Over 75 percent of the rooms in Seychelles' 418 tourism establishments have received safe tourism certificates and are in a position to welcome visitors, though not all of them are open, the tourism minister said.
Didier Dogley said about 4,700 out of 6,000 rooms at hotels, guest houses and self-catering establishments have achieved a COVID-19 certification.
Sybille Cardon, the chairperson of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA), told SNA on Thursday that the number of certified establishments "is something positive and that we couldn't just pretend that we were going to reopen Seychelles and operate things as it was before COVID."
The tourism industry, the top economic contributor in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, came to a stop when the nation closed its borders to tourists amid the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since authorities decided to reopen Seychelles' borders to visitors, the tourism department has been working closely with health authorities to develop guidelines governing the operation of tourism businesses.
A safe tourism certificate is being issued to businesses that have trained their staff and met other public health criteria.
"The training allowed people to know more about the virus. It was an eye-opener. It also reassured people that if they have a client who is positive with COVID-19 in the establishment that everyone will get sick. It does not mean that a staff who has a fever automatically has COVID. This process was and is important," said Cardon.
She added that "when you get certified, it is good for your establishment, clients and staff, and you are in a better prepared under the new normal."
Training on Mahe, the main island, started at first at Avani Resort but organisers were disappointed as nobody turned up. This changed as people started realising the importance of it.
"The number of applications that we are getting is way less compared to what we were getting in the beginning, but we are still asking hotels and other establishments to do the necessary - send their Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) and attend training that is being organised to make sure that everyone is on board, knowing what they need to do even if they decide not to open the establishment right away though you will be prepared for when you reopen your establishment," said Dogley.