Seychelles to ensure businesses implement COVID-19 standards as country reopens

Efforts are underway nationally in Seychelles to get businesses to implement COVID-19 health standards as the country takes steps to reopen its borders and re-launch its tourism industry.

The island nation is focused on resuming operations according to guidelines from the Public Health Authority along with a new plan by the Tourism Department, which aims to ensure the safety of both visitors and locals.

The tourism plan comprises of several health guidelines which are crucial in ensuring that Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean – adopts all preventive measures against COVID-19.

“We have asked them to come up with their own SOPs by identifying elements in our guidelines that are relevant to their businesses,” Principal Secretary for Tourism Anne Lafortune explained.

All tourism establishments are expected to undertake this process – from luxury resorts to self-catering to car rental services to tour guides and commission agents. Once SOPs are submitted to the tourism department, approval will come in the way of a safe establishment certification. 

Tina Hoareau from Safety Standard Seychelles Consultancy and Training is a consultant training and giving COVID-19 certification to not only tourism establishments but other businesses as well.Failure to gain such a certification would result in the establishment remaining inoperative until it meets the required standards during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lafortune added that “it is vital for hotels and guesthouses to be certified since visitors must show a booking voucher from a certified hotel upon entry.”

“SSCTA offers assistance on developing business guidelines in line with the Department of Health’s requirements. We help with the implementation and eventually training of the personnel, and issuing a certificate and a label for businesses with vehicles like taxi, omnibus, DMCs which can be submitted to the health department as proof of compliance,” explained Hoareau.

According to the consultant the certification can be also used on companies' marketing campaigns to demonstrate the level of readiness for COVID19. “SSCTA certification on COVID-19 national health standards applies to all business, micro, small, medium, large and self-employed,” added Hoareau.

The tour operator added, "It is hard for us. The economy around the world is not doing the same and tourism today is not what it was, so everyone will just have to go through the new normal." Zayne Ebrahim, Managing Director of Ocean Blue Travel Seychelles, recently benefited from such training. "The main reason why preparation is important is that we deal with clients daily. We are a local tour operator, destination management company and meeting clients is our main source of revenue, booking their hotels, and transporting them," explained Ebrahim.