appointed the former Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine of Seychelles, Alain St. Ange to serve on its COVID-19 Tourism Task Force.

“African Tourism is going all out against COVID-19,” said members of the newly appointed task force established last week by the African Tourism Board. With COVID-19 cases now spreading in many African countries, the African Tourism Board is the first international organization representing African Interest to go all out against the threat of the deadly coronavirus in Africa which is destroying the continent’s travel and tourism industry.

Alain St. Ange was appointed along with former Secretary-General of the UNWTO, Dr. Taleb Rifai to lead the ATB COVID 19 Tourism Task Force for Africa, and the St. Ange has stated that he was honoured to be called upon in this difficult period to give a helping hand to help the containment of the pandemic, work to assist the SMEs to remain alive, and also to work with tourism private sector international organisations such WTTC & PATA for a relaunch strategy for tourism after COVID-19.

African Tourism Board is giving Africa an important voice in having established the COVID-19 Tourism Task Force for Africa on Friday. ATB was the first organization to take a tough stand and voiced support for border closing and air interruption. ATB’s message to Africa was to stay home and allow tourism to prosper later.

This message was established before the canceled ITB trade show in Berlin earlier this month According to a press release issued by ATB today, the organization recognized Africa is no longer exempt from the rapid spread of this deadly virus, saying tourism must protect itself. With the launch of the COVID-19 Tourism Task Force for Africa, the African Tourism Board is taking an important step to give Africa a strong voice on a global stage.

ATB Chairman Cuthbert Ncube told eTurboNews: “I see our role as having the interest of our African travel and tourism industry in mind. The victim in the coronavirus situation clearly is the travel and tourism industry. We are more fragile in Africa than anyplace else in the world.

The goal of this task force will be to act efficiently and fast, giving our members and African stakeholders an important voice and help to minimize the impact of this global challenge.” ATB in its press release stated the task force will be able to react to this emerging crisis on a daily basis. It will be flexible enough to adjust its activities constantly without having to delay the process by a time-consuming decision making process.

The task force was invited by Gloria Guevara, CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to join their crisis committee.

Joining the growing team of this newly established task force are known tourism celebrities operating under the leadership of Dr. Taleb Rifai, patron, who was the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for almost 8 years. Joining also is ATB president and former Minister of Tourism for Seychelles Alain St. Ange, and Dr Peter Tarlow a renowned international expert in travel, tourism, and health. Dr. Tarlow has managed tourism safety and security projects for Safertourism.com as well as training of tourism police around the globe. Dr. Tarlow also teaches medicine at the University in Texas, USA. He was appointed by ATB as their safety and security expert at the official launch of the organization in April 2019 during WTM Cape Town. He assisted ATB destinations during the Ebola crisis, and during a kidnapping incident involving an American tourist.

The COVID-19 Tourism Task Force for Africa is in direct contact with sitting ministers and heads of African National and Regional Tourism Boards and tourism associations. ATB’s goal is to expand the task group and have a ministerial advisory committee working alongside the group. The African Tourism Board’s philosophy is to see tourism as a catalyst for unity, peace, growth, prosperity, job creation – for the people of Africa.

ATB’s vision: Where Africa becomes ONE tourism destination of choice in the world.

Source: African Tourism Board and eTN News

Operation Hope for Tourism by the African Tourism Board Task Force

On TeleSesel News discussing “Operation Hope”
by the African Tourism Board Task Force

Operation Hope of the ATB at one of their weekly meetings
The Task Force set up under the Chairmanship of Dr Taleb Rifai , the former Secretary General of the UNWTO with myself as his Vice Chairman has been meeting weekly with three key set targets:- namely containment of the COVID-19 pandemic, searching for possible assistance for the industry and thirdly planning the reopening of tourism as an industry.

Many influential and very succesful Tourism Ministers and former Ministers are working alongside tourism industry leaders in this Task Force. Everyone in dedicating time and effort to make a difference through ‘Project Hope’. Sitting Tourism Ministers such as Minister Najib Balala for Kenya, Minister Edmond Bartlett of Jamaica and Minister Moses Vilakati of Eswatini are Task Force Members sitting with Cuthbert Ncube, the ATB Chair, Doris Worfel, the ATB CEO, Simba Mandinyenya, the ATB COO, Juergen Steinmetz, the ATB CMCO and head of eTN News, Frank Tetzel, ATB Chair Resource Mobilisation Committee EU, Percy Mkhosi, the ATB Chair Sustainable Tourism, Dho Young-Shim, Chairperson UNWTO ST-EP Program, Sonto Mayise, an ATB Brand Ambassador, Louis d’Amore, President off IIPT, Dr Peter Tarlow, Brandon Tshabangu, an ATB Board Member, President of Safer Tourism, Carol Weaving of Reed Exhibition, Daniela Wagner of Jacobs Media amongs others.

The last meeting of the Task Force agreed to move emphasis from stage of containment into stage of recovery, discussed funds to be spent on the tourism industry and the presumption that tourism as an industry may well be the last to recover after COVID-19.

In collaboration with the African Union and the European Union and with the aim of now involving each of the fifty four States of Africa the Task Force is pushing Project Hope in a bid to assist with the recovery of tourism. The Task Force has discussed at length the idea that digital will now be the name of the game and are working on ways and means to assist tourism destinations with U-Tube DVDs to keep destinations visible and relevant bearing in mind that people will not start travelling tomorrow.

The Task Force will also be opening its meeting to world press in a bid to engage everyone and to mobilise the tourism industry at large to stand behind ‘Operation Hope’.

Coronavirus: Africa could be next epicentre, WHO warns
says BBC News

So far, there have been relatively few coronavirus deaths in Africa

Africa could become the next epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

There was a sharp rise in cases in the past week.

There have been almost 1,000 deaths and more than 18,000 infections across Africa so far, although these rates are far lower than those seen in parts of Europe and the US.

The WHO says the virus appears to be spreading away from African capitals.

It has also highlighted that the continent does not have enough ventilators to deal with a pandemic.

  • Africa Live: Updates from across the continent
  • Live tracker: Coronavirus in Africa
  • Africans in China: We face coronavirus discrimination
  • How the spread of coronavirus is testing Africa

The organisation’s Africa director, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, told the BBC that the organisation had witnessed the virus spreading from capital cities to “the hinterland” in South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Ghana.

She said they were focusing on prevention rather than treating the virus because African countries don’t have the capacity to treat many coronavirus patients.

“We want to minimise the proportion of people who get to the point of needing critical care in an ICU, because we know that these types of facilities are not adequate by any means in the majority of African countries,” she said.

“I have to say the issue of ventilators is one of the biggest challenges that the countries are facing.”

For patients critically ill with Covid-19, access to a ventilator could be a matter of life or death.

The machines get oxygen into the lungs and remove carbon dioxide from the body when people are too sick to breathe on their own.

One of the first recorded deaths from coronavirus in Africa was Zimbabwean journalist Zororo Makamba in March.

The local authorities in the capital, Harare, said that they did not have a ventilator to treat him.

  • Zimbabwe coronavirus victim died ‘alone and scared’

There are also fears that the disease could spread rapidly in overcrowded areas where it is impossible to practise social distancing and where many do not have access to clean water and soap.

Source:- BBC News

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