Tackling unlicensed service providers and finding activities to entertain cruise ship tourists were among issues discussed by tourism officials and operators for the upcoming cruise ship season from October 2023 to May 2024, at a meeting held on Friday at the Docklands Auditorium in the capital Victoria.
Tourism Seychelles, the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism, met with service providers such as taxi drivers and commission agents for the meeting to discuss the procedures at the new Cruise Village to be set up at the Island Development Company (IDC) car park next to the Port of Victoria from the October 24 until the season closes.
“The aim of the Cruise Village is to discourage unlicensed providers from competing with the licensed ones once the cruise ship season begins,” the principal secretary for Tourism, Sherin Francis, told the press.
This year, providers who will be present at the Cruise Village will have a set of rules to adhere to, which include registering at Tourism Seychelles to obtain their identification badges and respect spaces they are allocated at the car park.
During the meeting, Francis stressed that while her department had come up with the rules and regulations, “they were not set in stone and could be revisited” after the first ship berths in Port Victoria.
Representatives from the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA), the police as well as the Seychelles Licensing Authority (SLA) were among those sitting at the panel and answering the service providers’ queries.
They were also informed that should they fail to comply with the regulations, “they may face consequences, including but not limited to warnings, suspensions, revocations of licenses or denial to the Cruise Ship Village”.
Alvin Jean-Bonnelame from Sunset Chasers told the press that he “believes the new measures should work” in essence to create a sense of order at the port during the season.
Taxi driver Desmond Revera also expressed hopes that the measures would work, as this would “value the service they are providing to the cruise ship visitors”.
The first ship to call on Port Victoria for the season will be the SH Diana, due to be in Seychelles on October 24.
The cruise ship industry in Seychelles plays an important role in the tourism industry as whole, welcoming 40 cruise ship calls in Port Victoria in 2023.
For this coming season, Seychelles expects another 40 cruise ship calls – which include MSS Splendida as the largest vessel measuring 333.3 metres.